Once you get a glimpse of Get Even, it’s very hard to tear your eyes away. It’s not because it’s a virtual reality title – the game was going to include such a mode but it was put on the back burner. Rather it’s because of its realistic looks and a disorientating narrative that managed to absorb us like few other games this year.
Get Even is a showcase of the amazing capabilities of the current generation of consoles as well as a true testament to the work of the developer, Farm51. The use of snazzy 3D scanning technology has seen many real-life objects digitised to build a land of make-believe and it has lent the game’s dank asylum a lovely level of detail that you can’t help but admire. The environment is moodily lit and it lends the right atmosphere for what is a superbly tense horror-themed shooter. The game quickly proves to be a psychological, moralistic tale that will most certainly get you thinking.
Playing Cole Black, whose mind you are able to read thanks to a device fitted to his head, your task is to figure out why you are in this inexplicable situation. Black can recall that there was a teenage girl with a bomb strapped to her chest (a detail which caused the game to be understandably delayed following the Manchester Arena bombing). To make matters worse, he can also remember that he was unable to save her, a dark twist that sets the scene.
Now, the developer could have trodden the same path as that of umpteen FPSes and had you shooting merrily away at anything that moves while throwing in a bit of a story to make it feel your time was worthwhile. Instead you’re going to find yourself exploring and trying to unnervingly work out what happened in Black’s past to a far, far greater degree.
By avoiding that trigger happy approach, this movie-like game is made more compelling. The way it gets into your head and plays as much with your mind as it does with Black’s captured our imagination and we didn’t miss the relative lack of action as a result.
Instead, we were listening out for what the characters had to say in order to pick up clues and we were trying to get to the bottom of the numerous questions we were asking ourselves. We particularly liked the way the game involves the use of an in-game mobile phone which feels natural given we use such devices ourselves in the real world to answer questions and learn new details. It’s a particularly smart smartphone with lots of useful gadgets that help you explore including a thermal scanner, a UV light that lets you follow blood trails and a much-needed map.
You can also use the device to shoot around corners since it is a fundamental component of the corner gun weapon but you’re encouraged to think about when, and more importantly if, you should shoot. This is a nice touch because you don’t always realise you’re making a decision until it’s made, the consequences only becoming apparent later in a lot of cases. This feels clever and fun, keeping you on your toes. Throw in the splendour of a stirring, orchestral score that puts you on edge and it is a cult game in the making.