Evil West: Once Upon a Time in the West! (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One)

If there is a universe that we see extremely little on consoles, it is the Wild West. And yet, when the players in the video game world get down to it, the change of scenery is completely guaranteed. We mainly think of the two opuses Red Dead Redemption, Oddworld – The Stranger’s Fury, or even the Desperados tactical apps. With Evil West, the developers don’t just use cowboys and whatnot, they also use the gothic world and vampires. When we know that the inspirations come from comics (Moonshine, the anime Castlevania, Hellboy), and that the software also uses the “Western Spaghetti”, we say “bingo”, here is a very promising recipe! So, little end-of-year surprise?

If you follow us, you already know that Evil West was designed by a team you know: Flying Wild Hog. Founded in Warsaw in 2009, the team often produces apps with a certain rhythm of play, action, and certain originalities.

We owe them the Shadow Warrior trilogy, Trek to Yomi (tested in our columns), or From Hard Reset. Since then, Flying Wild Hog has grown, not only by opening three studios in Poland, but also by now being composed of three hundred people. With Evil West, cowboys hunt vampires, and that seems completely normal in this universe where sci-fi technology and Wild West intertwine.

Vampires in the Wild West!

Jesse Rentier, sniper, is also a vampire hunter. The latter also manage to hide on every street corner, using their supernatural power: “charm”. In this way, they are virtually undetectable to humans.

Faced with this vampiric threat, the Rentier Institute, comprising a long line of monster hunters, strives to carry out a mission: to try to completely eradicate the race of vampires. For this, the Institute not only has extensive knowledge on the subject, but in addition, they are at the forefront of technology.

Today, we find Jesse Rentier, our protagonist, and his teammate Edgar Gravenor, attacking a train. If this “war” against vampires is far from won, other events may turn everything upside down…

Without saying more about this narrative axis, the story of the software can be followed pleasantly, and this, although there is something more, let’s say, classic. We are not saying that the mixture between Far West, science fiction technologies and vampires does not work, moreover certain films had for example exploited this SCI-FI vein, but we feel that the scenario quickly takes second place, too bad , because the staging is well put together. Especially since we are in front of a worked Lore, but also of a game of actor really in the tone, or even of some documents bringing a little more depth. In other words, we were left a little unsatisfied, while on the other hand, the clashes are visceral, dynamic and very enjoyable.

Brutal clashes, and effective upgrades

These fights are also one of the big highlights of the adventure, but before going into more detail, let’s talk about the structure used. Evil West is a TPS Action-Adventure located in the Far West universe, so you can find everything that makes the recipe and the atmosphere: canyon, saloon, mines,… for a good change of scenery.

Each section, exotic in its own way, represents a mission with a so-called “old-fashioned” structure. Understand by this, that according to your tastes, you will more or less appreciate this linear, interventionist and encrypted aspect, which nevertheless had a certain fame before the establishment of open worlds. However, by mixing a few very simple puzzles, small “branches” allowing the collection of documents and even gold, and different places in the Level Design, weariness did not come to point the tip of its nose. We would have just appreciated even more freedom during the overall progression, and even more exploration in these interesting panoramas in short.

Between the scripted moments triggering certain specific actions, the “very small extras” mentioned above, we have the heavy task of exterminating hordes of creatures in “condensed” arenas. To repeat, all of these battles turn out to be a real pleasure to achieve. There are sometimes some problems with readability or movements working better than the others, but Jesse has the merit of being experienced and having a varied arsenal as it should be. We then find the usual colts, rifle, typical of the Wild West, or even a very destructive gauntlet in hand-to-hand combat. Add to that a multitude of combos, strikes in the air, projections, execution, and you already have a very brutal cocktail.

Moreover, as you progress, you unlock new movements and weapons, like a crossbow, or even electrical variations, especially for the gauntlet. With all these elements in hand, we easily chain combos to melee, dodges / rolls, the switch of weapons on the fly, in order to bring a strategic touch, and we kill our opponents between vampires , werewolves and other types of demons. A varied bestiary by the way.

Without going into all the details to leave you some elements of discovery, let’s end this part with the axis of improvement of the software. Efficient, as so often, we can upgrade / improve our armament from the money acquired during missions, such as a larger charger for example, or special features related to electricity. In addition, the gauntlet takes advantage of a skill tree to extend combos, or even strengthen Jesse’s skills. As you will have understood, it is by unlocking its full potential that the clashes are more fun and nervous.

Quality soundtrack and dubbing

As tradition dictates, let’s end this test with the technical and graphic palette of the title. The first thing to know is that we benefit from the two usual choices, that is to say either playability in 4K (Quality) at the expense of FPS, or Performance (60FPS), but logically, the stability trumps visual quality. It is therefore up to you to see if you prefer more dynamism and playing comfort, or a slightly more flattering visual.

Speaking precisely of visual aspect, Evil West is based, as we said above, on a Far West universe with expanses of deserts, canyons, specific architecture, but also “futuristic” technologies of science fiction, vampires and other demons! We also have multiple pyrotechnic effects (explosions, etc.). If some places and passages really stand out by being very successful, others unfortunately do not benefit from the same treatment, they have more dated textures, and less neat, too bad, because the potential of AD (artistic direction) is there .

On the other hand, the universe of the soundtrack is really worth it. Already the dubbing, in English, is very successful, and the sound themes are well chosen with necessarily melodies taken from the Far West,… a real plus for immersion. Note that the subtitles are obviously in French.

Tested on Xbox Series X

If Evil West is not intended to revolutionize the Action-Adventure TPS genre, the experience is nonetheless very satisfying. Obviously, we would have liked more freedom, or even that the scenario does not pass so quickly in the background, but disregarding these two main points, we discover a title with universes mixing really well with each other, a worked Lore, facets of effective improvements, and above all confrontations offering dynamic, nervous, and very brutal games! In short, a good release from the Wild West!

Evil West: Once Upon a Time in the West! (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One) – MaXoE