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Evil West preview – Wild West meets Van Helsing

Evil West Cover Art

This week will mark the last of our PAX East 2022 coverage. Almost a month has passed since the event and we’ve saved some of the best for last. The last two articles will be Hands-on coverage of Flying Wild Hog’s Evil West and Massive Monster’s Cult of Lamb.

For Cult of the Lamb, we will have to play a demo at home since most of the media PAX East bookings were canceled due to the demo’s popularity. So rather than a lamb cult, let’s hunt down a vampire cult in Evil West.

When it comes to cowboy video games, they are far and few between. Even rarer is cowboy games that have mythical elements incorporated into the game. In the last decade, only two games come to mind, Van Helsing and Red Dead Redemption.

Now, Focus Home Interactive is set to publish Flying Wild Hog’s Evil West sometime in 2022. So for many gamers who have not been following this game since it was announced, you might be asking yourselves, ” What is Evil West?” The short answer is a western shooter where one of the last vampire hunters looks to eradicate the vampire menace in the wild west.

Hands-On Impressions

Going into the Evil West demo, we weren’t quite sure what to expect. The Game Awards trailer showed off some nontraditional vampires, brutal finishes, and a variety of skills the player will be able to use in the game.

Honestly, with a gap between The Game Awards and PAX East, we did forget the full concept behind Evil West. Because of this, going into the PAX East demo blind was refreshing and allowed for no expectations before playing the demo.

Going in blindly, Evil West feels like a blend of Red Dead Redemption, Darksiders, and Doom. In the demo, the area we were allowed to explore was rather limited and linear. In the demo, you could see that the overall world was bigger than being showcased; certain parts of the environment were blocked off but should allow for players to find additional cover spots.

Headshots in the game were not one-shot kills which was surprising compared to other games; though the headshots didn’t kill instantly, the damage dealt allowed for them to be stunned leaving them open for a special type of kill. When enemies were stunned, the player could gib the enemies. In the gib state, the player could execute the enemy in different ways.

Demo Encounters

The demo gave players the chance to kill a variety of enemies. These enemies ranged from newly turned, transforming, to a full-on vampire boss. Each of these enemies had its own unique vital spots and the player’s interaction with these monsters varied.

During the demo, we experienced three quick-paced encounters. The first encounter was a shoot-out in the typical midwest town. These vampires were not affected by the sun and could hold high advantage points to snipe at us. These enemies were more susceptible to headshot damage.

The second encounter took place in a vampire nest. The transitioning humans were closer to a vampire state than the above-ground ones. They were less susceptible to headshot damage and could absorb more damage. The gib kills on these worm-like vampires were more amusing to see; the executions are more graphic but not always as amusing. They felt similar to base-level demons in Doom.

The final and most rewarding encounter came when fighting the final boss. This final encounter was against the Vampire Commander who would unleash a variety of attacks. This fight felt closer to a Dark Souls or Dark Siders boss encounter.

The player must time their attacks, roll away from projectiles, and unleash devastating combos. Watch out because the vampire lord can absorb health from creatures that he has spawned. Targetting the boss rather than the minions will ultimately allow you to survive.

Overall the core gameplay of the game felt very fleshed out and polished. While playing through the demo, we did not notice any visual bugs. The executions were enjoyable for the most part through the transitioning vampires felt like they could use some more work.

If this is just a small part of the overall game, players should have a lot of fun. Look for more Evil West content in the near future. Evil West is launching sometime in 2022 for Windows PC (via Steam), Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.

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