Imagine waking up dazed and confused with little to no memory except for a girl and a bomb. What are you doing in an abandoned mental asylum and who does the voice, speaking into your mind belong to? The mystery unfolds through an immersive gameplay experience in the recently released video game, Get Even.
Get Even is a first person shooter, mystery, survival horror game developed by The Farm 51 and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC. The game consists of one of the best narratives that I’ve seen in a video game, involving aspects of action, murder, mystery and even significant portions of horror, to keep players on their toes.
Players play as Cole Black, who wakes up in an old, abandoned asylum with little memory except for one; his attempted rescue of a kidnapped young girl with a bomb attached to her. Desperate to regain his memories, Black is urged to utilise the technology strapped onto his head, dubbed the Pandora, to travel through the very depths of his mind and replay various memories in order to uncover the truth about his past and the reason behind his rescue attempt.
The game is played from a first person perspective, which makes Get Even’s horror themes all the more eerie and slightly terrifying. Through exploration of a rather large map and interacting with various environments, the player is able to unlock the truth piece by piece, which ultimately results in questions of justice and reality being raised.
I made the mistake of tempting fate and playing Get Even on its hardest level of difficulty, traumatising. The first few hours of gameplay wasn’t as difficult as the game merely required me to explore and investigate various clues throughout the asylum to piece together the narrative. However, with each level progression, the horror aspects of the game became more intense and the enemies were aplenty. As someone who isn’t a very ‘good’ gamer, sneaking past enemies and taking them out stealthily was difficult, albeit being instructed to do so by ‘Red’, the voice in Black’s head. Therefore, my playthrough of Get Even was largely a point and shoot venture, which, as Red warned, came with dire consequences.
The game’s mechanic of every action resulting in a consequence was one of my favourite aspects of Get Even. For example, releasing an inmate being treated at the asylum resulted in the deaths of others and a rather spine-tingling game of hide and seek as I attempted to survive at all costs.
Being set in an asylum with a cemetery right outside and little information as to the nature of Black’s involvement with Red and the young girl’s kidnapping, meant that there was a surprise at every turn, many of those including terrifying jump scares. These scares included doors slamming shut on their own, eerie singing by rather disturbed inmates, creepy looking mannequins that moved each time I looked away and of course the creepy voices that can be heard. Such surprises were thrilling and kept me on high alert, which made Get Even one of the few games which caught my full attention.
Visually, Get Even felt more like an immersive movie experience than a video game and despite not being a virtual reality game, I felt as if I was actually in the video game, experiencing everything Black did as if it were all happening to me. Once again, no video game I have played before delivered an experience like this. The ability to make players feel as if they actually existed within the game and experiencing it all first-hand is a testament to the brilliant development of the game’s mechanics as well as its incredible graphics and visuals.
The art style remained true to the horror conventions, with a rustic, run-down looking environment within the abandoned asylum and a dark, muggy and dreary looking exterior to signify the deprivation of care and impoverishment of the world around Black. Of course, being a game whose plot involves the use of futuristic technology, there were several areas within the game which included hi-tech gadgetry and amazing computer graphics to illustrate the teleportation between memories. Being heavily memory based, I was mesmerised by the way enemies broke into brilliant glass-like shards upon being defeated, signifying the disruption of memory. Interestingly, there was a secret inclusion of My Little Pony in the game too which was rather amusing.
No thriller is complete without ominous music and an unearthly soundtrack. Get Even certainly has this down to a T, with music that not only creates a sense of intense urgency within the game, thereby further personifying the horror aspects, but is also melancholic, symbolising the deeper story waiting to be revealed. Playing through the game every other day and listening to the various themes made Get Even feel all the more like an immersive movie experience, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
As much as I loved playing the game, I must admit that playing on the hardest level was not the best idea and the difficulty of the higher levels in the game made it all the more challenging to get through, so much so that I had to ask my partner, who has years of experience with all kinds of games, to get through certain challenges for me. Whilst not the game’s fault, not being able to overcome a challenge on my own did put a dampener on my spirits.
It was even more disheartening when glitches began to appear toward the end of the game, causing me to die as Black several times, over and over, as enemies spotted and shot at me while I was stuck in a particular spot, unable to move anywhere, yet alone duck for cover. These glitches occurring so close to the end of the game, certainly frustrated me to no end. I was so close! The good thing is that respawning is easy enough, as long as the checkpoint isn’t too far away from where I left off, thereby allowing me to learn from my mistakes.
However, the game does come with a caveat. In order to complete the game and actually learn the full story, players must really complete the game. In other words, every piece of information must be investigated and all puzzles solved. Should any particular item be missed, players will have to return to the level and start from scratch. This was especially frustrating as it meant that the hours I spent previously was for naught. It would have been so much better, if collecting every bit of information was truly necessary to complete the game, to go back to each level and simply pick up or investigate items that were left over, rather than having to repeat the entire level again. Because of this, I have yet to complete the game and what should have taken me about 10-15 hours will end up taking much longer.
Get Even totally took me by surprise. I didn’t think I could enjoy a game as much as I did this, which just speaks volumes of The Farm 51’s capabilities as a game developer and story-teller. With such a unique plot, fantastic aspects of mystery and thriller, horror themes, brilliant visuals, in-keeping with the game’s themes and a soundtrack that fits perfectly, Get Even is now one of my favourite games and one which I highly recommend to other games, regardless of experience and gaming proficiency.