Get Even opens with a stunning, scary hook. Cole Black, the gun-toting hero, sneaks through an abandoned warehouse, gunning down private military contractors, only to find a young girl with a bomb strapped to her chest. Black desperately punches in the bomb’s code, but the blast goes off… and he wakes up in an abandoned asylum with a VR headset glued to his face, and a mysterious doctor who’s going to make him explore his memories, whether he wants to or not. It’s a promising start, and Get Even almost lives up to the energy that this intro generates… but it’s not quite the sum of its parts.
At its root, Get Even wants to be three things: A compelling psychological thriller, a moody horror game, and a stealth shooter. It succeeds at all three, surprisingly enough. Granted, the story tips its hand, in some respects, almost immediately, starting with the cheesy name of the protagonist. But it’s compelling enough to make you want to see the story through, and the game smartly tasks you with collecting evidence in each level that’s just tantalizing enough to help you put the whole plot together. As you creep through the asylum, collecting data about the patients, and enjoying the game’s elaborate sound design and nice creepy touches, you’ll feel a nice chill. Helping matters is the interface design: Black uses a smartphone inside the game, which you can see in the footage below and can only show you one app at a time. Do you leave up the map, which alerts you to potential threats? Do you use the thermal imager, to spot potential puzzle solutions? Or do you leave up the ultraviolet flashlight, to track where to go next?
You’re constantly choosing, on the fly, what you need, and it gives the game a clean user interface.
Similarly, the stealth gameplay is spectacular. It relies on that in-game phone, and also the Cornergun — which is essentially a periscope that lets you peek around corners and shoot from cover — It also adds a clever touch in that your phone’s “evidence scanner” can add cover or remove obstacles from the environment, and the stealthier you are, the more of the story you can put together as you overhear conversations, root through evidence, and dodge terrorists.
The issue is that you alternate between the horror levels, with their emphasis on exploration and atmosphere, and the stealth levels, with their emphasis on sneaking, spying, and judicious gunplay. Even though they share the same plot, and they’re both fun to play, these two games simply don’t combine into a coherent whole. As a result, the game feels disjointed, even after it pulls back the curtain and reveals what it’s truly up to. The result is still a lot of fun, and deserves credit for not only trying some fresh mechanics, but pulling them off so smoothly. But while Get Even is a strong first effort, it’s just too… well… uneven to fully deliver on the promise of its ideas.
Verdict: Worth A Chance
This review was conducted with PS4 review code provided by the publisher.