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Multiplayer-focused 'Evil Dead: The Game' pays tribute to horror series

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Posted at 11:41 AM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 11:41:55-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — There needs to be an "Evil Dead" game. But "Evil Dead: The Game" fulfills only part of that necessity.

The multiplayer-centered title follows the heavily-walked path of similar slasher-themed asymmetric shooters "Left 4 Dead," "Back 4 Blood," "Dead by Daylight," and "Predator: Hunting Grounds."

The "Evil Dead" films, the "Army of Darkness" spinoff, and "Ash vs. Evil Dead" TV series offer ample material for something bold, funny, and fright-filled. Still, the Saber Interactive game adaptation focuses on the action.

A robust single-player campaign — the more meta, the better — would have provided ample opportunity to replicate the pull of the films and show. But there is also something to be said for the entire focus on multiplayer action, which undoubtedly resulted in a more robust final product.

The drawback is that the gameplay is somewhat one-dimensional. While significant upgrades and enhancements are available, there's a general feeling that you're running around in circles.

The mileage you'll get will depend on whether you can find a group of players to compete against and with.

The franchise suffers from a lack of viable characters, and the selection reflects that. There are four versions of series hero Ash to take on, and obscure peripheral characters from the films and TV series are awkwardly shoved to the forefront, granted demon-battling abilities they never had in the source material.

And even all four Ashes combined lack the bombastic presence of a live-action Bruce Campbell as the iconic demon-slayer. By necessity, his character is forced to grind out killings rather than talk his glorious trash.

While the action is solid and fast pacing, the "Evil Dead" adaptation feels slim out of the gate. As with all games of its ilk, its success will be determined by how it evolves and how engaged the community remains.

If the momentum sputters, the franchise will undoubtedly do what it does best — spawn yet another sequel.

Publishers provided a review code.