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Yahtzee reviews Get Even.

Transcript Edit

Imagine my disappointment, listener. Hurm. Right, that's enough imagining, here's the real stuff. A new IP developed by *some* of the guys who worked on Painkiller, that's first person, and has guns in, and is called something that wouldn't look out of place as the title of a Jason Statham film? Clearly this will be some terribly exciting action murder fantasy with huge guns perched on the end of a stiffy big enough to impale an entire subway carriage full of eager milfs. Then I actually played it, and found that the chest-thumping bellicosity of the title had misled me, and the only chest thumping that took place was when the game thwacked me reproachfully across the nipples for wanting to kill things with the gun that it gave me for killing things with.

 Get Even is an odd mishmash of elements, the kind of game that can only be described with a sentence beginning with the words 'sort of' and ending with the word 'thing'. As in "Sort of stealth action adventure thing" or "sort of sci-fi psychological thriller thing" or "I sort of pulled my trousers down to show you my thing".

 The protagonist is named, and you might want to hold a fishing net in front of you or something because when you hear this your eyes might just roll right out of your head, Cole Black. He's a grizzled mercenary type bloke who sounds a bit like Sean Bean making out with a fat angry dog. He spectacularly fails to stop a teenage girl getting blown to bits and then wakes up in an abandoned asylum. The world of video games probably has special "Sorry to hear you woke up in an abandoned asylum" greeting cards it happens so bloody often.

 With the help of a mysterious voice, Cole must use a third party VR helmet to explore his own buried memories and piece together the events leading up to him not saving a teenage girl from being blown to bits. But nothing is as it seems in the abandoned asylum, as should be expected of any game that introduces total immersion VR as a concept and refers to itself as 'psychological' in any way, so first you don't know if anything's real or simulated memory, and then you don't even know if the simulated memories are reliable, so trying to get your head around what actually happened is like looking for a fun size snickers in a cat litter box.

 Get Even's gameplay suffers from a lack of discipline as it indecisively wanders around the buffet table, loading up its plate with spaghetti on one side, apple crumble on the other and pouring popcorn butter all over it. It started off reminding me of Condemned a little bit as we have to explore the run down asylum holding up our magic video game smartphone with the functionality of a Star Trek tricorder, taking pictures of evidence, but this turned out to be not much more than a collectibles element for filling out Cole Black's scrapbooking project.

 Then we introduce a puzzle element where we use the thermal setting on our magic tricorder phone to follow an electrical wire to the correct fusebox, but I think this only gets used one more time in the whole game and it's to point us to a fusebox I was about to use anyway because I was already exploring every inch of the level to document every nondescript stain on the wall that's identical to every other nondescript stain except it makes the evidence detector go widdly wee.

 Oh yes, and then a prisoner begs me to release him and a bit of text comes up to none-too-subtly inform me that my actions will have consequences. Of course they will. Walking across a room has consequences, the consequence is that I'm on the other side of the fucking room. I know what it really means, that we're strapping in for some of that branching narrative bullshit. So a short ways in when I randomly press an unlabelled button that lets all the crazy murderers out, I am informed that I am a bad person for doing so and not randomly pressing the other, identical unlabelled button that provides free breakfasts to poor schoolchildren and brings Scrambles the Wonderdog back to life. So now I have to worry about my decisions mattering, until about two thirds of the way through when we switch to a different character and they stop mattering.

 Christ on a camping weekend, I wish Get Even's game design would put on its own magic VR memory machine, relive its first planning meeting and try to remember what its core element was supposed to be. I feel like there must have been three teams, one working on a stealth shooter, one on an atmospheric horror game and one on an episode of Taggart, and they all had a big after-work sex party and accidentally put on each other's trousers. Because the combat element is strangely elaborate considering that the rest of the game treats it like the vegan at the barbecue.

 You might reasonably wonder why there's combat at all when we're just exploring VR memories, but don't worry, the game has an explanation ready that it wrote down on a piece of damp toilet tissue. You're subconsciously trying to hide the memories from scrutiny, okay, and conjured up soldiers from other memories or even books and films, Cole Black apparently reading nothing but Andy McNab novels which thinking about it makes a lot of sense. In reality, it's just a weak excuse for throwing in token gameplay, but it's doubly strange that the game would rip its trousers squeezing the combat in, and then tell you off for engaging with it.

 It's actually got one or two interesting new ideas, like the gun for shooting around corners, and a whole lot of very uninteresting old ideas, like being able to sneak up behind dudes and pinch their buttocks to make them swoon with flirtatious shock. But make use of either of them and the game browbeats you about it as part of the abovementioned moral choice branching path thing. It's incredibly obnoxious because apparently nothing less than a complete ghost run will satisfy, no kills, no alerts. So when I'm spotted because the minimap lies about the length of the enemy's vision cones and the usual cockup cascade begins, the voice in my ear droningly threatens me with the bad ending because it apparently reflects poorly on Cole Black's moral character that he can't conceal himself behind a blade of grass. One too many cheat days, I suspect.

 Yes, the game offers you the chance to redo the memories as much as you want until you do them right, and lays on the "are you really really REALLY sure you want to continue" prompts before getting the hammer of judgement out, but putting the effort in for the more positive outcomes would have required me to give a quarter cup of powdered birdshit for the characters, and that wasn't happening.

 There's a lot of ACTING! going on in Get Even, which is not quite the same thing as acting. ACTING! is what amateur dramatics productions do when they've been informed there might be a casting agent in the audience. When I had pieced together the plot, I concluded it was about a bunch of unlikeable soap opera characters making long strings of stupid decisions, beginning with their haircuts and only going downhill from there.

 In summary, then, Get Even is a bit of a mess, that fails to give its handful of interesting ideas enough room to grow because of the other five hundred things it was trying to do, it was like someone tried to raise baby ducks in a bag of pick and mix.

 And besides, Cole fucking Black? You raise enough eyebrows naming your character Mr. Black without making their first name another thing that's black. Might as well have called him Edgeward Darkbottom.

Addenda Edit

  • Get beaver: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • What says it all is when you kill someone and the voice says "Stop treating this like a video game." You mean, like something fun?
  • I always get even, which is a shame, because I always bet on odd
Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2 · Hellblade · Agents of Mayhem · Sonic Mania · Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle · Destiny 2

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