I really wanted to love Get Even. I really did. Coming into it, all that I knew was that I was ready for a psychological experience from the Polish team The Farm 51. I didn’t really want to spoil myself, so I just dove right in. Already I was getting Condemned vibes, which is a great thing, especially from a new IP. It’s hard exactly to talk about the story without ruining it, so I will try my best not to.
The story is possibly the biggest draw for Get Even, as it was most talked about on release. I do not have a problem with the story at all, in fact, I think it’s a very good story. It’s filled with intrigue, mystery, and second guessing. Whenever you have a story not only with an amnesiac, but also an unreliable narrator DUE to the fact he has amnesia, I believe it really draws the player in and feels somehow connected to the character, through virtue of being in the same shoes as him. You play as Cole Black, contract killer. On a mission to save a girl a bomb goes off, and then you’re in an asylum. However, all is not as it seems as the mysterious Red leads Black through the asylum to help him uncover his memories and find out how he is connected to the girl. The more you advance, the more you learn, and begin to piece together the true events leading up to it. The ending, I can only describe in the form of a clickbait article, “What Happens Next May Shock You”.
The only problem I have with the story is that at it seems to take itself too seriously, as if it is smarter than it is. While well-written, I don’t believe it’s breaking new grounds in terms of the actual story, but the storytelling aspect of it is very well done. Of course, that is what should be focused on, if you can’t write an exactly new story (which is rather difficult), then tell a story in a new way, which The Farm 51 have definitely done.
Now when we talk about gameplay, there are some shining positives in there. As I said before, it has a lot of vibes from the detective game Condemned, similar to that title, you will find yourself armed with a mobile phone in order to take down evidence, solve puzzles using thermal vision or UV lights, and map out your current building in order to make sure no one can get the drop on you. This aspect of the game, that takes part in the asylum, really astonished me when playing the game. It had everything right, the atmosphere, the underscoring, the not sure what was going to happen at the next turn, absolute everything. If the rest of the game was made in the same way as the very eerie asylum parts, we would have a fantastic game. It would be a very welcome fresh air in the horror/thriller department.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. In order to piece together the puzzle, Black needs to jump between memories and engage in action sequences in order to reach the next part of the memory. This is where I feel the game drastically falls down. When all of a sudden I go from the spooky asylum to the bright outdoors and take part in a rather uninspired stealth-action hybrid, it starts to lessen the amount of fun I’m having. The game suffers from shortcomings that really tell that the shooting and action aren’t the main focus of the game. It showcases the “one enemy notices you, immediately every other single person within 100m knows exactly where you are and begins shooting”, there were a lot of instances where I found myself being discovered through a wall or being shot at round a corner when I wasn’t past the edge.
The game also has a case of chastising you for shooting people, very much in the Telltale Studios style of “X will remember that”, and supposedly your game will change accordingly. I assume they were going for some sort of moral quandary upon the values of life and if it is right for Black to take so many lives, that would be engaging if you didn’t immediately tell me he was a contract killer in the start of the game. So when my memory fragments as a result of me using the very much touted Cornergun (A rather interesting mechanic that allows you to look and shoot around corners, as it says on the tin) to pop a cap, I feel very much like the game is finger-wagging at me and going, “Don’t you feel bad for doing that?”. I would have maybe looked by the story aspects and not shot at people, if the game wasn’t so flip-floppy on the subject itself, as I received a trophy for clearing out a hideout in 30 seconds. In another case, Red told me “Good. You stealthily took them out.” I begin to question myself on what the game actually wants me to do with regards to killing. When I ended up killing in a cemetery, it created a very unique spin on it as all of a sudden the game started blasting out pop music as I wantonly murdered the security. If the game had more instances of that, I believe it would have worked in its favour.
Graphically, the game isn’t stunning, but it does very well with what it has. It doesn’t need amazing visuals in order to tell its story, which rather adds to the charm of it. It takes a very stylised approach to showing the characters, instead of cutscenes, and using still images really helps add to the fragmented memory side of it. The moments when you’re walking through broken memories using the Pandora (The VR headset strapped to Black’s head) the game really shows what it can do with regards to making the player feel uneasy. From the grubby asylum to the sleek indoors of the corporation heist, The Farm 51 really shows what it can do, with backdrops suddenly changing on a dime.
If I can say one thing that stands out about the game, it’s definitely the voice acting. The performances given by the actors is absolutely superb, the emotion, conviction and drive of the different characters really made me connect to the story and feel the anguish of the characters, and definitely brought life to their creation. Without the astounding acting, I believe the game would have suffered a lot more as a result, so you really have to hand it to them. I would recommend the game simply on performances alone.
Now, I said I wouldn’t spoil anything, so I won’t, but it wouldn’t be fair for me to miss out another integral part of the game. I won’t refer to the story, I’ll simply refer to the mechanics used and how well implemented they are. The second “part” of the game puts you in the shoes of another character who can have more control of the Pandora, and this allows you to use a warp mechanic to zip around the playing field and even it up a little, as well as use sonar to detect enemies, and being able to assimilate them to arm yourself. Then after each sequence, you’d have a little walking/running simulator moment. While a breath of fresh air, it felt very jilted when comparing it to the main aspects of the game. I wanted to mention it as it wouldn’t be fair to talk about the game and miss a sizable chunk of it, would it?
Overall, considering the game as a whole, I would recommend Get Even to someone else as a game. Not because I think it is a great game, but it is definitely an experience of a game. I would of course recommend you play it on the ‘Traumatising’ difficulty over the ‘Gentle’ one, as it can be a good challenge at points if you want to attempt an all guns blazing sequence. There’s a fantastic game in here, it’s just hard for it to truly glimmer and sparkle underneath the action sequences. A solid game, but not exactly a great one.