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I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve watched Evil Dead III: Army of Dark around 100 times. Probably even more, but that was 30 years ago and my memory has deteriorated over time. This fantastic third part of the saga was one of my top three favorite films of my youth along with Los Blancos no la saber Saber Tagging and They Call Him Bodhi. For years I’ve been sitting in front of the TV for hours and watching them over and over again. I can quote entire scenes from all of them, most notably from Army of Darkness, where Bruce Campbell gives a great performance as Ash, the arrogant smart store manager who, after having nightmares, ends up in the woods in Evil Dead and Evil Dead II in a time machine , which transports him to the Middle Ages to hunt the Necronomicon.
There have been many interpretations of Raimi’s cult-classic horror trilogy. In my opinion they are all bad or mediocre. The recently released Evil Dead: The Game is being developed by the same team behind titles like SnowRunner and Timeshift. Like the Friday the 13th game, it is an asymmetric online multiplayer experience. Eight years ago, predictions estimated that the asymmetric multiplayer style would dominate the world of video games. It seemed that Evolve would be the greatest exponent of this style, but it didn’t have the success that everyone expected.
In Evil Dead, like Evolve and Friday the 13th, gameplay is based on five-player matches, with one player controlling a demon while the other four control Ash and his companions. We can choose between 13 “survivors” that are divided 4 different classes (Support, Leader, Hunter and Warrior). Each team must complete five different objectives in the correct order. First you need to find three papers on the cards, which are face up and relatively large. Then we have to find the Kandarian knife (the very one from Evil Dead II) and finally the Necronomicon. If you follow these steps, you will repel the armies of the dead and win the game.
The player controlling the demon hovers over the map like a ghost and is responsible for collecting orbs and setting traps in the “early” gameplay. After that, you must own various items to stop the advance of the survivor group. He can pick up trees, bushes, or vehicles to make it difficult for other players to hunt down the five lenses, and he even has the ability to summon bosses. Among them, he can summon Evil Ash from Army of Darkness or Henrietta from Evil Dead 2.
Saber Interactive used the Unreal Engine to create a world that fits Evil Dead 2 more than any other title in Raimi’s horror universe, and overall the result is pretty good. The visual aspect is good in every respect, from the smallest models to the largest and most open cards. The landscapes are usually rainy, dark and with lighting effects from outdoor lights, torches and flashes from storms. The presentation is wonderful and you can tell that the game was created by die-hard fans of the Evil Dead series. Nothing was left to chance, and Saber took care of every little detail to make the characters as popular as those in the trilogy. They also voiced Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz and Betsy Baker themselves, which creates an atmosphere and a feeling of being in the world of the Evil Dead.
On the other hand, what didn’t impress me that much are the game mechanics and that incredibly monotonous and ridiculous that everything becomes after playing a few games. Right now, the player controlling the demon has an advantage over the others, at least from what I’ve been able to test. Furthermore, I have to say that the asymmetric multiplayer style is quite flawed in basic things, even if it’s a game with continuous service and the studio manages to release updates to balance the games. Survivors spend all their time running around looking for pages and knives in match after match, which gets really boring. In addition, the fights against the waves of undead that flood the maps are routine and rely on pressing the same button all the time, which makes the multiplayer quite difficult. To me, this is a problem we already had with Evolve and Friday the 13th, but at least those two titles had good gameplay that I find hard to find in Evil Dead.
In terms of fan service, almost everything is right, as is the look and the sound. Saber clearly loves movies, but I don’t think the game’s base fits Raimi’s film trilogy.