Get Even is a psychological horror game with shooter and exploration elements. There are some good ideas, but it doesn’t commit to any of them long enough for them to shine through.
You play as Cole Black, an ex-mercenary with an objective: save the girl. You fail and a bomb goes off. You find yourself in an abandoned asylum with very little memory of the event and equipped with nothing but a phone and the Pandora VR googles; a device that allows Black to explore his memories and the memories of other characters. Guided through the asylum by the mysterious “Red”, the only way out is to discover the truth. Who is the girl? Who is Red? How are the characters involved? These are but a few of the questions that set the stage and lead to more intriguing plot lines throughout the game.
The story is absolutely the highlight of Get Even with plenty of twists and revelations coming at a steady pace. Some are more predictable than others, but are still well told. It’s a story about memories and when these memories are corrupted it will misdirect you or only give you half-truths. This is what kept me invested and I found myself second guessing my choices multiple times.
Gameplay is where it all falls apart. There’s plenty of variety with gameplay ranging from stealth, exploration, combat, and puzzle solving, but none of these are fleshed out enough to be interesting.
The stealth is as basic as you can get; you crouch to reduce the chance of being detected and avoid enemy vision cones. It’s not very challenging as there is normally an obvious path to follow. Combat is when the gameplay is at its worst. You will die in a second if caught out in the open. Guns don’t feel very satisfying to use and there’s not a good variety of weapons. You have the basic silenced pistol and only a handful of automatics. However, there is one notable exception: the “Corner Gun”.
The “Corner Gun” is a weapon that can peak around 90 degree corners so you can stealthily take out enemies or help in combat so you don’t expose yourself too much. This sounds great, but the problem is the game doesn’t want you to use its one unique feature. Red will constantly advise you against killing as it will corrupt the memories which means you may not get the entire story and get a different ending. If you do decide to kill (even using stealth) Red will keep going on about how reckless Black is.
Black’s smartphone is his most versatile tool, as well as being used as the camera for the Corner Gun. It has a map, UV light, infra-red, and a scanner that will all help throughout the game. Occasionally the game will throw a “puzzle” at you that makes use of all the phone gadgets that you have, but none of the puzzles require any thought or effort. You mostly either follow a pipe with the infra-red or get a passcode with the UV-Light. I was looking forward to this aspect of the game, but it’s very disappointing how little thought went into the puzzle design.
Exploration is where the game is at its best. As you are exploring the asylum, you will find audio logs and text documents that flesh out the characters you will meet. There’s a few moral choices in the asylum; you can let the patients out, but how many of them can be trusted? There’s also some genuinely scary and creepy moments that will keep you on edge.
Voice work is exceptional throughout the game and helps to sell the emotional story. The characters feel believable and relatable. The later part of the game has some really dramatic moments where the chemistry between Red and Black (who oddly sounds a bit like Sean Bean) really shine through. The rest of the sound design is also fantastic with a superb soundtrack and sound effects when exploring the asylum. You’ll clearly hear the inmates chant and bang on doors, adding to the tension of the game.
The graphics range from alright to very bad. Textures are flat and there’s an annoying film grain that I can’t turn off. Character models look like they’ve been scanned in directly and look completely out of place. Occasionally the visual effects can be pretty good, especially with the disrupted memories and when you kill an enemy.
Technically speaking, Get Even is a disappointment. With the graphics not exactly being good, I was expecting the game to run smoothly throughout and this wasn’t the case. Often I would get frame stutters when moving into outdoor areas and moving into new zones. Nothing unplayable, but it did pull me out of the experience a few times.
Get Even is worth playing if you can get over the boring gameplay just to get through the game’s superb story.