Evil West is a third-person vampire-hacking action-adventure developed by Flying Wild Hog and published by Focus Entertainment. It is the old-school third-person action game, complete with linear level design, crunchy combat, and more testosterone than a festival with bulls. Evil West is guilty of feeling a bit generic at points in its level design, its presentation setup is slightly disappointing, and there is not much going on here that you have not seen done before, but Evil West is not trying to revolutionise the third-person action genre; rather, it is taking some of the best bits of it and mashing them together in a fully satisfying experience.
If the rest of Evil West had packed a memorable punch like the one that leads the protagonist, Jesse Rentier, packs while beating the fucking insides of Evil Wests vamps, it would be an easy recommendation. From the Tesla-inspired electric weapons to the gratuitous bloodshed and shedding, Evil West is one of the more satisfying murders by a monster that I have encountered in some time — sadly, its formulaic structure also makes it one of the more repetitive. Schlocky, brutal, and just plain stupid fun, this is a linear action game that puts an emphasis on an expanding battle system.
Its battle system is ridiculously entertaining, offering excessive slaughter and exciting engagements that should satisfy any character action game fan. Thankfully, it is also as satisfying to play as it sounds, thanks to the solid combat system that makes each bloody kill feel so satisfying. With its battle system, fleshed-out campaign, and killer sense of style, the teams latest offering will keep you strapped to the controller till the credits roll.
While its standard gauntlet gets the job done, things really heat up once you pick up the experimental one a little bit later in the game. If you are anything like me, you are going to want to play the teams latest offerings a few times over just to see all of the insane abilities that Evil Wests robust upgrade system has to offer. Things do get a little repetitive — particularly as re-use bosses begin creeping up — but once again, Jesse Rentiers arsenal of playable heroes is deep enough to keep you interested.
All this adds up to a certifiably bonkers battle system that is practically beggars belief in the next playthrough, once you have collected your credits, and it really reinforces just how vastly Jesses kill-making abilities have expanded throughout the game. Simple, predictable enemies, slowly ramped up over the course of the campaign — Evil West is one of those games where the mini-bosses become folded quickly into the overall enemy field — come at you in new combinations, in new arenas, perfectly set up for letting you test your latest gadgets. At around ten hours per playthrough, if you are rushing on the easiest difficulty, it is a dense morsel of flavour, with the New Game+ system inviting you back for more, keeping all of your unlocks, or you can take a buddy with the co-op system.
That is not to say that Evil West feels archaic, however, with a linear solo campaign, satisfyingly violent battles, and flexible progression all coming together in an extremely satisfying, flesh-and-blood adventure. A completely new IP by Flying Wild Hog, the makers of Shadow Warrior fame, Evil West is something of a throwback, featuring a linear single player campaign, secret collectibles, weapon upgrades, perk-ups, and more. Evil West is easily one of the more unexpected, and satisfying, action games this year, and Flying Wild Hog has a total bombshell on its hands.
All is not lost, though, as Evil West has a few diamonds in the rough when it comes to supporting characters, as well as its titular vampires, who twist traditional bloodsuckers, including one where one of the biggest villains happens to be a child. For Evil West, an underground organization mass-producing gigantic electrical fists for its members to use in hunting down undead, Evil West has a severe lack of fun to offer in terms of story, staying essentially linear for its entire running time.
Much like the story as a whole, the lanky-looking Jesse Rentier and his partner-in-crime just do not have a lot of layers to work with, which is unfortunate, as Evil Wests failure to take bigger risks and build a non-traditional tale does not do justice to its premise. Coming fairly solidly from the latter camp myself, I would argue that it is one of the best action games this year. I started Evil West off cold, then it warmed up on me as I got more weapons and got better at the fights, I also really enjoyed the story, even though it is pretty predictable, there are quite a few highs and lows, but when I got to the final level, I had enough.