Game Review: Get Even (Xbox One)

Get Even is a FPS survival thriller game developed by The Farm 51 and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, it released in 2017. You play as Cole Black who attempts to rescue a teenage girl with a bomb strapped to her chest. Black fails and awakens confused in an abandoned asylum, the explosion being his sole memory. Not only that but he discovers a strange device attached to his head. A mysterious figure named Red contacts Black and informs him that the headset is designed to read and replay human memory. Black travels into the depths of his own mind in the hopes of discovering his past.

Get Even combines elements of shooter, puzzle, and adventure games. At specific points Black will enter a memory regarding a specific event that Red wishes to reconstruct, which are the game’s levels. Each concludes with Black returning to the asylum and making his way further into it, until encountering the next memory.

Black is equipped with a smartphone that has five apps: a scanner that can analyse specific objects for evidence. A map with which Black can navigate environments and track enemies. A thermal vision for spotting heat signatures. A phone and messaging app through which various characters communicate with Black. A ultraviolet (UV) light for detecting trace evidence such as fingerprints and blood.

Throughout each level, there are various notes, photographs, and audio recordings that can be discovered and examined, which are then stored in a special evidence room that can be accessed at specific points during or between levels. Although the gathering of these notes is not required to complete the game, collecting 100% of a level’s evidence unlocks a code that can be used to open specific doors in each level.

Combat is similar to that of most first-person shooters, although it is discouraged, with the explanation that killing people threatens the stability of the memory and could cause it to break down completely. The player’s preference for either stealth or aggression also affects the ending they receive.

It’s been a while since I have felt as conflicted about a game as I do about Get Even. On one hand, it delivers a fantastic narrative. On the other, it’s a bit of a clunky mess technically. The story is immediately intriguing. Although, early on it can feel overly complex. However, I implore that you stick with it as things soon become clear. I felt compelled to continue and I’m very glad that I did. Be aware, there are 100s of collectibles that offer further insight into what’s going on. Thankfully, very few are hidden and all feel important. Just prepare yourself for a lot of reading and standing around listening to audio files.

For a non-AAA title, Get Even is highly ambitious. You visit a variety of environments which are all very linear. Visually, it looks fine but extremely rough around the edges. There are some puzzles along the way but they are painfully simplistic. There’s plenty of gunplay but it only showcases the weakest aspect of the game. Movements feel clunky, stiff and it’s just not much fun. There’s a real emphasis on stealth but it can be difficult as you can’t even jump or distract enemies. It’s competent but lacks the polish of similar titles.

Then there are these dreamlike levels that are really cool, they really reminded me of Layers of Fear. Talking of comparisons, Get Even feels fairly similar to Condemned. However, it never goes all the way in terms of horror.

Basically, the gameplay is alright but it’s the story where Get Even truly shines. It isn’t the most complicated of tales but it’s helped greatly by some excellent voice work. Also, the musical score is truly phenomenal. It ramps up tension and helps make twists and turns that much more impactful. I found it impressive that decisions and the ways in which you decide to approach certain scenarios do have consequences.

My opinion on Get Even changed for the better as time went on. The narrative is truly outstanding, it’s just a shame that it’s supported by serviceable gameplay. Depending on which ending you receive, it is hugely impactful. It answers important questions in satisfying ways, some that really hit me hard emotionally. The sincerity in the voice work during some moments is excellent, it’s a satisfying conclusion.

Overall, Get Even is a true hidden gem. Despite its early shortcomings and less than impressive gameplay, the story is tremendous. Clearly it’s made by some very talented individuals. It has a lot of interesting mechanics but none are showcased particularly well and end up feeling mediocre at best.

Get Even
  • The Final Score - 8/10
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