Evil West: cowboys, vampires and gore… an action game that loves blood

When America is invaded by vampires, cowboys are sent to confront them. This is the promise ofEvil Westthe pleasant surprise of the end of the year.

In a short decade, developer Flying Wild Hog has become a big name in action video gaming. Beyond the highly stylized Trek to Yomithe studio is best known for its trilogy shadow warrior, where a ninja warrior mixed his handling of the katana with that of firearms to fight against a demonic invasion. A large enjoyable tote with “grindhouse” hints, which its creators have pushed to their limits with their new baby: Evil West.

In the form of a very fast and furious TPS, we are this time immersed in a western universe, except that the United States is invaded by an army of bloodthirsty vampires. An astonishing cocktail, which leads to embody Jesse Rentier, cowboy and member of a ghoul-hunting organization. With this occult dimension that perverts a genre that is nevertheless well identified, Evil West reclaims the beat’em all for a frankly fun result, available on PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series and PC from November 22, 2022. But what makes it the good surprise of this end of the year?

A real pop-culture broth

Flying Wild Hog has grasped this well: the genre of the western is not so much conducive to faithful historical narrative, but the ideal context to make it the crucible of a mythology as heroic as it is deviant. The American West indeed abounds with a fertile aesthetic, compatible with almost any genre.. His imagination will thus have already been able to meet in the past, on the small or big screen, that of aliens (Cowboys and invaders), robots (Westworld), time travel (Back to the future 3) or even horrific (Voracious).

Now, what happens when the video game decides to indulge in the same exercise in style and shatter the genre barrier in its own crazy western? It is the jubilant formula ofEvil West, which deploys a maddening number of pop-culture references in an uninhibited action game. After the most classic and wise Call of Juarez, Desperadoes and Red Dead Redemption, Evil West tends to blast gender to dive its super cowboys in vampire hunt as frantic as possible.

The bat hunt can begin

An opening on the fantastic which will have been attempted too few times (with a few exceptions Darkwatch in 2005 or the DLC of Read Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare) and which here is as refreshing as it is earthy. If we can’t help but find some Arthur Morgan in Jesse Rentier – the gruff and unstoppable hero ofEvil West – the rest of the game seems to draw on all styles, from the best to the most bis and this, in an extremely large pool of works (ranging from movies to underworld to manga like The Arms Peddler Where Hellsing).

On the one hand, the massacre of vampires galore, totally gory and regressive, evokes as much the one night in hell of Robert Rodriguez than an outburst of violence from the game Doom- here in the third person. The pandemonium that descended on the American desert was then striking in its its rich and ubiquitous bestiary (between lovecrafiten and gothic) while a team of irreducible cowboys (in their most mythical incarnation) sink into it using Tesla or steampunk technologies. Anachronistic clashes that send us back as much to Blade 2 or Hellboy by Guillermo Del Toro than messy (but very fun) Van Helsing by Stephen Sommers.

Evil West: PictureWhen in doubt, burn everything

Like a hybrid festival oscillating between horror, action, gothic and dark fantasy Evil West takes us on an exhilarating dive into a western that is ultimately quite unique despite all its quotes. Freshness and originality are found in the adventure and although its fun and B series aspect is very predominant, its thematic purpose is not in vain for all that. For example, the enemies that are the vampires exploit the blood of the humans like resources which they plunder in the manner of the Western colonists, on grounds formerly wild and virgin of their presence.

At the root of an industrial and evil corruption of the earth’s soils, nature and human life, their existence cleverly reverses the roles between conquerors and rebels. With a false air of biting satire, Evil West plays the game of fantasies (historical and cultural) to better thwart them and leads the player not to lose himself blissfully in the bottomless brutality, but in a real ingenious contemplation of the American myth. An adventure that clears the genres in its video game universe as much as it explores a wide variety of settingsall inspired by the main motifs of the conquest of the West.

Evil West: PictureRentier is the new Tesla

A craving for old-school gaming

That being said, this mix of genres is not just there to serve as seductive attire. It’s more of a note of intent in keeping with the fun of a gameplay that must be transcribed into its universe. From his tutorial which allows you to test hand-to-hand combat using the Gauntlet (the most characteristic weapon of the title), it is clear thatEvil West is not here to string pearls, and advocates openly bullshit gameplay. Every blow landed on an opponent feels visceral, and the guts don’t take long to spill out on the floor whenever there’s the chance for a finish move in the form of a gore animation.

However, the immediate and regressive pleasure of the game does not mean that it is meant to be simplistic. On the contrary, the Poles of Flying Wild Hog made sure to constantly renewing the player’s experience by accumulating new weapons (guns, a crossbow, and even a railgun) and assets to improve them. Not only does the combat encourage you to perfect exhilarating combo sequences, but you have to learn to master the entirety of a varied arsenal.

Evil West: PictureCool guys don’t look at their enemies

There lies all the pleasure ofEvil West : the progressive power of Jesse Rentier matches the control that the player gradually acquires over the character and his abilities. The game shapes a necessarily pleasurable crescendo, as increasingly towering waves of enemies fall upon the hero. The bestiary does not deprive itself of any excess, and thus deploys its lore at the same time as the strategic impulses of the player, who must gradually discover the weak points of each type of monster to get out of it. In this way, Flying Wild Hog combines the best of two worlds.

On the one hand, there is Evil West an obvious modernity of the gameplay, which draws as much on the Devil May Cry more recent than in the last opuses of god of war. On the other, the game assumes its linearity (which is a compliment given its well-crafted sets and well-placed scripts), and refers to the heyday of old-fashioned beat’em allby being built around large arenas, to better provide an ideal setting for its moments of pure stress relief.

Evil West: Picture“You don’t look like a lucky charm”

A little like shadow warrior in its time, this nervous and uninhibited approach to the genre defined the style of Flying Wild Hog more than ever. We can see a hint of nostalgia there, but that would probably be reductive. Evil West above all wants to return to a pleasure that is both simple and demanding in video games, which already involves the uninterrupted action of its single-player campaign, but also by the very pleasant addition of a two-player co-op mode. While this type of type of gameplay is increasingly absent from the big games of the moment, Evil West allows you to unleash the vampire between friends, definitive proof of a generosity that can only brighten up your end-of-year celebrations.

Evil West is available on PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series and PC from November 22, 2022.

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Evil West: cowboys, vampires and gore… an action game that loves blood