By Bandai Namco’s own admission, Get Even is a difficult game to pin down. In fact, they’ve pretty much made that the USP for this high-concept, first-person trip down the proverbial rabbit hole. You are Cole Black, a sleuth with a Sean Bean drawl (it isn’t him though) who finds himself poking about inside one of those abandoned, over-grown old asylums you’d never go near unless you were, well a bloke in a video game like this. So why are you there? Why are there armed guards patrolling about? What’s with the girl tied to a chair who disappears before your eyes? And is it worth eight hours of your time and £29 quid finding out?
It’s worth knowing going into Get Even that the plot has been woven by the same writing team responsible for several of Derren Brown’s fiendishly twisty audience-participation TV magic specials. You know, the ones where they make people think they’ve just blown up the planet or personally cancelled Christmas for everyone. In other words: nothing is what it seems, so prepare to be well and truly hoodwinked. The story sets up a lot of familiar tropes - memory machines, corporate overlords and disembodied voices are all present and correct. But as you delve further into the game, you realise these are merely a baseline for something much more interesting, involving and even (sniff) emotional.
Plenty of effort has been put into creating detailed documents that the player can read if they want to learn more about the game's world. Some of these are necessary to understand the plot, so it is advised to give as many as possible a look. The combat can be satisfying and fun and at other times somewhat clunky and frustrating. However, the game goes out of its way to encourage you to avoid guns-blazing confrontation and instead use stealth and peaceful solutions in place of killing. Stealth mechanics – should you choose to use them - can be a problem as they are barely explained and will lead into early blunders. Even when mastered, we found ourselves spotted by guards through bushes and from miles away but we did enjoy (yes!) the corner-gun.
Puzzles are varied, and quite enjoyable - always ending with a satisfying ‘eureka!’ moment. Although developed in Poland by The Farm 51, it has a very British feel thanks to some excellent homegrown voice work. Sound design is excellent, with a very effective music score perfectly complimenting the atmosphere of the zones and emphasising moments of terror or action. This is one to play with a decent pair of headphones. At first the asylum appears to be a bit of cliché, solely functioning as a hub for you to access other zones. However, as the game builds it becomes crucial to the plot and is the setting for easily the best sequence, which uses a combination of setting, atmosphere and music to deliver a truly harrowing phase of terror.
Commendably over-ambitious for its modest budget, Get Even is a mid-priced gem full of cool ideas, enigmatic conundrums and clever twists on the first-person formula.
GET EVEN / DEVELOPER: THE FARM 51 / PUBLISHER: BANDAI NAMCO / PLATFORM PC, PS4, XBOX ONE / RELASE DATE: OUT NOW