Get Even is an atmospheric psychological thriller game developed by Farm 51, who are usually accustomed to first person shooter titles.
It’s a game that comes completely out of left field, and by nature, is incredibly hard to explain. The ‘What is Real?’ marketing campaign is no joke. It’s not really like anything you will have played before.
To give some anecdotal frame of reference, Get Even is a lot like an episode of Charlie Brooker’s famous series, Black Mirror. If you haven’t seen it, it’s essentially a TV show creating warped spyglasses into numerous distant dystopian realities. Truly, its quality contemporary sci-fi that is out to mess with your head.
Get Even similarly gets under your skin. It dabbles with the implications of futuristic technology and is driven by a deeply complex and nuanced narrative. The game will make you scratch your head on numerous occasions, but I must say no more about the story.
It would be a total discredit to the terrific tale of this game for me to talk about it in any further detail, as this would involve heavy spoilers that I wouldn’t want to inflict upon you before you get to grips with this title. What I can say is that you play as a man called Black who must save a girl. It’s brilliant, I’m still thinking about it, and you can see why when you consider the talent behind writing it.
It dabbles with the implications of futuristic technology and is driven by a deeply complex and nuanced narrative.
The script was worked on by Iain Sharkey and Stephen Long, who previously cut their teeth on Derren Brown’s tv shows. Brown is a famous British illusionist specialising in mind-blowing feats and audience misdirection, and this is something that plays heavily into Get Even. Usually, his shows involve you sitting in front of the TV with your brain overheating, trying to figure out just what is going on. This retention of detail from the writers runs thick through Get Even and will start its own obsessive red string detective board within your mind.
Unlike other narrative heavy titles where you have Choice A or B and its clear cut, Get Even will have you making choices that you aren’t even conscious of. At some points during this mind-bending story, I was starting to question which parts of the game were real, whether I was misremembering a memory of playing it. Had I seen this before? I had deja vu numerous times, and once you let the hooks sink in you will get lost in its miasmic mind-boggling plot and experience something quite remarkable…
Get Even also has incredible Audio design. Compliments go to the composer, Black Flag’s Olivier Deriviere, who has been let loose on each of the varied environments to create a tension building score involving room tones and using assets to emit sound like lamps, steam pipes and more. The violin-heavy soundtrack is a delight to listen to, and one of the more symphonic tracks ‘The Party’ creates the circumstance for an unforgettably atmospheric level only improved by the creepy level design.
Although the gameplay is mainly focused on detective work, there is an element of gunplay, but it feels like an afterthought. It’s pretty clunky, but not enough that it gets in the way of the core of the game. Just feels a bit half-baked. This makes the combat-heavy sections (though few) quite frustrating when you get put down by about 3 shots from the flocking, relentless A.I
Compliments go to the composer, Black Flag’s Olivier Deriviere, who has been let loose on each of the varied environments to create a tension building score involving room tones and using assets to emit tones like lamps, steam pipes and more.
I also experienced a few geometry bugs that should have been caught. I stumbled into rocks and parts of the environment near the centre of some levels only to find myself stuck in them and having to reload the level. In a narrative focused game, this isn’t exactly ideal for pacing and flow!
The only other point I felt didn’t quite work was a really tonally inconsistent section where, after about 5 hours of the excellent score, you end up shooting folks in a graveyard whilst an electro-pop ballad about losing phone signal is playing. It came out of nowhere, and I even checked my Spotify to see just in case. In regard to the rest of the game, this level didn’t really make much sense and was a big tone change.
The photogrammetry used on the environments and the excellent visual effects are a treat, the game opting for real-life imagery that somehow doesn’t look out of place in a virtual environment.
The few puzzles in the game are clever and hit that difficulty sweet spot where you’ll feel smart when you nab the solution, not patronised or frustrated.
There’s also a great variety in the gameplay and even a progression based unlock in every level containing a hidden memory if you can find every piece of evidence. Worth it if you’re trying to piece together the tale after a playthrough. The game does a great job of gamifying the way in which you piece together the story, and most importantly, it really messes with your head.
The photogrammetry used on the environments and the excellent visual effects are a treat
Not in a trite way either, everything I experienced didn’t feel like it was pulling from any tropes or something I’d seen be for. It feels like the game has been designed around a very clever story, and this shines through in the constantly changing gameplay which is a total, pardon my french, ‘mindfuck’.
Overall, Get Even is a great title that is pushing at the boundaries of a number of genres from action-adventure to horror and making waves for narrative interactive storytelling. On that basis alone it’s worth playing for those who enjoy a compelling narrative, or just something fresh and unique. It has a few scuffs that need polishing, but these minor setbacks can easily be overlooked in favour of this bold, passion-driven indie title that will put your brain on a helter skelter.
This copy of Get Even was provided by Bandai Namco for review purposes. Jordan Oloman spent 6 hours fighting his way through the dark recesses of his own mind