When Evil Dead: The Game was revealed at Summer Game Fest 2021, I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. I never for a second imagined a world graced by the existence of an asymmetrical horror multiplayer title set in the Evil Dead universe. As an enormous fan of the gruesome Deadite-laden franchise and horror multiplayer titles in general, this felt like one of those rare, beautiful moments where a video game felt crafted almost exclusively for me.
What was even more impressive than the sheer premise of Evil Dead: The Game being conjured by the dark gaming gods was how stunningly this horror multiplayer title introduced itself. I distinctly remember thinking, “This looks way too good to be true,” after the initial reveal. Despite my reservations about the execution of an Evil Dead game in 2022, I decided to let my hopeless optimism bet on the potential of this miraculously developed licensed horror game. And I’m so glad I did.
After spending over 30 hours executing Deadites with over-the-top finishers and wreaking gleefully sinister havoc as the Kandarian Demon, I can confidently say Evil Dead: The Game is the best-feeling asymmetrical horror multiplayer title I’ve ever played. It improves upon the gameplay shortcomings of titles like Friday the 13th and Dead by Daylight to deliver genuinely infectious multiplayer fun. While clearly crafted for Evil Dead enthusiasts, the team managed to perfectly balance decadent fan service and engaging, streamlined game design.
Evil Dead: The Game — What you’ll like
We’ve seen numerous attempts at asymmetrical multiplayer in recent years, especially in the horror genre. Titles like Evolve, Hunt: Showdown, Friday the 13th, and Dead by Daylight are just a handful of the most prominent examples. While titles like Dead by Daylight have gone on to garner passionate followings and years of ongoing support, experiments like Evolve struggled to lock down compelling gameplay loops and sadly faded into obscurity.
As someone who’s dabbled with basically every asymmetrical horror multiplayer title on the market, I’m happy to report that Evil Dead: The Game provides a more consistently engaging and enjoyable loop than any of its contemporaries.
|Category||Evil Dead: The Game|
|Developer||Boss Team Games & Saber interactive|
|Xbox version||Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One|
|Play time||25+ hours|
|Xbox Game Pass||No|
Taking the role of one of four iconic hero companions like Ash or diving face-first into the hellish first-person perspective as the solo Kandarian Demon, up to five players face off in heated PvPvE matches. As the human team, you’ll need to gather upgrade items, improved weaponry, and critical objective items to banish the Kandarian Demon back to the underworld. All the while, the devastating forces of monstrosities like Henrietta or Evil Ash will do everything in their power to stop you from achieving your goals. Both roles provide wildly differing experiences that maintain an excellent flow of moment-to-moment gameplay.
Unlike asymmetrical horror titles like Dead by Daylight or Friday the 13th, where the actual gameplay feels secondary to the world, characters, and overall package, Evil Dead: The Game empowers players with memorable kits of weapons and abilities. Whether playing as the human heroes or Kandarian Demon, I never felt powerless when it came to overcoming my opponents’ advances. Evil Dead: The Game is brimming with applause-worthy crescendos of gameplay. We frequently witness figures like Henry the Red disemboweling Deadites with a shovel, while the demon player possesses and rams Pablo from Ash vs Evil Dead with a pickup truck.
Hosting this collage of gory executions, hilarious player interactions, and exceptional exploration-centric gameplay is a handful of meticulously designed maps packed with gorgeous environments. Despite the scale of the Fortnite-inspired maps in Evil Dead: The Game, the teams at Saber Interactive and Boss Team Games managed to make every single location feel meaningful. From abandoned barns filled with decrepit machinery to the local Jake’s Gas ‘n Go convenience store, there’s a genuine sense of purpose to how ambient objects are placed. This keen focus on small details helps bring the world of Evil Dead: The Game to life in ways other multiplayer titles can only dream of.
Other elements adding a remarkable sense of weight and believability to this nightmarish world are Evil Dead: The Game’s outstanding visual presentation. Despite launching a cross-gen title on base Xbox One, this is legitimately one of the best-looking games I’ve played on my Xbox Series X. With excellent draw distance and densely populated biomes, it’s hard not to find the presentation of Evil Dead: The Game anything short of stunning.
Dynamic weather effects like snow and rain sprinkle impressive flair between matches. It never gets old watching Arthur’s medieval armor glisten from evening showers or Pablo’s mustache gathering a snow dusting during a flurry. Combine these flourishes with high-quality textures, noteworthy physics interactions, and a healthy amount of flashy particle effects, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a gorgeous asymmetrical horror multiplayer title that visually stands toe-to-toe with some of the biggest budget AAA games available.
Players unfamiliar with Ash and his iconic chainsaw hand can absolutely dive into Evil Dead: The Game and have a blast executing Deadites with friends. Still, for folks like myself who’ve enjoyed and embraced the franchise for decades, it’s incredible to see this development team successfully treat the property with love and care.
Iconic locales like Knowby Cabin from Evil Dead 2 are immaculately brought to life in this video game universe with fan-centric nods like the possessed deer head and terrifying fruit cellar. Other poetic tributes like the “Pink Fuck” upgrade items from Ash vs Evil Dead demonstrate how familiar this team is with all of the source material. If you’ve been a fan of Evil Dead, Evil Dead: The Game was constructed from the ground up with you in mind.
Evil Dead: The Game — What you won’t like
I can’t overstate how impressed I am with the execution and polish of Evil Dead: The Game’s launch. Rarely do multiplayer-centric titles come out of the gate this confidently. However, I wonder how long it’ll be before hardcore players like myself begin hungering for more content. After completing the solo chapters and playing several matches, you’ll basically have seen most of what this asymmetrical horror title has to offer.
It’s important to commend the fact that Evil Dead: The Game shipped with 13 playable heroes, 3 Kandarian Demon archetypes, two massive maps, and five singleplayer side missions, but unless you’re fundamentally hooked by the class-based progression system, you’ll likely find the pool of content currently available on the slimmer side. This might not be a substantial complaint for fans of MOBAs or Battle Royales. However, it will undoubtedly be an ongoing conversation in the coming months.
Player expression is another crucial component of any successful ongoing multiplayer experience. While Evil Dead: The Game currently hosts an assortment of legendary character skins like S-Mart Ash from Army of Darkness, most playable characters and demons have no options for visual customization. Unique skins don’t inherently impact the gameplay. Still, more unlockable rewards within Evil Dead: The Game would dramatically bolster the sense of progression and expression.
Not every game needs a battle pass, but there are enormous areas of opportunity for Evil Dead: The Game to shine as the premiere asymmetrical horror multiplayer title. Small additions like weapon skins, emotes, victory poses, and even vehicle cosmetics could enrich the average player’s connection with the game. There’s a respectable level of character and demon variety, but I’m hoping the team has some hefty plans for deeper player customization options in the future.
Ahead of the game’s launch, a collective of players were disappointed by the lack of singleplayer content for Evil Dead: The Game. Initially, this was planned to be a multiplayer-only title. Thanks to fan feedback and a lengthier delay of the title, the team was allowed the chance to add five singleplayer missions to the game. While these solo chapters are worthwhile accompaniments to the overall package, a couple of them are brutally difficult.
If you’re aiming to unlock every playable character, you will need to finish all five singleplayer missions. Unfortunately, the Pablo mission, in particular, is a ruthless gauntlet that was far more frustrating than fun. There are no checkpoints in these missions, and considering that some are upwards of 20 minutes long, it’s pretty rough getting to the very end and dying. I’m all for some hard-earned rewards in video games, but I feel like a handful of singleplayer chapters could use a little balancing.
Evil Dead: The Game — Should you play?
At its core, Evil Dead: The Game is an undeniably fun and satisfying horror multiplayer title. This demonic amalgamation of past, present, and future borrows the defining principles of legendary multiplayer games like Fortnite, League of Legends, and Dead by Daylight, while successfully delivering its own unique gameplay loop. Evil Dead: The Game is simultaneously comfortable and innovative, and as a massive fan of Evil Dead, it’s amazing watching the property receive such excellent care.
Solo players will likely be disappointed by the content offered here, but if you have a squad of dedicated friends who enjoy sinking their teeth into class-based meta, there’s so much to love with this gory, campy, and mesmerizing video game. As shocked as I was to see this asymmetrical horror multiplayer title revealed, I’m even more shocked that Evil Dead: The Game managed to launch as one of the best-playing and best-looking horror multiplayer titles of the last several years. While not available on Xbox Game Pass, the $40 price of entry provides dozens of hours of blood-soaked entertainment.
Evil Dead: The Game stands boldly as a worthwhile entry in the asymmetrical horror genre. A fantastic title made to delight fans and newcomers alike. Grab a few friends and face off against a host of Kandarian terrors.