Evil West Review: Van Helsing

Flying Wild Dog it’s a talented team, there’s no arguing about it, yet it hasn’t always managed to keep the quality of its products constant. After the excellent Hard Reset and the appreciated reboot of Shadow Warrior, which managed to rekindle the players’ interest in the historic 3D Realms series, a waning phase has begun for the Polish software house: the next two chapters of the game starring Lo Wang (on our pages you will find the Shadow Warrior 3 review) have not been very successful.

A few months after the debut of the third Shadow Warrior, the studio tries to regain the trust of gamers with Evil West, a third-person action based on vampires and other creatures that would make even the most dangerous of bandits pale. As a result, we just have to put on Jesse Rentier’s giant glove and set off on this adventurous journey to the wild west.

Cowboys vs Vampires

Set at the end of the nineteenth century, Evil West tells us about an American frontier a little different from how we remembered it. In fact, in his world i vampires they have always been a constant threat, but the advance of technology and the inventions of the laboratories of the Rentier institute are cornering the creatures of the night, to the point of forcing them to make risky moves.

This is the premise of the title, which puts us in the shoes of Jesse Rentierskilled vampire slayer and heir to the one who heads the namesake institute, William Rentier, for years devoted to eliminating any bloodsucker. L’narrative plot of Evil West is not the most intricate and mainly serves as a pretext to lead us from one place to another to follow up on our massacre.

Although functional to the production, the plot does not lack some twists and benefits from numerous CGI films which, however, have not proved to be without edges, both for a visual sector that can be improved and for a storytelling method that needs to be reviewed.

The feeling you get when playing Evil West is that history has undergone gods unexplained cuts: not infrequently, in fact, it happens that there are abrupt interruptions followed by sudden changes of scene, which project us into the future without letting us understand exactly the events that led us to a given situation. The same characters who take part in the story lack charisma and they are rather stereotyped, think of the scientist, the retired hunter, the corrupt politician and other perfectly frameable figures with predictable behaviors. Needless to say, we find the center of the experience combat systemwhich is undoubtedly the most successful aspect of the Flying Wild Hog production.

Of course, the character is heavy and many of his actions would benefit from greater fluidity, but on balance the massacre of creatures is pleasant thanks to the countless tools of death at the cowboy’s disposal. Between gatlings, carbines, crossbows, shotguns and other gunssome of which are managed as if they were the active skills of an action RPG complete with cooldowns, the possibilities offered to face the beasts that hinder Jesse’s path are really many and they work well.

That said, despite being rich in weapons Evil West it’s not a shooter and a large part of the arsenal does not require aiming: you will hardly use a rifle or crossbow to eliminate them Leech, as their primary function is to weaken or hit them during specific animations to interrupt them. The real protagonist of the armament coming from the laboratories of the Rentier institute is the mighty Glovea device that has amused us a lot because of the many features it is equipped with.

What makes the glove an excellent ally is the possibility of using it for shorten the distance between Jesse and the enemy: just press a key and move the analog to make the protagonist take advantage of the electric shocks to reposition himself in front of the opponent or, alternatively, catch the target and drag him to himself, so that the fight does not stop for a while just instant.

Furthermore, in the situations immediately following the execution of these techniques, the enemy remains paralyzed in front of us and we can massacre him with what is called F-comboor a barrage of punches worthy of a martial artist which, if delivered on a dying opponent, can also end with a brutal finisher. Too bad that, in an almost identical way to what was seen in Shadow Warrior 3, these moves are repetitive and unsatisfactory from a visual point of view, also thanks to the positioning of the camera.

You hunt in company

To tell the truth, the mismanagement of the finishers is just one of the problems that Evil West inherits from Shadow Warrior 3. Just like the previous effort of the Polish team, this one too has a very linear structure without any gimmicks capable of diversifying the experience playful: le 16 missions are composed of nothing but long corridors that lead from one arena to another and only on a couple of occasions do you find yourself completing mundane riddles that do not require particular acumen.

To mark the total absence of crossroads – flying over some hidden room in which to open chests with an animation that winks at the latest God of War – there are recurring elements in any scenario, whether it is the depths of a cave or a a swamp: we refer to the wooden stakes wrapped in flashing chains, which ensure that the player can immediately find the interaction point to proceed. The only “anomalies” in this sense are represented by four boss fights which are part of the second half of the game, as they require much more skill and involve different enemies than usual.

Defeating every single threat and reaching the end credits in Evil West required us just over 8 hoursalthough the replayability factor is higher than in other productions of the same type.

In addition to New Game Pluswhich increases the level of challenge and allows access to new skins and power-ups to maximize Jesse’s effectiveness on the field, the game also includes the online co-op mode, which consists of the simple possibility of facing the entire story in the company of another user, who will use a model identical to that of the protagonist: the only difference concerns the color of the details of his dress, a customizable element from the options menu for give it a distinctive touch. We specify, however, that co-op progress is not shared and whoever is invited cannot use his real fighter but only a carbon copy of the host generated when entering the game. In short, this is an extra feature that could make sense especially for those who want to have a second run in New Game Plus with a friend, but it is certainly not a central element of the Flying Wild Hog production.

An average technical sector

On the technical front, Evil West is the classic cross-generational title in UnrealEngine 4. Graphically we are faced with a product without infamy and without praise due to only discreet polygonal models and not excellent animations, especially when situations outside the fights are taken into consideration. One of the most controversial aspects from a visual point of view concerns the color choices: many of the scenarios that can be visited during the journey offer little variety in terms of colors and this makes it more difficult to distinguish the various elements on the screen unrelated to the protagonist. In fact, the cowboy’s arsenal is lit up like a Christmas tree and always stands out.

The design of characters, settings and enemies is also average: everything related to the artistic sector by Evil West is quite pleasing to the eye but lacks originality. Between werewolves, monsters with a huge leech, and so on, we lacked truly terrifying-looking creatures.

Our test, which took place on pcwent smoothly thanks to a good optimization, which allowed us to play Evil West a 60 frames per second – also thanks to the full support to the DLSS – with only occasional stuttering. On the bug side, however, we didn’t encounter anything relevant, passing over a couple of occasions where using the glove made us get stuck in the floor (but nothing that a reset at the last checkpoint couldn’t fix).

Evil West Review: Van Helsing-style cowboys against vampires