Get Even (PlayStation 4) Review

By Sam Turner 19.07.2017

Review for Get Even on PlayStation 4

To try and pigeonhole Get Even into any genre could be likened to trying to ask a bear to kindly enter a house using only the letterbox. A letterbox covered in Marmite. This is a title that refuses to exist in one space; instead it takes up residence across many recognisable genres and gameplay styles. This is not to say that trying to force a game to be one thing is always a good thing; instead it only goes to highlight the problem with Get Even that its admirable efforts are spread too thin. Like the proverbial Marmite over the letterbox, this is a game that attempts to cover too much ground and not everyone is going to love it for that.

The one thing that Get Even does well from the outset is to take advantage of our bourgeoning familiarity with virtual reality. Surprisingly, though, Get Even isn't compatible with PlayStation VR, so only the lead character, Cole Black, gets all the joy of wearing a headset. The player, in the meantime, simply joins the Sean Bean sound-alike through a series of virtual memories, as a pernicious antagonist attempts to manipulate Black to relive moments of his life to uncover the secrets he has hidden within.

It's a compelling premise, and due to the fact that everything on screen is a projection of not only the memories of Cole, but also a reflection of his emotional state, the game gets to play with the reality of what's on screen, bending and twisting the environment and sound design to create a feeling that you can never be too sure of what you're seeing is real or something placed there by some outside influence.

Screenshot for Get Even on PlayStation 4

Get Even is a title that certainly asks a lot of the player. Mechanically it deals with first person, shooting, augmented reality investigation, and basic puzzle solving. All of these mechanics are wrapped up with a character who is being tested to explore memories that they have since forgotten, resulting in a unique game experience where both the player and the protagonist have little to no idea what's going on. Some stages the player is tasked to explore creepy asylums, others are hybrid stealth/combat missions, and some have more in common with Everybody's Gone to the Rapture than anything that's preceded it.

It's easy to lose one's bearings when playing Get Even, but things are grounded with the assistance of the ever present mobile phone, which offers some augmented reality on top of the ever confusing layers of perception that the game heaps upon the player. Through the mobile, the player can scan selected areas of the environment, search scenes using the thermal imaging app, or even read through some e-mails and texts to grab on to the loose story elements that randomly float by. Though meant to be a central hub for the player, the phone does add something, especially in the early moments of the game. It's often too tempting to view the game through the lens of the phone, so it becomes easy to miss what is happening on the periphery, meaning that it's simple to oversee potential threats or any enemies that might be standing in your way. Cole's gun is only a button press away, but knowing that his defence is down whilst investigating a scene in a hostile area is a thrilling balancing act.

The entire game, though, is a balancing act; an act that is trying to splay across three different beams. What should be clear already is that Get Even isn't genre neutral because it's doing its own thing with inspiration from other genres, but because it's a horrible mishmash of three different themes moving in their own separate direction.

Screenshot for Get Even on PlayStation 4

Much of Get Even takes place within the walls of an asylum, but locations do vary - although not far away from the usual video game tropes. There is the graveyard, the warehouse, and the futuristic military office. It's all here and all presented with the typical polish and design. Much like the gameplay, though, everything skews towards average, but, frustratingly, the game occasionally manages to punch into the brilliant.

The sound design, for one, is the main driving force behind much of what is to enjoy in Get Even. Before the game even begins, the player is presented with four different ways to enhance the auditory experience. Get Even plays with dynamic range, tone, sound effects and even cheesy pop music to deliver a sonic effect that often brings the game out of drudgery to delight. Cole's breath is its own instrument, too, quickening in pace the closer he gets to taking out enemies, pausing and slowing down to a delicate whisper when hiding in cover. It's a deft touch that could easily have been an annoyance, but within the context of the game it fits perfectly. The soundtrack also is a highlight, and the game isn't afraid to rely on it to add tension and peril. Through the sound design the player is given their first clue that they are not in control of this reality, and from a design point of view the soundscape of Get Even is exceptional.

Screenshot for Get Even on PlayStation 4

Sharing the spotlight is also the game's narrative, though it doesn't come close to matching the music and sound effects. The story in Get Even is often intriguing and thought provoking, delivering a narrative experience that only video games can manage. However, like with much of what Get Even attempts to do, all this hard work is shared with other elements of gameplay and design. No one part of the game is happy to share the limelight, so for all its interesting plot and ideas, the story has to be split between bloated exploration and lacklustre shooting.

All of this could have been mitigated if it wasn't for the fact that all the worst parts of Get Even hang around for too long. It's equal opportunities development where no director was brave enough to suggest that one of the elements of the genre should be sacrificed in order to bring the best out of what obviously works so well. It's easy to see that within Get Even there is a story bursting to be free, but it's been placed into a marketing world where the term 'walking simulator' carries with it its own (for some) negative baggage. What comes forth, then, is the constant need for traditional interaction and average gameplay to subvert the narrative meanderings. It's a valiant attempt to try and marry all these genres together and bring more to the walking sim experience, but more recent games, such as What Remains of Edith Finch, achieved this better by making sure each separate theme brought the best out in each other, rather than working in opposite directions.

Screenshot for Get Even on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

There is a slither of something within Get Even to enjoy. An intriguing story, narrative beats that hit hard, and a sound design that brings out the terror and peril of exploration. However, only those with the most patience will uncover these treats, as it all remains buried amongst basic puzzles, bad plotting, terrible combat, and awkward dialogue. What Get Even attempts to do is bring together several elements of game design to try and lift the walking simulator genre forward; however, it's a game that seems ashamed of its own inspiration.

Developer

The Farm 51

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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