[PlayStation 5] Evil West Review

by Ajescent

Evil West from Focus Entertainment and Flying Wild Hog is an action-packed third-person game to check out on PlayStation. Learn more in our Evil West review!

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‘Tis the season for GOTYs, so most of the games that people talk about at this time are usually seen as the best of the year, if not of all time. Sometimes, it’s okay for a game to just be a good, enjoyable, fun time. That is pretty much the best way to describe third-person action game Evil West from Flying Wild Hog and Focus Entertainment. You play as Jesse Rentier in a steampunk version of the wild West. Vampires (or Ticks, to give them their lore-accurate name) are running rampant, and only the Rentier Institution stands between them and taking over the whole of America.

Evil West Review - 1

Straight off the bat – pun intended – the lore in this one is thick, involved, and morish. It feels layered, and the world just encourages you to engage with it and learn more about it.
At the start of the game, you are given access to a weapon known as “The Gaunlet,” the most steampunk of all steampunk weapons known to man. It will be your melee weapon. It is respectable in what it can do since you can hold down the R1 button for a heavy attack and combo it into a slam attack. Simply spam it for basic combo attacks or use it as part of a chained combo attack with the other weapons you unlock as the game progresses.

And there are quite a few weapons to unlock as you go, each one just as interesting as the last. One of the perks of the gameplay is that it never truly feels stale from a combat/input perspective. Whilst you end up falling into a pattern that works for you, you do appreciate the versatility and range of the weapons. One second you are wailing on an unsuspecting enemy with your fists. The next, you are torching a horde of monsters with a flamethrower as part of a combo. It doesn’t really get more joyful than that!

Evil West Review - 2

Whilst solid, the combat is far from perfect. At a certain point in the game, you gain the ability to teleport to a nearby enemy or have them teleport to you. This leads to a tactical advantage as you can use it to thin out a herd or get away from a dangerous situation, or at least that would be the idea if the inputs worked as intended. When it is least convenient, you will find yourself in the midst of a beatdown, unable to escape. To counter being unable to teleport away from danger, you could just run. That would be an option if controlling Jesse did not sometimes feel a little tank-like. The way the character is modeled, you can see The Gauntlet weighs a significant amount as he moves around when not in combat, so that could explain why he sometimes feels unresponsive to control. Thankfully this gripe is small and not game-breaking.

In addition to that minor gripe, sometimes the hordes you face can feel a little multitudinous in their numbers to the point of making some sections go on just a little too long. In fairness, these instances were never enough to break the immersion or ruin the experience. For the most part, the game is linear, with minute deviations here and there to find the money for upgrades or perks. The perks and upgrade systems feel thought out. Whilst not genre-defining, they do feel good enough to add layers to the game.

Evil West Review - 3

The overall package is strong in this one, even if lacking in some finishing touches. The combat is solid, and the lore and the story are engrossing enough to keep you playing. Where the game falters slightly is in its character design. To me, the design looks… odd. Some characters look oddly muscular, oddly proportioned with odd facial features, and weirdly, the ones that look the most human are the characters who are not actually human. Just like with other gripes I have with this game, none of it ever feels enough to want to put you off completely from the game.

There is a hidden charm that encourages you to keep going, and by the end, you will feel happy that you did since the pacing in this one feels good. Most of the sections don’t overstay their welcome, and there is even a minecart section to throw you something completely different. That is what Evil West is in a nutshell. Everything here feels as though care was put into making it, and whilst not every note was hit pitch-perfect, there is a lot here to enjoy.

Evil West Review - 4

Evil West has a full trophy list with a Platinum, and you’ll have to work your way through 13 Bronze trophies, 11 Silver trophies, and 5 Gold trophies. You’ll get a trophy for beating the game in each difficulty setting – Novice, Adept, Expert, and Evil -for collecting all cash on all missions, slamming 100 enemies, performing 15 finishers, hitting 45 weak spots, defeating each of the bosses in the game, and doing so in the Evil difficulty setting, to name some examples.

Evil West Review - 5

If you like steampunk, you will love Evil West. If you love vampires, you will enjoy this. If you like experiencing a good story, then you’ll enjoy this one. And if you enjoy a solid and well-put-together combat system, then you will no doubt love it. Evil West is a fun game that does not try to reinvent the wheel. It’s a neat little package that caters to many tastes but does so quite well. If you have a chance to try this one, I would strongly recommend you try it out or, at the very least, watch the first 30 minutes of gameplay below to get an idea of what to expect because to ignore this one completely would be to do yourself a disservice. The game is out as a Cross-Buy title, so your $59.99 purchase will give you both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5 versions of the game at no extra cost.

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This Evil West review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Focus Entertainment.

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