I don’t know about you, but I love a good genre mash-up. Combining the best aspects of two separate genres is a daunting task, but if done right, it can make for a unique experience. Plenty of genre combinations have become staples in their own right; sci-fi and horror, action and thriller, etc. One that isn’t as common is mixing creature horror and westerns, but an upcoming title, Evil West, seeks to put its hat in this ring.
Officially announced at The Game Awards 2020 by publisher Focus Entertainment, Evil West blends old-school westerns and monster-hunting. Developed by Flying Wild Hog, it’s set to launch for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC via Steam on November 22.
It’s not the first time a blend like this has occurred, even in video games (anyone else remember Darkwatch? Probably not…). Yet with the trailers we’ve seen so far, it looks set to deliver a thrilling action-filled romp with fast, hard-hitting gameplay. We couldn’t be more excited to sink our teeth into this one.
The action-packed story of Evil West
Evil West takes place in an alternate history in the sunset days of the Old West where vampires roam the wilds of America. An organization of the Rentier Institute employs vampire hunters to track down and destroy the beasts wherever they manifest. Though not a federal institution, they have been cooperating with the United States government to get the vampire problem under control.
You play as Jesse Rentier, a veteran vampire hunter working for the Institute (which is led by his father William). At a meeting, several Institute members, including Jesse and his partner Edgar Gravenor, are attacked by a horde of vampires. Narrowly escaping the burning Institute, Jesse and Edgar are confronted by a vampiric girl who summons even more powerful demons their way.
Beyond the introductory mission (part of it, at least), we don’t know a ton about Evil West’s story right now. From the trailers we’ve got, it doesn’t look like the game focuses a ton on its plot. It very well may use its plot simply as a vessel for action set pieces, and that’s perfectly okay if that’s the case. The trailers have already shown that the gameplay will more than make up for a simple storyline.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about how the gameplay looks and feels.
A Fistful of Dhampirs (or, How the West Was Gunned)
As you’ve already surmised, the name of the game in Evil West is hunting down vampires and other monsters thrown your way. Jesse can use a multitude of weapons throughout the game, including his bare fists, his lightning-fueled gauntlet, and a slew of firearms. Melee attacks range from quick combos and three-hit punches to a unique ability where Jesse can launch his foes in the air. He can then augment these attacks with his guns, shooting foes down in the air or from afar.
All these skills can be augmented with the game’s skill tree. Jesse and his weapons have multiple upgradeable facets which, when unlocked, can significantly change the flow of battle. You can add new combo potential with devastating new attacks, or enhance your firearms with higher damage or special abilities like conserving ammunition.
After enough upgrades, you can turn into a one-man vampire-destroying army. But while you can play through the game solo, you can also play the game co-op with a friend. Double the players, double the pain — and you’ll be dealing out plenty during your adventure. However, it should be noted that story progression will only count towards the host player, and the second player won’t be able to advance in the narrative in the co-op mode.
And that’s critical, because you’ll encounter hordes of the creatures on your journey. Most of these vampires are far more feral than your typical lot, lunging at your with great speed and tenacity. Others are more powerful and cunning, requiring more intelligence to take care of. No matter who you’re facing, however, you’ll always have the equipment you’ll need.
Old-school new-school technology
The art style of Evil West blends old-fashioned Wild West environments and characters designs with retro-futuristic technology. You’re travelling around all the Western locales you can expect: ghost towns, plains, and sparsely-grown forests, to name a few. Yet you’ve also got radical advances in early technology inspired by the work of Nikola Tesla.
That doesn’t just extend to the aesthetics, of course. Jesse will have plenty of retro-futuristic tools on his side thanks to the engineers at the Rentier Institute. Chief among these is Jesse’s gauntlet, which lets you shock and batter your foes in the midst of combat.
There’s plenty of other gadgets at your disposal as well. For example, you can grab a crippling rod to send a paralyzing electric bolt into multiple enemies around you. Or you can rely on the classic energy shield to counter enemy attacks. Each gadget can also be upgraded to better suit your needs or unlock extra abilities.
No matter the situation, Jesse’s equipped for the task at hand. And with a full arsenal of tools and weapons at your disposal, you can truly create the vampire hunting cowboy of your dreams.
Where and when can you play Evil West?
Evil West is developed by Flying Wild Hog and published by Focus Entertainment. It will be available on Nov. 22 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC via Steam. If you pre-order now (which you can do via our affiliate links below), you’ll gain access to the Wild Wild East Skin Pack. This DLC contains the Golden Defender outfit for Jesse and the Golden Relics weapon skins.
What are your thoughts on Evil West? Will you be picking it up when it launches? Let us know!