Review: Get Even (2017)

Get Even offers a lot of intrigue and a high-concept narrative, but falls short on what matters - gameplay.

Get Even seems confused. A game undergoing some form of identity crisis – a tale of two genres, if you will, wrapped up into an oddball package. It’s not as though Get Even does anything terrible, it just doesn’t do anything terribly well. For a game straddling several different in game mechanics and systems, this is problematic.

The best way to describe Get Even is part walking simulator, part first-person shooter (FPS). Its story puts you as Cole Black, a special ops soldier, tasked in the opening moments with rescuing a girl from a derelict hospital. As such events play out, things go awry and the next thing you know, you awake with a strange, VR device strapped to your head. You are instructed by an omnipresent voice belonging to an enigmatic, disembodied character named Red, as to what you should do. All the while, he keeps the true nature of your captivity at arm’s length. The only way to understand what is happening is to play out previous memories and moments via the headset.

Get Even uses this plot device to splinter the two different types of gameplay. The memories are where you’ll play out scenes in a traditional FPS style, whereas back in reality, you’ll explore the hospital, listening to audio-tapes and solving puzzles, and occasionally fending off a crazed inmate. The moments you spend outside of the VR world are probably the best Get Even offers, as they enable you to better understand the setting and, if only slightly, what you are doing there. While not strictly billed as a horror title, Get Even’s hospital certainly has an eerie atmosphere about it. At times, exploring darkened hallways and abandoned cells can give you the creeps. It also served as a nice reprieve from the memories.

The memories are not badly structured, per se, but they can frustrate due to poor controls. Simply put, Get Even does not play or feel like a game geared up for action heavy moments. It is probably for this reason that it strives to push you towards playing stealthily but when the AI feels so lifeless and dull, this is neither fun or interesting. The thing is, aiming and shooting also feels clunky and tetchy. It takes a while to line up a shot and, often, enemies have either gone behind cover or moved position when you do.

Get Even does manage to differentiate itself by offering a variety of tools to give it that ‘special forces’ feel. The main feature is the corner gun. This is acquired fairly early in the game and enables you to – quite literally – aim and shoot around corners. That said, it’s not as a fun as it sounds, mainly due to the aforementioned clumsy shooting mechanics. Additionally, you are also given a device that acts as a camera with various modes: Heat detection and night vision can help solve certain puzzles and, whilst playing through memories, you can photograph contextualised pieces of scenery to either remove obstacles or bring in objects for cover to make shooting feel more dynamic. However, toggling through the various features also feels to be a chore and is not very fluid. Combining these features when involved in gun play can frustrate and the features designed specifically to aid puzzle solving aren’t utilised that often.

While not the most visually impressive title – especially when it comes to character models – Get Even makes excellent use of sound design. Music is often tense and Get Even makes use of audio cues in the hospital – disembodied voices from where you can never quite place and doors open and slam from all directions. It does well to keep you on edge and adds to the eerie-as-heck feeling it often inspires.

It is a shame that with such an interesting concept and narrative that Get Even lacks the polish of its contemporaries. If the little foibles with the clunky interface and controls were ironed out for a more streamlined and smoother experience, this is one that would have held my attention much longer than it did. Regrettably, I found my time with this game to be – much like the game itself – slow and sluggish. It is a title I wanted to like and, oddly, I see the potential for Get Even to achieve cult-like status, and that it may become a fringe title that tries to embody mainstream gameplay mechanics but, in the same breath, strives too hard to be conceptually challenging. In short, it’s a title whose own ambition is weighed down by its flaws.

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