Sometimes, there are games that come along that catch me off guard for all of the right or wrong reasons. Usually, it’s that I get an idea of what that game is in my head, but I find the experience to be different when the controller is actually in my hands. Get Even is a great example of this. I went in with the idea of corner guns and horror, but I came out with an entirely different game. This is Get Even, and it’s about time I see the words ‘black’ and ‘red’ close together in a game.
You are a mercenary named Cole Black who finds himself locked in an abandoned asylum with a VR headset strapped to his head and no memory of anything. He is guided by a mysterious figure only known as Red, who wants him to travel back to his older memories and piece together the death of a girl.
It’s hard to get into the plot of this game because the story in this game is so complex. The story is jumping all over the place and is full of twists and turns I didn’t expect. The story also happens to be one of the best part of this game. I won’t get into it too much for the sake of spoilers, but as the game goes on, the nonlinear plot begins to piece itself together. The plot starts to take on themes of love, loss, and family, and the characters that play these roles are complex and give a great performance. The ending in particular is incredibly strong, as for it shows just how human and personal this crazy story is. Story wasn’t the thing I was expecting to be the king of this game, but what’s here is incredibly thoughtful and complex in all of the right ways.
What isn’t so incredible or thoughtful is the gameplay, which also feels convoluted like the story, but not in a good way. Get Even is a blend of horror, first-person shooting, and detective game rolled up into an adventure game set in enough dilapidated buildings that makes you wonder “why are there so many?” While I am all for combining multiple elements into one game, I didn’t find any single element to be well refined.
Combat is a surprisingly large part of this game, which I guess shouldn’t surprise me considering you are fishing through the memories of a mercenary. The coolest gameplay mechanic is in the combat with the corner gun, which is a device that allows you to shoot around corners. Multiple different weapons can be used with the corner gun, and it changes up combat in a major way. Outside of that, however, combat is bland and clunky. On top of that, the game punishes you for killing anyone, as for it “breaks the simulation” or something like that. It’s a shooter with a cool gun, but the game discourages you from using it. Later on in the game, you get some neat powers like being able to teleport, but it ultimately doesn’t save the combat from being boring, even with the corner gun.
The final two genres this game inhabits is horror and detective, but neither of those are exciting either. The bulk of the combat can be found in Black’s memories, while the bulk of the “horror” can be seen in the asylum. In this asylum, there are other, more crazy people who are also imprisoned and also have VR sets strapped to their face. Despite all of this, I wouldn’t call this game a horror, a survival horror, a thriller, or any of that. It certainly has the environment for that title, but the game only capitalizes on that environment a few times with a few confrontational moments with other inmates. The horror aspect in the end just felt like a spooky house, but without any ghosts.
While combat and horror are separated, the last element of the gameplay brings it all together: detective work. It’s up to you to piece this story together, and you do so with a scanner on your phone. Investigative work comes to an end there though, because that is all you do: look for noteworthy items and point your phone in the general direction. While it does lead to more story bits, the actual detective work is lacking. The detective work does, however, give the game a bit of replayability, because each chapter can be 100% completed for clues. While it does add a few more hours and a few more story bits, the reward for fully completing story sequences are more corner guns, which is weird considering the guy giving you the guns is the same guy telling you not to kill. In the end, all of the gameplay elements in this game feel like they are trying to get out of the way to let the other gameplay element shine, but all of them end up underwhelming.
I couldn’t leave without talking about the most surprising and by far the best part about this game: the music. The story in this game was also quite a surprise for me, but the music blew my socks off. Olivier Deriviere composes this orchestra-heavy soundtrack with an emphasis on strings and piano, and the end result is a deeply emotional and incredible soundtrack that is some of the best and most deep video game music I have heard in recent memories. Even if you don’t plan on playing this game, I would highly recommend listening to this game’s incredible soundtrack.
In conclusion, Get Even was not the game I was expecting. I went in thinking it was a horror shooter, and I came out with a solid story and some not-so-solid gameplay experiences. If you are looking for a good story, then Get Even is a great game for that, but I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone else for any other reason.