by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Uncover the Truth
You've just used a strange but handy weapon to take care of her abductors, and your heart beats as you tentatively walk towards the frightened woman bound to a chair in the middle of an empty room. You try and reassure her that you're there to help and then you spot it... a bomb strapped to her. But by then, it is too late. The bomb explodes and although you don’t die, you wake up disoriented and realise that something doesn't feel right.
Get Even is somewhat of a psychological thriller with a story that becomes clearer as you progress through the game. You take on the role of Cole Black, the man who has found himself within the walls of an asylum, not sure why he's there or even how he escaped the explosion. But as you progress through the game, Black will become somewhat of a detective, piecing together how he fits into the overall story arc and how he ended up in his predicament in the first place. Jumping between various memories and the present with the use of a device strapped to his head, Black must determine which of his memories are real, as the man known only as Red keeps pushing him through these virtual memories.
The story has shades of Assassin’s Creed and the Animus, as Red directs Black through the asylum and through the various memories. The memories are often related, and have Black questioning whether the memories are his or those of someone else. And with this sort of indecision going on, there are times when Black clearly doesn’t want to listen to Red’s directions. But with the control of the headband device firmly in Red’s hands, Black is forced to go along. Due to Red’s guidance, the game is rather linear, as he directs you where to go and what to do. There are often different ways of completing an objective, but each memory and sequence follows on in a particular order.
Not simply a FPS
Get Even has a first person shooter feel, but the combat is somewhat limited. The game places much more emphasis on exploration and discovery. Indeed, with limited ammunition, is it often better to sneak up on dangerous enemies and use a stealthy take-down technique rather than alert others to your presence. But when you do need to use the weapons, the combat function works well. Black will have a pistol with him for most of the time, but will often be equipped with an automatic weapon in some of the flashbacks. He also has access to a new weapon designed by a London weapons manufacturer. By attaching a device similar to a smartphone to the weapon, it can be converted into a specialized weapon that can shoot around corners and can target enemies via the use of heat sensors.
But the smartphone isn't just useful as an improvement to the weapons. It features a number of handy functions that help Black in his detective-like work. The Scanner is probably the most important, as it allows Black to find any anomalies within the memories, and scan for clues and fingerprints. The UV reader also aids in finding clues such as blood stains, whilst the Map helps guide Black through the labyrinths of the asylum and the locations of his memories.
I mentioned above that the game is somewhat of a psychological thriller, and this is underlined by a wonderful orchestral score that helps set that atmosphere. The score is generally quite dramatic and is superbly complemented by the sound effects. The beats as you work your way towards one of the game's many mini-climaxes grow stronger, giving a sense of dread as you near your intended destination. At many points, I felt my heart beating in time with the rhythm of the music. And the voice acting is also superb, with Red guiding the gamer through the story - and with a mixture of male and female voices in his garbled messages, there is constant mystery as to the identity of the character.
In keeping with the dramatic tone of the game, much of it is played out in dark locations. The asylum exudes a sense of despair as you carefully meander through its multitude of dark, blood splattered corridors. With its run-down look and the foreboding sound effects, there is always the sense that something is waiting around the next corner. And even when you migrate to the memory sequences, the darkness remains, offering little hope of a happy ending.
The flashback memories drive the story and I was drawn into the interconnecting memories like a mouse into a maze, forever looking for the exit but finding many bits of cheese along the journey to keep me satiated. I have played games with flashback sequences before and they have often felt disjointed, or a late addition to fatten up the game. But Get Even handles the flashback memories perfectly, making sure that they all increase the tension but also add extra details that enable the detective in me to piece together Black's back-story.
Get Even is one of the most atmospheric games I have played. The music and sound effects do a remarkable job in setting the tone and the story proceeds nicely as your detective skills and memories build the narrative. It is primarily built around exploration and discovery, but does it in a way that is wonderfully entertaining. The combat elements work well, and the sleuthing and stealth all combine to make the game a fulfilling experience, one that has you sitting on the edge of your seat until you reach the conclusion.
Wonderful music and sound effects combine well with the atmospheric story
Game is rather linear