Star Rating:

Evil Dead: The Game

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series XS, PS4, PS5

Release Date: Friday 13th May 2022

Play Modes: Single Player, Online Co-Operative Play, Online Multiplayer

Out of all the horror franchises that have received video games over the years, 'Evil Dead' is perhaps the most game-friendly on paper.

You have the classic location, the weapons, the baddies, and of course, the hero at the centre of it all.

'Evil Dead: The Game' is a love letter to Sam Raimi's cult trilogy, and does enough differently from other multiplayer games to help it stand apart.

Players must team up with their friends or with AI to defeat Deadites and Kandarians alike, and in the thick of the action, the thrill of blasting through waves of enemies with Ash's one-liners flowing is as fan-servicey as it gets.

Getting the chance to use the boomstick or chainsaw is a dream come true for fans who have watched 'Evil Dead 2' over 40 times in their life.

Bruce Campbell recorded new Ash dialogue for the game, and hearing his smart-ass dialogue is music to any fans' ears, no matter how many times you hear it.

All of the films from the series are repersented in some form (yes, you can run around the famous cabin!) as well as the TV series 'Ash versus Evil Dead' meaning that players have a wide range of characters, playstyles and eras to choose from.

'Evil Dead: The Game' lets you and some buddies team up to defeat some Deadites

In a bad game, the fan service would merely be annoying and indicative that the developers were merely interested in releasing something with name recognition.

However, developers Boss Team Games have also made some cool innovations to the familiar asymmetrical multiplayer genre.

The game plays like a mix between 'Friday The 13th: The Game' and 'Dead By Daylight', but it also keeps the look and feel of the 'Evil Dead' franchise.

Players are tasked with completing objectives within a time limit while staving off enemies, and XP progression is fairly rewarding for players who want to level up their Ash.

The franchise is famous for its blood and guts, and the game captures the brutal gore of the films, with some of the finishing moves giving 'Doom: Eternal' a run for its money.

The graphics also look great on PS5, with blood, mud, and rain sticking to characters in realistic ways, and the highly-detailed enviroments are enough to get lost in.

The cabin from the films has been lovingly recreated, and in a nice touch, the cellar door keeps banging up and down.

Maps are sprawling and open enough to necessitate traveling by car, and the thrill of racing to a car to avoid a wave of Deadites coming after you and your friends is singularly thrilling.

Communication is key to survival in 'Evil Dead', although you can get away with the perfunctory gesture system within the game.

Implementing cross-play was a masterstroke, and it will ensure that the servers will remain healthy for a long time.

If there is one major complaint to lobby against the game, the lack of accessibility options is quite disappointing, and there is also a distinct lack of sensibility options.

In an era where pretty much every major release has a suite of accessibility options, it simply isn't good enough for a game at this level to release without these options.

Even 'Elden Ring', as unforgiving as it is, has a wide range of options that make the game inclusive for all gamers, and 'Evil Dead' lacks the same options.

With the nature of modern game development, this is in theory an easy fix, but it is rather alarming that a game of this size can be shipped without accessibility options taken into consideration.

On the more positive side, the game has a fantastic innovation with its fear system.

If players are exposed to disturbing or spooky goings-on, the player's world starts to warp around them, and when playing on headphones, some strange noises start to become audible.

It's tremendously creepy and keeps in the spirit and tone of the films.

Just before you get possessed, a few indicators start to show up such as trees starting to lash out at you or the player's vision narrowing.

It's a simple mechanic but it's deployed so well, much like how 'Eternal Darkness' sanity meter messed with players way back in 2002.

You could be fighting alongside your friend when they are suddenly possessed and they are added to the ranks of the undead.

It's a genuinely clever twist that honours the films but also serves as a great game mechanic.

Playing with friends is a must, as the game turns into 'The Three Stooges' when playing with AI in spots.

The AI does a passable job, but on more than one occasion the thrilling action was ground to a halt by the AI jostling to enter a doorway or a car and turned proceedings into 'The Naked Gun'.

Playing with AI is fine as a last resort, but if you want the full experience, you'd be well-advised to play the online modes.

Players must keep the home fires burning to avoid getting spooked.

Like 'Friday The 13th' or 'Dead By Daylight', players are also given the chance to play as the evil-doers, and playing as a Kandarian is a massive thrill.

The Kandarians are fairly barren ground as far as the franchise goes.

We know enough about them from their apperance in 'Army Of Darkness'a and the TV show, but Boss Team Games were given a free rein to envision how you could play as the demons.

Playing as the Kandarians is, in a word, a total blast, and there are very few gaming experiences like it.

When you're in control of the Kandarians, the camera zips and whips around like a Sam Raimi film, and while the controls do take a bit of getting used to, the power you wield is vast.

In effect, you are playing as the army of darkness and you can easily overwhelm a group of players if you now what you're doing.

When you're on the other end of a player-controlled Kandarian, you'll know all about it.

By simple mathematics you'll get playing as a Kandarian within a few matches, and you'll want to repeat the experience again.

Playing as both hero and villian is rewarding in 'Evil Dead: The Game' which is testament to the developers.

The game will run into the same problem that all asymmetrical multiplayer games run into: the sense of repitiveness.

Playing the game over launch weekend gave us a good idea of how to score the game and see most of what the game has to offer, and we can see us returning to the game if we want some multiplayer action.

There is a decent amount of content at launch, but there are only so many times you can run around a haunted woods before you're clamouring for a level set in S-Mart.

Despite the fairly substantial criticisms, the game is a lot of fun.

The game has a certain confidence about it and encourages players to improvise or switch things up if things aren't going their way, and playing with a group of friends or strangers online is a recipe for Friday night fun.

'Evil Dead: The Game' is a treat for fans of the series, and even if you don't know your Ashes from your Shemps to your boomsticks, you can still pick up the game and enjoy a novel and spooky multiplayer experience.

The game will live and die based on DLC support and a strong fan community, but based on the groundwork the folks at Boss Team Games and Saber Interactive will make sure the game receives the love and TLC it needs.

Our overall verdict?