The first-person shooter genre is an over saturated market place. Surprisingly though there still seems to be the odd release that shows a uniqueness that sets it apart and makes it well worth the investment. Get Even from Polish Studio Farm 51, has looked like it may add to the list of unique shooters from the various trailers that have dropped over the last few years, and found itself on my radar as a result.
As I mentioned, Get Even is primarily a first-person shooter, however it also mixes stealth and finds a unique way of telling an intensely exciting story. Although it is a shooter, the game would probably be best described as a psychological thriller.
You step into the shoes of ex-army hard man Cole Black, who awakens in a mental asylum with the solo memory of attempting to rescue a recently kidnapped, young female hostage with a bomb strapped to her chest. Unfortunately, the bomb detonates and the rescue attempt is a failure, but many questions remain. Why was Cole there? Who was the girl, and more importantly who was behind the kidnapping? It seems as though Cole has admitted himself to the asylum to attain aid to recreate and revisit his memories with the help of a mysterious figure known as Red.
The controls of Get Even are the quite standard for the modern shooter with L2 for aim, R2 for shoot and the usual face buttons assigned to allow Cole to squat, reload and change weapons. The D pad controls one of the handiest smart phones ever seen in a game. It has the ability to show a game map, project a blue light, be an infrared camera, a clue analyzer and of course a phone. The phone is not the only cool gadget on offer though, the games main weapon of choice is known as the Corner Gun. As you probably guessed, the Corner Gun has the ability to shoot around corners, being able to shoot from cover is great and adds another unique element to the game.
Get Even plays out in two different areas, the asylum which has a very eerie horror feel to it and Coles brain, or more specifically his memories. The asylum is run down, looks abandoned and is housed by a number of crazy, scary and quite aggressive patients. There is no supervision for any authority besides Red, who communicates via various scattered flat screen TV’s throughout the various areas. There is a reasonable mystery within the asylum itself with the inmates to follow through, and the passages of game play here always keeps you on edge.
The memories relate to why Cole was at the hostage situation and who is responsible. These memories intertwine with the asylum game play shifting from one to the other and back at regular intervals. It makes the game feels fresh and varied, as do the memories themselves. Some see you sneaking through levels to find clues and others put you into firefights with militants. Throughout the whole experience you start to question what is real and what is fantasy, the game takes you on a roller coaster ride of trying to piece together a story that is ever changing and has you questioning your own thoughts and presumptions throughout. The story is extremely well crafted and presents twists and turns throughout.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the gun play, or the stealth elements of Get Even. I played through on Traumatized, the games hard level setting, and on completion found that the game play flaws all stem directly to the enemy ai. There are times where you can crouch, walk directly behind an enemy and keep going on your merry way undetected. Then there are the other times where and enemy, not even visible on the map or to the eye will see you, start shooting and sound the alarm via walkie talkies. It feels so inconsistent that it frustrates you greatly. Likewise, the enemies seemed to be either stupid in gunfights, coming out in the open straight into your sights. Or they find a way to shoot you from a distance that is huge and seemingly through objects that you have used for cover.
The ai is not the only negative in Get Even, the graphics are really sub-par for this generation. On a positive note, I would liken it to Outlast, it is not pretty, looks a little last gen but the game doesn’t suffer too badly due to this. The characters wouldn’t look out of place on a PS3 or Xbox 360, the environments are average but when coupled together and attached to a story that visits environments of memory and a rundown asylum it all seems to work.
The voice acting is excellent and adds a layer to the characters that will have you riding along with their emotions as the scenarios play out. Cole sounds authentically strong yet reasonably intelligent, a man with morals who is genuinely confused by what can transpire in his memories. Red seems to be a control freak, who will push Cole to the brink in search for the truth to the mystery of what actually happened. It is impossible not to feel connected to these characters as the story unravels and in a large part this is due to the voicing.
The music score is also terrific. During the memories it rolls along with both emotion and adrenaline, as the action builds so does the score, as Cole comes close to breaking the score slows and plays with empathy. In the asylum, the music score is heightened, it moves for chilling to chaotic, providing a lunacy that can test your will, quite simply put, Get Evens musical score may be one of the best created in a game.
Get Even is a psychological thriller that aims to test your emotions and in many ways, it succeeds. It is disappointing that the gun play and stealth feels lackluster due to the games very inconsistent ai, but Get Even delivers in every other way. Without giving too much away the story-line could be mistaken for an M. Night Shyamalan movie, there are twists and turns that will test your aptitude. It is a ride that is worth taking and will have you thinking about for some time after completion.