It is in the form of an assumed Z series thatEvil West brings us back to the golden age of action games, in a cocktail mixing several universes.
As in all good western, Evil West begins with a train attack. Under a setting sun, the two heroes, Jesse Rentier and his lifelong accomplice, Edgar, prepare the explosives to derail the locomotive. Their objective: to capture a very special passenger, a vampire having knowledge of an evil assembly to come. Mouths full of scars, swearing and chaining punchlines, the two heroes set the tone from the start: here, we don’t do lace. Once the explosion and the derailment have been completed, the cars pour out a first wave of enemies who warn Jesse, like the player, of the diversity of horrors they will encounter. In addition to the basic infected, large and robust warriors also invite themselves to the party.
The combat system is revealed over the course of the adventure. First centered on melee with sequences of punches, dodges and rolls, the system is expanding with the arrival of new weapons. Revolver, sniper rifle, sawed-off shotgun, flamethrower and crossbow quickly reinforce the arsenal available to subdue vampires and other monstrosities. But these aren’t the most useful of props for future fights. Jesse Rentier’s father is director of the Institute of the same name. He fights against the invasion of monsters that plagues the United States of the late 19th century in this alternate past, and he has created a formidable weapon. Based on early electrical experiments, this massive gauntlet allows Jesse to summon powerful electrical blasts into his combos.
Iron fist in an electric glove
The first battles reveal only part of the potential of this famous accessory. Based on an experience system, Jesse’s evolution gives him skill points that unlock new abilities. Massive electric shock on the ground, possibility of attracting an enemy or of projecting oneself towards him in a flash, crushing him in the air by striking him down… The list is as long as it is enjoyable.
If we have mainly mentioned the combat aspect since the beginning of this article, it is becauseEvil West concentrates almost exclusively on this aspect. Its levels are very linear, with rare bifurcations which, according to the codes of the genre, often lead to bonuses. This can be money (dollars are used to upgrade equipment) or notebooks, note sheets and other environmental storytelling items.
strength in numbers
The choice to make an old school game is perfectly accepted, as evidenced by the arenas in which we enter without having any illusions about what we will find there: tons of enemies. Because ultimately, it is not so much the nature or the power of these demonic armies that pose a problem as their number. You have to learn to prioritize your future victims, while dodging the less dangerous ones before letting them experience the worst possible fate. Moreover, the weight of the characters, their imposing stature, and even some of their movements recall the soldiers of the COG of Gears Of Wars. And inevitably, the executions of creatures with excessive violence invoke the memory of god of war.
A demonic charm
Evil West may well be linear, so that does not prevent him from varying the decorations. Over its fifteen levels, it makes us discover disturbing swamps, a sinister forest, an abandoned sawmill or an oil field invaded by bloodsuckers. So many different atmospheres which contribute, with the very long cinematics often full of humour, to the very special charm of this production of Flying Wild Hog.
The studio, already known for a game also really series Z (shadow warrior), don’t forget to give an original setting and context to its title. Technically, the game shows the scars of a development also designed for older generation machines. However, its successful artistic direction and the charisma of its gallery of characters are enough to embark us on this real ghost train in the land of cowboys and vampires.
duo of hell
The omnipresence of the action is interrupted only at rare moments of respite by a passage in a HUB, which makes it possible to dialogue with certain key characters and especially to make a reset of its skills, to reallocate them in according to their needs or desires. Using the gauntlet as a shield against projectiles, for example, does not make you dream at first sight.
But after facing hordes of throwers of these bouncing bombs, we end up changing our minds. Designed as a guilty pleasure of throwing back time to the heart of the action games of yesteryear, above all solitary, Evil West also allows for collaborative play. Only the main player will advance the story and their character, but both users will enjoy facing even more powerful hordes.
A diabolical western
With its well-stocked bestiary, pure action and its charismatic and endearing cowboys, Evil West is a kind of video game counterpart to the parody films of Tarantino and Rodriguez. It only uses old recipes as a reminder of how effective they are, and offers a true linear no brainer, where vast open worlds stuffed with side quests have become the norm. A breath of putrid air, in short, which will paradoxically delight fans of the genre in search of lost sensations, according to the latest fashions of the moment.