Review – Evil West

Wild West Van Helsing or...Shootout at the O+ Corral

Overview

Developer Flying Wild Hog
Publisher Focus Entertainment
Genre Third-Person Shooter, Action RPG
Platforms PC, Xbox Series X | S (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Release Date November 22, 2022

Evil West kind of came out of nowhere for me. Leading up to its release, I’d only heard a few minor things about the upcoming action title. Upon further review, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this, though; A third-person shooter set in an alternate-reality wild west where vampires reign and the good guys use electrified gauntlets? And you’re telling me it was made by the same studio behind Shadow Warrior, Trek to Yomi, and Hard Reset!? Well boy howdy, give me a badge, load up my saddlebag, and let me ride!

Content Guide

Spiritual Content: Vampires and other types of dark beings are prominently featured. The vampires, known as Sanguisuge, employ some forms of darker powers I can only assume are attributed to magic.

Violence: Violence and gore are plentiful in Evil West. Enemies can be chopped up, electrocuted, shot to death, exploded, decapitated, and more.

Sexual Content: Thankfully, there is no sexual content in Evil West. They leave most of the vulgarity to violence and foul language.

Drugs and Alcohol: Your headquarters is in the basement of a saloon-type establishment. The use of alcohol is a distinct possibility, though this critic doesn’t expressly remember it being featured.

Language/Crude Humor: Expect anything you could hear in an R-rated movie to be present to be in Evil West. They’re not shy about their use of language, though there is a joke about the propriety of its use at one point. The dialog utilizes F***, S***, and more.

Review

Evil West feels like it must have made for a fantastic elevator pitch. Grover Cleveland is the sitting president. The vampire elite, known as the Sanguisuge, has been planning something heinous. The rough-and-tumble nosferatu-hunting agent Jesse Rentier is scouring the dusty mountains for Chester Morgan, a known low-level fangster with Sanguisuge insider knowledge. After crossing the mountains and plowing through a few eldritch ghouls, agent Rentier is able to get vital information from Morgan. He uses that intelligence to take the head of a prominent vampire named D’Abano before returning to base. While at the Rentier Institute, a secretive organization his father founded, D’Abano’s adopted vampiric daughter, Felicity, attacks with a horde of monsters. The chaffed girl recovers dear old dad’s head, leaving a trail of bodies and questions in her wake. She’s planning something major and she has to be stopped.

I genuinely think Evil West has a great story that would fit beautifully in some sort of pulpy comic or graphic novel. The world is full of excellently-woven thematic elements, mixing a dash of this with a splash of that together for a treat as satisfying as a homemade loaf of specialty bread. It’s campy and cheesy, sure, but it does it with the panache of a gritty Todd McFarlane or Frank Miller joint folks will smile and nod at when it’s all over.

From a gameplay perspective, Evil West is a well-put-together game. The combat does a great job integrating both melee and ranged elements to keep encounters engaging. You’ll get access to a six-shooter, rifle, and more over the course of your journey, and all of it can be significantly improved. The game boasts a substantial variety of foes to test your skills, too. You’ll have to use your ever-growing toolbelt, including new scientific gadgets from the Institute, to take on each encounter. Even cooler, you’ll earn points and cash to put into upgrading your weapons and abilities, turning you into a whirlwind of destruction the Belmont family would be jealous of. It’s a blast and I rarely grew tired of my time as the Tesla-infused version of a wild western Van Helsing.

From an aesthetic aspect, Evil West delivers an engaging setting. The environments feature substantial variety while maintaining a believable, time-appropriate fantasy-meets-reality that can suck you in. The enemy design feels great too, giving you everything from unassuming toothy minions to hulking monstrosities and more. My one real set of complaints lies with the human character design, though. Under close scrutiny, some of the characters just feel somewhat…off, particularly in cutscenes. It’s almost like the comic style bleeds a little too heavily into the presentation at times. Despite that distraction, I found most of the characters to be believable, with voice work that drives the tale forward.

When dawn rises, Evil West stands as one of this year’s fun unexpected joys. The game features a great story in a fun setting, the characters are well-realized, and the gameplay is an engaging hoot. Despite some awkward moments, I like the aesthetic and I love the world they’ve built here. If you’re looking for an enjoyable romp in an awesome dark fantasy setting, you should definitely check out Evil West. They’ve laid the foundation for what could one day be a favorite new franchise.

Review copy generously provided by Focus Entertainment

The Bottom Line

 

Evil West tells a neat graphic novel story while engaging combat and progression drive you through a fascinating dark fantasy world.

 

8

Joe Morgan

Husband, gamer, software developer, animal lover. When he's not writing for GeeksUnderGrace, he's probably fishing or working on content with his wife for Coffee and Adventure, their YouTube channel

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