Get Even (PS4) - ReviewDan Carreras , posted on 21 June 2017 / 9,910 Views
In Get Even you play as Black, a man who finds himself in an abandoned mental asylum surrounded by all manner of patients. While Black doesn’t remember much, he does remember one specific event: a girl with a bomb. His exploration of the mental asylum seems to be controlled by another man - called Red - who wishes to know what happened to the girl, as well as the events that led up to the scene with the bomb.
As you explore the asylum you’ll come across clues to Black’s past; notes here and there, photos, even items, all of which contribute to manifest a new memory to explore. These memories are played like a traditional FPS (albeit one with clunky controls), in contrast with the exploration/walking simulator gameplay of the asylum.
Get Even, then, is a game trying to straddle multiple genres: horror, FPS, and walking simulation-based adventure, with a heavy emphasis on narrative throughout. Unfortunately none of these genre combinations work particularly well together here.
The FPS sections, for example, are rudimentary - so much so that should you actually get into a proper firefight you’ll easily be taken down due to inaccurate controls. The only saving grace is the 'corner gun', a clever contraption that allows your gun to poke around corners without you having to reveal yourself. An argument could be made that the reason the FPS moments feel so clunky is to highlight the innovative nature of the corner gun, but I'm unconvinced and wanted the FPS segments to be over almost as soon as they started.
The level design feels off too. The game is based around Birmingham, UK, but the levels look like something out of S.T.A.L.K.E.R., or Deus Ex, which clashes with the strong brummie accents of the voice actors and the intended setting. Levels are also small which becomes a hindrance for stealthier sections where you're expected to sneak around enemies.
From early in the game, Get Even also makes it clear that certain actions will have consequences, but after completing the game I'm left wondering how that works in reality. I was constantly told during the FPS sequences not to kill enemies if possible, for example, but on multiple occasions there was no way past a section unless I killed someone.
The story almost suffers from the inverse problem to the rest of the game - it's lengthy and extremely detailed, but could have benefitted from some major trimming. It’s all fine and good getting a player to keep guessing about the intentions of a character, but when you’ve seen the same memory or sequence of levels multiple times you cannot help but want to see the conclusion sooner. These pacing issues are unfortunate because the story is actually pretty good and exhibits some fantastic character writing; it’s just that its sheer length somewhat undermines major plot twists when they are eventually revealed.
Graphically, Get Even is nothing special to look at, but does the job of portraying its environments adequately. There are instances where aspects of the scenery look lovingly detailed, but on the whole while objects have great textures they also have a disappointing low poly look. If someone told me that Get Even was originally planned to release on the PS3 and Xbox 360 I’d have no trouble believing them - apart from some great particle effects, which are used infrequently, most of the time Get Evens looks like it’d fit right at home on last generation platforms.
One area where Get Even succeeds with aplomb is in the audio department. In the asylum and throughout the memory sections, the audio manages to produce some truly disturbing sounds, helping to create a great atmosphere. The horror elements never truly felt creepy/scary aesthetically, but the sound designers deserve special recognition for helping to pick up the slack, delivering a sense of suspense in otherwise ordinary looking rooms. These superb effects, combined with the game's 3D audio engine (which makes sounds from your stereo speakers hit your ears at different times, resulting in 3D sound), truly make for some fantastic sequences.
Overall, Get Even is an ambitious game that unfortunately never manages to deliver on any of its potential. It starts out as a horror experience, before slowly transforming into murder-mystery, but never capitalises on any one single theme and as a result feels a bit messy. I can’t help but imagine that, had the developers at The Farm 51 stuck to a single genre and delivered a more concise story, Get Even would've been a great title. By all means give it a try, but don’t be surprised if, should you finish it, you feel deflated and a little bit baffled.
This review is based on a retail copy of Get Even for the PS4, provided by the publisher.