TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — There absolutely needs to be an "Evil Dead" game. But "Evil Dead: The Game" fulfills only part of that necessity.
The mutliplayer-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, but 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 full focus on multiplayer action, which no doubt resulted in a more robust final product.
The drawback is that the gameplay is somewhat one-dimensional. While there are ample upgrades and enhancements available, there's a general feeling that you're running around in circles. The mileage you'll get will depend on whether you're able to 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 the pacing is fast, 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 over time, as well as how engaged the community remains. If the momentum sputters, the franchise will no doubt do what it does best — spawn yet another sequel.
Publishers provided review code.
Phil Villarreal is the senior real-time editor for KGUN 9. He is also a digital producer and host of "Phil on Film" seen weekly on Good Morning Tucson, Phil moved to KGUN after 17 years with the Arizona Daily Star. He is married and has four children. Share your story ideas and important issues with Phil by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.