bhlaab's Amid Evil (PC) review

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Starts Strong, Ends Weak

Amid Evil is a game I started out loving, but ended up just liking. The first three episodes were absolutely fantastic. After that, I feel like there's a rise in visual quality met with a descent in gameplay quality until a final episode ("The Void") that played like junk. While the game is admittedly gorgeous, I think it makes a lot of decisions based on form over function. Yeah, thin walkways twisting above a bottomless nothing look really cool, but they're no fun to fight on (or off of, which was often the case for me) and they are in near-constant abundance. Dodge fireballs on a thin walkway, get surrounded on small platforms, get crowded in tight hallways. Falling off of ledges while being shot at gets old pretty quickly. The game is back-filled with a lot of jumping puzzles. I can handle a little bit of jumping puzzle, but Amid Evil goes overboard.

The monsters are a mixed bag. The big guys are usually fine, it's the tiny swarmer enemies that are a pain in the ass. They move as fast if not faster then the player and take too much punishment before they go down. Other enemies have some iffy attacks that don't really work in first person games, like area denial attacks, projectiles that boomerang back and hit you from behind, or attacks that rain down from above. Enemy projectiles overall are just a little bit too fast. The enemies often don't work in concert very well, with large-scale battles just seeming kind of messy. Something that ticks me off a bit is that when you get hit the screen goes a very opaque style of red, greatly obscuring your vision and disorienting you when you need clarity the most.

The boss fights are pretty bad. They certainly tried to do something with them, but I think that's ill-advised. Bosses in an FPS are like bosses in a Sonic the Hedgehog game: the faster they're over with, the better. Any attempt to draw things out or make it more complicated is unwelcome. Luckily most bosses can be easily cheesed to death with the powered up mace. From some points of view that might not be so 'lucky' but I'm not turning down an FPS boss that dies in 10 seconds.

Aside from the really nice graphics and style, the weapons are a highlight. Each one is creative and has utility and it doesn't feel like its rehashing the textbook "pistol, shotgun, machine gun, rocket launcher" arsenal. You can temporarily power each weapon up with souls you collect, which adds to their utility. All of your attacks have a 'wind-up' before they fire which was fun to get used to. They did a good job making all of the weaponry comfortable but unique.

I feel like I've said more negative things than positive, but I did like this game quite a bit. I just can't ignore its flaws. The first three episodes are fantastic-- fantastic classic FPS gameplay. It's just that episodes 4-7 are just pretty good. That's a hard swerve that left me discombobulated. If it helps, I think Amid Evil easily outdoes all of the old games in the Heretic and Hexen series. I think it's roughly equal to its sister game DUSK from the same indie publishing label. If you liked DUSK you'll probably like this, and vise versa.

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