Evil West combat is like Batman: Arkham Asylum with guns and blood

There is a basic combat mechanic in Evil West that, if you’re anything like me, will totally buy you into this action shooter. Basically, you can time an accurate rifle shot like a Batarang quick throw in Batman: Arkham Asylum, and if you hit the right spot, an enemy’s arms will simply explode from their sockets, spraying rivers of crimson like something out. from Kill Bill. Both arms are completely gone: no meat, no bones, just two long sacs of blood ready to burst at the slightest touch, and with blood pressure like that, you have to assume these thugs are consuming nothing but salt, cholesterol. and smoke.

It’s a simple mechanic that feels incredibly satisfying to pull off, but it’s just one tool of many, and they all feel equally good. There’s a simple three-hit combo that leaves weak enemies open to a Doom-style brutal finisher, or a charged uppercut that suspends an enemy in the air where you can team up with them to hit more, stay on the ground, and air your revolver in or load a second hit and send them fired at some environmental object like a stack of dynamite.

As you explore the world, you’ll find tons of money that you can use to buy upgrades and weapons that make combat even more dynamic: chain lightning effects, sparta kicks, energy straps, ground slams, flamethrowers, and dashes. .. here, and the combination of ranged and melee feels like a breath of fresh air: depending on your style, it can be a melee game with ranged skills or a shooter game with fighting combos.

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In most cases, this might seem clunky or overwhelming, but Evil West’s abilities and beats fit together like clockwork. Remember how intuitive the Freeflow Combat system was in Batman: Arkham Asylum back in 2009? Well add repeater rifles, vampires and steampunk technology and you end up with something like Evil West.

And it’s not just the fighting that feels premium here. From the environment and monster designs, to the cutscenes, Evil West feels like a huge step forward for both developer Flying Wild Hog and publisher Focus Home Interactive.

Regular cutscenes inject personality into the cast of vampire hunters and keep some narrative plates turning between bloody fights. You play as the gruff and no-nonsense Jesse Rentier, a vampire hunter who’s interested in the case of a particularly nasty supernatural incursion into a bizarre reimagining of the American frontier west. Jesse himself is tedious enough, but his stoic sidekick Edgar delivers a bit more snarl and sass whenever he shows up. Performances and animations feel a bit tiny a bit stiff, but production is on par with many triple-A games.

The practical session begins in an abandoned mining town, with masked baddies appearing from behind barrels or strutting through the swinging doors of a saloon. It’s classic western food, but after just a few minutes you find yourself deep underground, passing through chthonic tunnels on the way to some kind of vampire fortress.

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As you delve deeper into the underground cavern, you will come across massive inverted pyramids and stone courtyards through which rivers of blood flow. Here you’re up against bestial gnats stumbling around shooting projectiles, zombie-like abominations with leeches for heads, and bat-faced brutes armed with halberds. It’s a totally different world from the clichéd frontier settlement you fight at the top of, and if the rest of Evil West’s missions are as detailed and varied as this one, we’re in for a real treat when it launches on November 22.

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While you wait, check out our roundup of the best western games on PC for more twists on the American frontier, or our list of the best action-adventure games for more escapades like this one.

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