I often look at other forms of media such as the cult-classic stories of Van Helsing and the critically acclaimed Red Dead Redemption games and think to myself, what if these two combined their distinctive elements? And as I played this game to write our Evil West review, I noticed that it is in fact a combination of the themes of these two other fictional properties, as you take on the role of a renegade cowboy to hunt down vampires and demons in a world that has been turned on its head.
The game is a linear fast-paced Action RPG that has you going up against various brutal supernatural creatures and entities with a robust combat scheme. Evil West might just be the perfect title to scratch your itch for an addictive yet short experience, so without further delay, let’s discuss how it fulfills that desire and more, in our review of the game.
Story And Setting
You play as Jesse Rentier, a brash beast hunter belonging to the House of Rentier, which is an institute whose sole purpose is to hunt down and eradicate any kind of supernatural beasts and calamities. Jesse’s Father wants him to be at the top of the food chain in his company, but our hero is opposed to that idea, acting rebellious and seeking nothing more but the thrill of the hunt from the crawling demons and foul beasts around the world.
However, this thrill proves to be harmful to Jesse as a powerful demon strikes the Rentier estate, causing disaster for our protagonist as he narrowly makes his escape. The story then unfolds throughout the 16-mission campaign as our hero embarks on a revenge story, hunting down answers, meeting new and familiar faces as well as destroying every hideous abomination in his path.
Unfortunately, the story really isn’t anything special and it is mostly predictable and cliche to the point where your main focus will be the satisfying gunplay and action. You will meet quite a few side characters that may intrigue you with their eccentric and rowdy personalities such as Edgar Gravenor, whose explicit behavior and antics are sure to make you chuckle during some cutscenes.
But when it comes down to the actual narrative here, you won’t technically be introduced to any sort of proper world-building here as the story is mostly self-centered on Jesse alone. A few additions such as the charming side characters and the well-acted performances make the experience a bit better, but not by much.
Not to mention, the fact that the storytelling plays out more or less like a B-grade Hollywood movie can be either stupidly fun or incoherent for players, depending on their mindset. But thankfully the whole narrative isn’t too heavy here, as the main meat of it lies in its gameplay.
The third-person action combat of Evil West is perhaps the highlight here as there was never a dull moment throughout the whole campaign. The combat bears a strong resemblance to other action-heavy titles such as Doom Eternal, but despite their differences in the genre, the strongest similarity here is the chaotic gunplay and wide variety of cool weaponry to choose from.
The campaign consists of linear mission-based levels which consist of action sequences along with some light-hearted puzzles which can also help you unlock secret passageways to find upgrade currency and other types of collectibles. Speaking of which, each of the weapons can be enhanced and outfitted with numerous upgrades to improve Jesse’s capability in combat, plus you can also unlock game-changing abilities and skills for him via the Perks menu.
The collectibles are essentially lore markers that help shed light on the events of the game, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you if you wanna take the time to read them or not. The puzzles are pretty self-explanatory as they don’t overstay their welcome during missions and don’t ruin the enjoyment factor, which is an aspect I applauded whilst playing through the game from start to finish.
The blood-spilling combat of Evil West instantly grips you in tight as you can clear hordes of demons and monsters in any fashion you wish. Whether it’s frying them up using ranged artillery, or if you like it the old-fashioned way, use the Fists of Steel gauntlets to charge in up close and pound them to oblivion. There is no end to the fun here as you can annihilate enemies and bosses with speed and precision, but a single mistake can also cost you as these monstrosities can tend to gang up on you, so caution is always advised.
However, towards the end, I could feel myself getting tired as the game is generally lacking enemy variety, thus making the experience shallow. Furthermore, you will either like or dislike the maneuverability as it can tend to be clunky at the best of times. Fortunately, it wasn’t too much of a bother as the adrenaline-fueled combat kept me in high spirits and I imagine will do the same for other players as they demolish enemies left and right.
Visuals And Performance
The overall art direction of Evil West is fascinating as it incorporates a cell-shaded animation style along with your usual mixture of the Wild West tropes and bizarre satanic elements. You will be exploring rural towns close to your home during the starting hours, and then immediately dive into a large creepy dungeon with an atmosphere that is sure to rile up cosmic horror fans. The cutscenes are brilliantly animated as they maintain a solid balance between photorealism and old-school picturebook-esque effects.
Performance-wise, you should be fine running the game on almost any modern-gen GPU such as the GTX 1080 or even the AMD RX 580 for that matter since the game is well-optimized. We personally played it on an RTX 3060ti as it provided us with the options of the amazing Nvidia DLSS upscaling technology. However, even if you don’t have that much of a beefy GPU, you can get away with running it smoothly thanks to AMD’s FSR upscaling which will provide you with a significantly improved performance and image quality.
However, on the console side of things, there has been some recent criticism revolving around the fact that the game is only able to run at a locked 30FPS framerate at 1080p resolution on the Xbox Series S. While the Series X and PS5 have their performance and graphics modes included, there is no reasoning yet as to why the game lacks a 60FPS framerate on the Series S considering it has great optimization. Here’s to hoping that the developers include it in a future update for the game by compensating for the resolution to 900p or something similar along the lines.
While the story may not be its strongest aspect, Evil West offers an extremely engaging combat system that will keep you on your toes at all times as you rip and tear through demons and other abominations at high speeds. There is enough weapon variety that Jesse feels like an absolute force to be reckoned with, as he plows through enemies using his fists, revolvers, and high-impact tesla-inspired armaments.
The enemy variety and the recurring level design may take the wind out of your sails a bit, but thankfully it doesn’t ruin the experience so much that your enjoyment is permanently affected. The game surprisingly doesn’t feature any sort of microtransaction elements aside from a skin pack, which all the more steers it in the direction of a rare video game that is nothing but pure fun and high-octane action.
This has been our Evil West Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.
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Evil West Review
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
While the story may not be its strongest aspect, Evil West offers an extremely engaging combat system that will keep you on your toes at all times as you rip and tear through demons and other abominations at high speeds.
- Exhilarating Combat
- Deep Selection Of Weapons
- Enigmatic Visuals
- Exceptional Optimization On PC
- Lacklusterous Storytelling
- Repetitive Level Design
- Lack Of Enemy Variety