Evil West PAX East 2022 Hands-on Preview – Shooting Vampires Old Style
It’s rare to see two games from the same developer (in this case, Flying Wild Hog, the studio behind Shadow Warrior) at the same event of PAX East 2022. Moreso than that, it’s a unicorn to see games being published by two different teams. While Trek to Yomi is being handled by Devolver Digital, the upcoming Evil West will be released stateside by Focus Entertainment.
Stepping into the setting of a spaghetti Western that’s just a little bit evil, the next game from Flying Wild Hog wants players to get comfortable with hunting vampires. With just a bit of a taste of the story, the player had already captured one of his own who was being tasked with breaking a barrier into the dangerous catacombs beneath the city. In the thirty-minute playthrough, my enemies quickly changed from your standard renegade gunslingers to demonic forces before a mission had even finished up.
What I enjoyed the most during my thirty minutes with Evil West was the combat, without a doubt. While the camerawork is well suited for a third-person shooter, the protagonist was equally adept at hand-to-hand combat. Weighty punches and kicks weave together well and can knock back or even stun the enemy temporarily just long enough to draw a firearm. Since ammo recharges at its own pace, you could probably cheese out some encounters by hanging back long enough for your rifle to reload or health potion to refill. That said, enemies feel aggressive enough early on that finding that breathing time may be all but impossible.
Some of the hero’s arsenal was teased through a quick look into the menu and discussion with my Focus handler, who made sure I didn’t venture too far into what I wasn’t supposed to be seeing. With that being said, we had discussed the possibility of customizing weapons later on and having various additional tools integrated nicely into the combat experience. A shotgun will become part of the player’s regular arsenal, but rather than being something to swap your rifle for, it will be one of the main face buttons indicating that the developers intend for it to be a regular integration into your melee combos perhaps on a shortened cooldown. Another button combination hinted at a Superpowered mode, though the developers are hoping to keep that ability set under wraps until they’re ready to reveal more of the combat basics at a later date.
As the west gets more weird and evil, expect to see the enemies quickly shift from your typical gunslinger to the far more demonic. You won’t have to take that depth into madness alone as Evil West offers co-op with another player throughout the campaign. Granted, this wasn’t enabled during the PAX East preview session but should be readily available for when the full campaign releases later this year.
Evil West is targeting availability for PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S|X.
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