Evil West review: A bloody, action-packed ride in the Wild West


Screenshot from Pro Game Guides

Evil West takes the concept of a Wild West superhero and brings it to life. Flying Wild Hog evokes an interesting take on the American frontier, creating one filled with deadly vampires and gun-wielding cowboys wielding lightning gauntlets. The premise sounds silly on paper, but Evil West offers an exciting and engaging adventure with some of the best combat out there.

Combat

Without a doubt, the biggest part of Evil West is its combat. Jesse Rentier is one of the top agents at the Rentier Institute, and he certainly has it in him. Armed with various weapons, he can approach combat in multiple ways and seamlessly switch between them. Regardless of the weapon he uses, each killing blow feels satisfying, and the executions showcase the brutality of Jesse’s arsenal. My personal favorite was the Rentier Gauntlet, a simple but effective weapon that sets up different combos and finishers.

The variety of enemies in Evil West also adds to the fun of combat. Various enemy types and weaker bosses keep the combat feeling fresh with each encounter. As you progress through the game, you unlock perks and upgrades that expand your options. Each fight becomes a puzzle with a distinctive challenge and multiple solutions. This shows up when a new type of enemy appears, or you get a new weapon, as the tutorial blends into the arena.

Screenshot from Pro Game Guides

The only part of Evil West’s combat that could be improved is the lackluster dodge function. Often, I was locked into a combo or run, but couldn’t dodge in time when an enemy hit me. But this mild criticism is easily overlooked due to how fun Evil West’s combat is. Also, the need to dodge almost becomes irrelevant outside of boss fights just because of how fluid Jesse feels, especially when he uses Electric Dash.

Score: 5 stars

History

Evil West’s story is nothing special, but it works and establishes the premise of the game well enough. Jesse Rentier is an agent of a vampire hunting society, and most of the game is about defeating these creatures and discovering their intentions. What makes the story of Evil West stand out is that we also see the perspective of the vampires. They are a predatory race fighting extinction as technology develops more and more. So in a way, you can’t help but feel some pity for the supposed antagonist.

While the story is serviceable and moves things forward, the dialogue and characterization shine the brightest. Every moment with Jesse and Edgar emphasizes their friendship; whether they were arguing amongst themselves or saying a single sarcastic sentence, I found myself looking forward to scenes where the two of them appeared on screen together. For the most part, it was mostly the characters that I enjoyed, not the actual story. These stood out more than the predictable, rushed, and mostly forgettable narrative that serves as little more than giving you a reason to punch vampires in the face.

Score: 4 stars

Related: Is Evil West a looter shooter?

World

Evil West offers a world of the Wild West that feels authentic. I regularly dive in as I explore abandoned mine shafts, expansive gorges, western towns, and more. But Flying Wild Hog takes this a step further by juxtaposing this gritty, run-down world with advanced technology, almost giving it a steampunk aesthetic. As a result, each setting felt unique and stood out, especially considering the sheer number of Western titles we’ve seen in 2022, from Weird West to Hard West 2 and now Evil West.

Screenshot from Pro Game Guides

Where the world of Evil West falls short is how linear it feels and the lack of interactivity. Each level is a separate entity where the only real course is to advance. There are a handful of side roads to explore, but each one is no more than a short walk to a collectible. I wish I could lose myself and dive deeper into the world of Evil West. Adding more exploration or allowing you to interact with objects, such as shooting bottles or talking to NPCs you encounter in the civilized parts of the world, would go a long way to improving the atmosphere. Evil West doesn’t need to become fully open world, but its levels could have been more open.

Score: 4 stars

audio/soundtrack

Evil West just sounds good. From the soundtrack to the environment, every track and sound cue lifts the mood. Whether you’re simply walking through one of Evil West’s many levels or fighting hordes of the undead, the audio pulls you into the world and the action. Combine western vibes with something otherworldly to create a unique sound that demands your attention. Headphones are a must only because they allow you to enjoy the full listening experience.

It’s not just the music that works: Flying Wild Hog has nailed the sound design, from the jingle of your bullets as you walk to filling the vampires with lead. Each impact of the Rentier Gauntlet on the flesh of the undead gives it a meaty, shocking feel. In particular, I loved the sounds of electrocuting an enemy and then rapidly pummeling them to a bloody pulp. Jesse even comments throughout the fight, either complaining when he takes a hit or firing off a witty retort when he takes down an enemy.

Score: 5 stars

Verdict – A wonderful action adventure

The elements of Evil West come together to create the perfect western game. You feel powerful, especially as a human facing supernatural monsters. The action starts right at the beginning of Evil West and doesn’t stop. What may initially seem like a one-note visceral experience, turns into an absolutely wild ride. Evil West is a near perfect execution with just a few shortcomings and has easily become one of my favorite titles in 2022.

We received this code from Focus Entertainment for review purposes.

Image from Pro Game Guides

For more on Evil West, check out All Evil West Pre-Order Bonuses: Skins, Weapons & More and Is Evil West Coming to Consoles? in professional gaming guides.

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