Flying Wild Hog is not a team that needs introductions, and in the arena shooter scene with a strong old school flavor it has managed to carve out a respectable space for itself. We’re not talking about memorable productions yet, of course, but works like the recent Shadow Warrior 3 just can’t go unnoticed and, net of some limitations, manage to break through the hearts of fans of the genre.
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, XONE, XSX Genre: Action, Shooter Release Date: November 22, 2022 Developer: Flying Wild Hog Distributor: Focus Entertainment
Against all expectations, however, the team has decided for its latest video game to change course and get out – at least partially – from that approach that has now become a real comfort zone to offer something different. Western evilspecifically, it proposes an approach halfway between action and third-person shootercarrying a good deal of expectations on their shoulders from the very first announcement trailer.
Let’s admit, however, how the risk of being disappointed due to the usual whirlwind of hype can even overshadow the peculiarities of Flying Wild Hog’s work.
Once the end credits of Evil West were reached, we considered ourselves quite satisfied, but we immediately anticipate that there was no shortage of compromises – and that on several occasions we experienced pad-in-hand situations that made us turn up our noses. But let’s go in order.
Blood and redemption
The story of Evil West (available at this Amazon link) projects us into a hypothetical Wild West where the fights between vampires and humans.
If the creatures of the night can rely on fearsome powers, and hordes of demonic creatures, the human race to survive clings to the activities of a secret organization – the Rentier Institute – dedicated to identifying and neutralizing all illegal activities related precisely to vampires and their supporters.
Here is the technology used in the fight against vampires.
Impersonating the skilled vampire hunter Jesse Rentier, son of the general at the head of the organization mentioned, we will find ourselves living a daring and bloody adventure between various locations on the American frontier to foil the plans of a fearsome house of vampires.
A story of revenge and sacrifice, violence and resistance, which offers a couple of twists without being taken too seriously. Impossible not to highlight the efforts of the team to achieve a narratively well-packed packagemaintaining that high testosterone mood of the previous works and trying to propose something more articulated at the same time.
To reach the end credits of Evil West we spent about eight hours and we were quite impressed by the slightly above average duration for this kind of production. Considering the possibility of being able to try our hand at NG+ mode and in the most demanding difficulties, we can only be satisfied with regards to longevity.
There is not even an option missing for play the entire campaign co-op with a friendbut considering the impossibility of testing it thoroughly in preview we live up to the team’s promises, for its balance in line with the quality and difficulty of the single-player adventure.
There is also a full-bodied glossary where you can deepen what we discover in the game world.
Violence at will
As for the actual gameplay, Evil West delivers a hybrid third-person action shooter approachall amalgamated with upgrades of all sorts to further differentiate the clashes. Too bad that despite these positive premises we do not hide a certain regret, however a satisfactory result only up to a certain point.
Specifically, our protagonist can exploit various guns; from the revolver and the classic rifle, to grenades and even a gatling gun, all of which must be discovered as the adventure progresses and upgraded with a fair number of options capable of making us a real walking tank.
Hitting enemies at the right time allows you to highlight their weaknesses and knock them out in the most effective way.
The feeling with the guns, capable of generating bloody third-person shootings full of rivers of blood that flow at every slightest opportunity, it reminded us of the violence from the Gears of War seriesobviously without the cover mechanics and with due proportions for comparison.
To support all this full-bodied arsenal, we have an essential hand-to-hand gloveable to exploit sharp blades or generate powerful electric shocks from multiple solutions; attract or repel enemies, paralyze them or throw them away.
Obviously this suggests that in Evil West they can create highly spectacular combos and, from mid-adventure on, alternating between gloves and weapons with ease will be essential to overcome hordes of enemies who, starting from normal difficulty, will be able to create quite a few headaches.
Yet, despite what has just been mentioned, not everything about the gameplay of Evil West completely manages to convince us. Specifically, if the guns are well implemented for their effectiveness and lend themselves well to the structure of a massive protagonist ready to exploit aim and reflexes, hand-to-hand combat transmits – in clashes against multiple enemies – a certain cumbersomeness.
The various skills and upgrades will transform us into an incredibly lethal hunter.
To confirm this, dodges and somersaults do not always manage to prove effective against the assaults of the creatures, generating a little frustration. Feeling emphasized due to quite a dancer camera and that especially during the boss fights – definitely engaging, we admit it – led us to a few too many game overs.
As anticipated, with the continuation of the adventure and the possibility of also enhancing the glove we are able to increase the speed of certain attacks, but this only partially manages to hide the slowness of our protagonist.
They are not even missing some vaguely platforming sections which break the frenzy of the clashes and which highlight the possibility of obtaining a good number of collectibles related to the world of Evil West, but do not particularly shine, acting as mere glue between the various arenas.
Some sections break the rhythm of the clashes, but they didn’t convince us that much.
However, it is to be commended the variety of creatures presentcurated from an aesthetic point of view and with different strengths or weaknesses to memorize. The effort made by the Polish team to create abominations of all shapes and sizes must be praised and considering the contextualization with the Far West that is far from obvious, we consider ourselves quite satisfied with the result.
Last, but not least, the technical sector of Evil West defends itself quite well, even if there are some gross stumbles on which it is difficult to overlook. On the one hand, in addition to the quality already mentioned for vampires and the like, we highlight the level of detail for settings and plays of lightas well as for the glimpses visible above all at each beginning of the level.
On the other hand, it cannot fail to make the nose turn up low level of textures for the various supporting actorsfound especially during the cutscenes, as well as there are sudden drops in the frame rate and some bugs. In the latter cases, for example, we ended up with our hero literally stuck with various elements of the setting, which forced us to load a previous checkpoint. On the technical front, in short, there is still something to clean up.
Reviewed version: PC