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Evil Dead: The Game preview — A rad multiplayer horror title built in blood by series nerds

Evil Dead The Game Evil Ash
Evil Dead The Game Evil Ash (Image credit: Saber Interactive)

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with members of Boss Team Games and Saber Interactive to go hands-on with the upcoming horror multiplayer title Evil Dead: The Game. As a massive fan of Ash and his Deadite-slaying antics, I've been eagerly awaiting its release. After spending a healthy amount playing on Xbox Series X and PC, and posing all my burning Evil Dead questions to the development team, here are my impressions of Evil Dead: The Game and whether or not this gruesome action game will be worth your time.

What is Evil Dead: The Game?

Before I dive into my overall thoughts on the experience and why fans of the franchise and non-fans alike should be excited about this cleverly designed horror game, let's discuss exactly what Evil Dead: The Game is. For those who possibly missed the flashy reveal trailer, Evil Dead: The Game is an asymmetrical horror multiplayer title that pits a cast of iconic characters from the Evil Dead universe against a horrifying player-controlled Kandarian Demon.

You and your squad of four heroes team up to explore sprawling locations from the series, loot fan-favorite weapons like the "Boomstick" and chainsaw hand, and collect key items in the hopes of sealing the breach between worlds and banishing the Kandarian Demon back to hell. Or, if terrorizing other players is more your speed, you can take the role of the Kandarian Demon and try to viciously kill these heroes before they complete their objectives with an assortment of devastating villains like Evil Ash or Henrietta.

Evil Dead: The Game aims to offer loads of replayability for a wide range of player types.

Evil Dead: The Game beautifully combines elements of co-op and PvP into one intense multiplayer offering. However, while a bulk of the game's content revolves around slaying with or simply slaying other players, Evil Dead: The Game also provides an assortment of singleplayer side missions that allow individuals to relive iconic moments from the franchise. The team was careful to stress that these solo missions aren't considered a conventional "campaign," but they wanted to provide more options for meaningful singleplayer gameplay.

With 13 playable heroes, three unique Kandarian Demon archetypes, a healthy assortment of weapons and abilities, and a collection of singleplayer side missions, Evil Dead: The Game aims to offer loads of replayability for a wide range of player types. Considering this is a budget-priced title with the standard edition starting at $40, the suite of game modes and content launching with this package seems genuinely impressive.

Why Evil Dead fans should be excited for Evil Dead: The Game

Evil Dead The Game Cabin

Source: Saber Interactive (Image credit: Source: Saber Interactive)

It's no secret that I'm a massive fan of Evil Dead, and I'd even go as far as to say I owe much of my love of horror to Evil Dead 2. After sitting down with the development team of Evil Dead: The Game and grilling them on the nitty-gritty details, I'm happy to report that this multiplayer horror title was crafted with care by some huge Evil Dead nerds. And as a fellow Evil Dead nerd, hearing this absolutely warmed my heart.

Committing to the monumental undertaking of getting licensing rights for Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, and Ash vs Evil Dead allowed the team to combine elements from all these beloved pieces of media in ways we've never seen before. Evil Dead: The Game even managed to lock down almost all of the original voice actors, adding a powerful air of authenticity to biting one-liners delivered by Bruce Campbell and the gang. There's something undeniably hilarious and magical about seeing Arthur from Army of Darkness blasting Deadites with a shotgun while Pablo from Ash vs Evil Dead decapitates demons with a broadsword.

The team even named the game's upgrade items "Pink F," inspired by the legendary cocktail "Pink Fuck" in Ash vs Evil Dead.

Evil Dead: The Game is also exploding with references and Easter eggs pulled straight from the various worlds of the franchise. Saber Interactive appointed a "loremaster" in charge of naming locations, characters, and items within the game, and this individual went all in. Standout examples like Jake's Gas 'n Go, which was initially nothing more than a logo on the side of a truck in Evil Dead 2, have been entirely constructed and brought to life as in-game locations in Evil Dead: The Game. The team even named the game's upgrade items "Pink F," inspired by the legendary cocktail "Pink Fuck" in Ash vs Evil Dead.

A remarkable level of care and attention to detail is applied to every character and environment in Evil Dead: The Game. The heroes, villains, and set pieces feel almost ripped directly from their source material. As someone who grew up watching these legendary films, it's absolutely amazing seeing some of my favorite memories reintroduced in such an effective way. It can be challenging for licensed video games to truly capture the essence of the IP they're based on, but Evil Dead: The Game is confidently one of the strongest and most respectful adaptations I've ever seen.

Why battle royale and MOBA fans should be excited for Evil Dead: The Game

Evil Dead The Game Character

Source: Saber Interactive (Image credit: Source: Saber Interactive)

While I'm obviously extremely familiar with Evil Dead and its myriad of spinoffs, sequels, and reboots, I painfully understand that many players have no experience with the franchise whatsoever. Thankfully so do the folks at Boss Team Games and Saber Interactive, and they want to ensure that no matter your familiarity with the source material, you can still jump into Evil Dead: The Game and have a blast executing Deadites with friends.

In many ways, Evil Dead: The Game is similar to other popular asymmetrical horror multiplayer titles like Friday the 13th and Dead by Daylight. However, as someone who's played those titles to death, I was far more excited by the other inspirations this upcoming horror game brings to the table. Evil Dead: The Game manages to improve upon the gameplay of its genre predecessors while seamlessly incorporating welcomed mechanics from battle royales like Fortnite and even MOBAs like League of Legends and Smite.

The delicate dance of risk versus reward when looting in Evil Dead: The Game adds a unique dynamic to the core asymmetrical multiplayer formula.

Players who enjoy the randomized nature of looting for weapons and equipment in battle royales will certainly appreciate the parallels in Evil Dead: The Game. Each character has a unique starting weapon, but to overcome the increasingly powerful Kandarian Demon, you'll need to scavenge various locations to acquire deadlier weapons. Much like Apex Legends or Fortnite, the weapons you find scattered throughout the map have distinct rarities and power levels. The delicate dance of risk versus reward when looting in Evil Dead: The Game adds a unique dynamic to the core asymmetrical multiplayer formula.

And for players who adore the intense strategy and teamwork of MOBAs, Evil Dead: The Game provides a surprisingly deep gameplay loop. Each of the 13 characters is assigned to one of four classes, and team balance is critical to your success. In addition to character-specific abilities, you can even level up specific stats within a match using Pink F. Understanding how to take advantage of your team's synergy and which stats are best suited to counter your Kandarian foe remind me of some of my favorite systems in games like Smite. Competitive multiplayer fans will find plenty of juicy mechanics and strategies to sink their teeth into with Evil Dead: The Game.

Why I'm excited about Evil Dead: The Game

Evil Dead The Game Dagger

Source: Saber Interactive (Image credit: Source: Saber Interactive)

When I first saw the reveal trailer for Evil Dead: The Game, I distinctly remember telling myself, "This looks way too good to be true." The visuals showcased during gameplay were nothing short of jaw-dropping, and the trailer boldly demonstrated the team's love for the franchise. After spending close to 5 hours with the game on Xbox Series X and PC, I can safely say this team has completely delivered on the promises of the reveal trailer and has something admirably special on their hands.

My impressions and much of my excitement for Evil Dead: The Game are coming from the perspective of a huge Evil Dead fan and frequent player of countless horror titles. That being said, I can't wait for more folks to get their hands on this outstanding multiplayer experience. As someone who's sunk dozens of hours into titles like Dead by Daylight, Friday the 13th, and Resident Evil: Resistance, I can confidently say Evil Dead: The Game is the best-feeling asymmetrical horror multiplayer title I've ever played. Combine that with an apparent love for the franchise from the development team, and you have yourself a recipe for a damned good action game for you and a few friends.

Evil Dead: The Game is expected to launch on May 13, 2022, for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch.

Miles Dompier is a Freelance Video Producer for Windows Central, focusing on video content for Windows Central Gaming. In addition to writing or producing news, reviews, and gaming guides, Miles delivers fun, community-focused videos for the Windows Central Gaming YouTube channel. Miles also hosts Xbox Chaturdays every Saturday, which serves as the Windows Central Gaming weekly podcast.

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