Gaming has come a very long way in recent years. Gameplay in most genres has been so innovated that the genres themselves are almost unrecognizable compared to years prior. In most cases, this is a really good thing, as change is good. But for some, myself included, we sometimes like a good modern game with elements of the titles we loved all those years ago.
Having now played Flying Wild Hog and Focus Entertainment’s latest title, Evil West, I can say that the thirst for a simple, stylish game with a rich world to just have fun in is quenched. With addictive gameplay, and a large roster of enemies to fight, Evil West is the exact thing that I needed, in an industry where it feels like every game is an RPG these days.
Evil West Review Biggest Takeaways
- Evil West has a rich lore that’s baked into every character model, location, and narrative.
- The gameplay is pretty repetitive yet charming and addictive as a whole.
- Evil West achieves some pretty great environmental visuals that make the world feel alive.
- The game suffers from some pretty lackluster multiplayer elements that don’t offer much to them.
- Evil West is the perfect game for those looking for something for a title reminiscent of something they’d play in the 00s, just a fun video game, full stop.
Final Score: 8/10
Evil West’s Gameplay is Familiar Yet Fresh
The main thing that stands out about Evil West’s gameplay is that it’s pretty straightforward. Over the course of the game, you’re given new weapons to use against the number of enemies it throws against you, each being attached to a specific button or key, allowing for you to use any at a given time, so long as their cool-down is done. This makes it easy, as you won’t need to be fumbling around with a weapon wheel at all times.
Fighting enemies doesn’t stop there though, as melee combat plays a significant part in it all, making this feel like the most Avengers-like take on a vampire hunting game ever. You can smash the ground with an electric jolt, crank enemies up into the air with an uppercut, and then finish them off by cannonballing them into environmental objects. It’s pretty much insanity on the combat front as a whole.
Flying Wild Hog did try to modernize the game a bit though by adding perks and weapon upgrades, though they too are pretty easy to wrap your head around. Perks are earned to purchase when you level up, and upgrades are purchased using Bucks you find across the many levels that you play through.
That’s another thing that I really love about Evil West too. There are a lot of nice in-game rewards to unlock for simply finding secret areas that hold secret stashes. You can find hidden perks and skins within them. It makes exploring the game’s vibrant environments all the more worth it. It’s something that I wish more games did these days. Sure, there are collectibles to find in many games, but for this kind of title, they’re a dime a dozen it seems.
It’ll Have You Just Sitting in Awe
I was actually quite blown away by just how great Evil West really looks. I played it on an Xbox Series S and could not be more happy with the end result here. The character models seem realistic though don’t hit an uncanny valley as they have some over-embellished characteristics that make them look slightly cartoonish.
Though, the environments are what really steal the show here. There are some fantastic moments during gameplay where the camera forces your angle to focus on gorgeous vistas or set pieces, and they’re worth it every time. I didn’t expect this title to be such a looker, and I’m glad that I came out surprised.
A Miss Step or Two That Sets the Game Back
Though I loved a lot of the elements of this game that make me feel like I’m in a simpler time of my life, there are a couple of things that made the game remind me that it wasn’t a AAA title, even though it mostly felt like it to me.
The first is that traversal in Evil West is kind of ridiculous. What I mean is every area in the game is strung together by these small gameplay moments where you make your character either hurdle over these railroad tracks to get to the next section or climb up a spot if you see chains wrapped around a bar.
These moments are really odd and definitely aren’t something I’ve ever seen in a game before as you have no control. It takes control from the player entirely and feels really cheap. Why not let players actually maneuver the level themselves in instances like this? I just don’t get it.
The other thing I wasn’t a fan of was the co-op multiplayer. 2 players can play the game together, but it’s only limited to those who are friends, and it has to be online. So this makes it where there’s no local play nor can you play with random players either. To add insult to injury, only the hosting player earns anything from playing, so the player who joins is basically just along for the ride.
Another complaint I have about Evil West is the fact that its narrative, while chock-full of lore is great, can also be just as boring. There were some moments in-game where I almost couldn’t help skipping cutscenes because they were just pointless, long-winded filler.
Evil West Deserves the Best
Aside from a few issues, the game manages to keep its balance without falling flat on its face. Though those transition mechanics between areas are weird, it wasn’t something that really bothered me. It was more of an eyebrow-raiser every once in a while. I’m also not big on multiplayer either, so that part doesn’t really affect me too much, though it is most definitely the lazy route in its execution.
When all is said and done, Evil West is an incredibly entertaining game that will capture your attention from the beginning and keep it until you beat its final boss. Though there was a lot of lore to digest, it’s a testament to the enthusiasm and dedication that the writers and development team had for the game, and it really shows. Evil West is definitely a game worth your time if you want something to enjoy that doesn’t ask too much of the player, offerring a true video game experience.
Evil West is available now on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC.