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Review | Evil West

"Ready for a vampire hunter of Wild West and modern age? Red Dead Redemption and Gears of War had a child and apparently it was an evil one! Third-person shooters are always fun, and this games proves it."

by Foggy, 29-11-2022, Edited by: Jim

Don't you just love to shred vampires to pieces? Flying Wild Hog sure loves that and being the developer of this title means that Evil West is exactly that – a third-person shooter action game where you shoot and dismember to survive. The story and the characters are not even a tiny bit important though, but more on that below.

Evil West is out for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Let me give you some info about different modes for different platforms that may interest some of you:

  • Xbox One/OneS: 1080p @ 30fps
  • Xbox One X: 2160p @ 30fps PS4: 1080p @ 30fps
  • PS4 Pro: 1080p @ 30fps (with improved graphical quality compared to PS4)
  • PS5: 2160p @ 30fps (quality) / 1080p @ 60fps (performance)

Just to note – the game doesn't look so good on PS5 performance mode. I played the PS5 version.

I really couldn't focus when it comes to story and the characters. It was so bad I just admired the art instead. It's not that art is something special, but at least it distracts you from the bad humor and even worse conversations.

Tell me an evil story (or just don’t)

I want to get rid of the bad stuff first, so let's start with the story. Oh my, the story. After playing the latest GOW, this is just ridiculous. The focus on the story and the characters is bad, I mean, it's more about the format of it – 1 animation at start, sometimes in the middle of the mission, and 1 at the end. They are short, they lack context, and the characters are simply put – bad. I don’t even know their names anymore. I just remember I’ve played the story where vampires declare war on humans, and the protagonist is just caught in the middle of it during his vengeance call.

I have no idea what to take from the story part, I was utterly bored. The humor is forced. It just doesn’t fit. All characters lack soul, and random NPCs are random and bad even for random NPC’s. I guess when you place your focus on the gameplay, the story is not so important other than giving to the atmosphere and overall feel the developers are trying to accomplish during your playthrough.

I like the skip option, but what happened to skipping the in-game conversations? You can’t skip them. Good thing they’re short. Still, it bothers me.

Watching the animations on Performance mode looks like someone forgot to upload the original version and instead uploaded the YouTube compressed video in the game. The grain of black is especially bad, all the animations looks like they come from the PS3 era, plus the brightness during the day is too bright, while being too dark in the caves and dark places. I ended up lowering it and tried my best in the underground areas.

Also, I’ve experienced a lot of audio “snapping” issues where audio quality in in-game scenes was really bad and compressed.

Some levels are super pretty. I mean, some sceneries are! I don't mind the linear levels, although exploration is almost non-existing. It all comes down to fighting the bad guys, and where. I like the fights under the moonlight, you know?

Vampire killers are void of fun exploration

If you forget about the story completely, you are in for a… More issues. The format of all levels is the same – you usually start from some hub (like a saloon), talk about some nonsense, enter a mission level and then you go mostly forward and kill enemies in bigger areas that serve as arenas.

I don’t mind the linearity, but I mind the lack of ideas when it comes to exploration. The only thing you can collect are bags of money (used to upgrade weapon skills) and some upgrades for weapons. They are placed at the end of the left or right branching paths – and that’s the gist of it! There is almost nothing worth exploring other than collecting more points to unlock more skills. Invisible walls are everywhere, giving you the true PS3 generation feel. Honestly, this could be a PS3 game when you look at the visuals. Only some parts tend to surprise you.

I even liked the design and atmosphere of some levels, but they are simply just a hub for your dose of fun when you start shooting – and that is exactly how you should approach this game.

When you get your facts straight, you will fall in love with the simplicity of special skills and weapon upgrades the game brings. Nothing new, nothing special, but just enough to keep it interesting and fun.

See the one with the cart? I hate these! Parts where you shoot levers and dyamite boxes are the worst level parts. It's just so messy aiming with the analogue sticks (I also turned off auto-aim). The scenery in the corn fields is something else!

Let the fun shooting start

I loved the gameplay. It’s a lot of fun, especially on higher difficulties. Every fight is a challenge. Maybe not at first, but on later levels it takes some serious skill to survive on your first try. You start of with just your firsts as a weapon, soon to be accompanied by the pistols, a riffle gun, gatling gun, dynamite… I love dynamite! It all ends with electricity-imbued weapons that kick some vampire asses. That and better upgrades (like more HP, regeneration etc.) is the reason the game provides fun.

The more you advance, the more powers and skills, plus the weapons you’ll have. The best part of the game is its second half – when you unlock rage mode and what I mentioned. At one point you can use different tactics and approach for battles – that is what kept me playing. You can’t just spam dynamites and special weapons. They come with a cooldown timer, so planning your moves is a must with bigger vampires.

That planning and using 10+ different ways of killing someone is just awesome. My best experience with the game was NG+ on Evil difficulty. The only problem were constant technical issues and crashes that occurred after 10th level. Up until that point there were minor glitches (like, every 10 minutes), weird graphical snaps and whatnot – but nothing crucial. Then it started with the freezing and game crashes. That heavily impaired my experience, so I can’t say the game is polished or fluent in any way. It just feels like it needs more polishing for the experience it meant to provide. Even with that, it was fun.

The downside is the enemy variety (constant recycling in all levels). It’s really bad, but still fun! I liked the boss battles, too bad there aren’t more instead of killing the game mini-bosses all over again.

If you find a way to use all of the weapons, their perks and skill upgrades - that is when you'll experience the best this game has to offer. I loved how you must think about timing and cooldowns on weapons, how and when to kill some strong enemy, and when to heal. It works, but if only it was polished way more.

Yes, or nay?

If you’re looking for a brainless dosage of fun wrapped up in a technically messed up bag, Evil West is your poison. It’s not like the game is bad or in a bad state; it just feels clunky, and it doesn’t bring anything new or original to the table.

I think this game should’ve started with a cheaper price – it’s not worth the full price. But the variety in combat that comes after unlocking new perks and upgrades makes it worth it, makes it fun. I love fun, don’t you? Oh, did I mentioned you can play it with your friends in a multiplayer mode? Yes you can!

Vampire logging of. Sorry, vampire killer logging of. Enough of this violence.

At the same time, Evil West is fun, and I love games that are fun. Even with all issues I’ve mentioned I enjoyed my 20 hours with the game. You can finish it for 12 hours or so, up to 20-22 if you want that challenge on NG+. I recommend, but when it goes on a sale and when they fix the technical issues – that is the reason of a somewhat lower grade.

"Really fun game that has some technical issues, bad story, bad protagonists... But it's fun! And bad graphics. Still fun!"
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