2017 has offered very little in the way of surprising games, ones that think outside the box and make enough noise to make them stand out above the big hitting titles releasing fairly regularly this year. Get Even is one of these surprises however, from Polish indie developer The Farm 51, it is a game that is courageous in what it tries to deliver and its attempt to take on the big AAA games whilst only priced at half of what a big title would cost. Only issue for me is, it does try to do so much and often fails along the way. But this is still something worth your attention.
By far the strongest element in Get Even is the story. It opens with the player discover they are the main character Cole Black who wakes to find he is in a very run down asylum of sorts, unable to remember very much at all. Cole then finds that he has some strange device on his head which is pretty much what would happen if an evil genius villain got hold of a PlayStation VR headset would MacGyver together. A mysterious man then tells Cole that he is undergoing experimental treatment and the device will enable him to relive past memories in order to find the truth to what is troubling him.
This leads to the opening mission, where Cole is attempting to find and rescues an unknown girl who has been kidnapped. This serves two functions, one as a tutorial to how the gameplay works in the game but also to lay the foundation for the story itself and it does a great job on both. Played in first person view mode, it has the feel initially as a FPS title with similar gunplay and movement but soon introduces a different mechanic in the use of a smart-phone straight out of a James Bond film, with apps that enable thermal vision, scanning and communications. A good part of the gameplay will make use of this phone, especially in puzzle solving and it’s a little different but can be frustrating but will come to that a bit later. Eventually this opening leaves the player with the big question of the story of how is this girl and why was she kidnapped with a bomb strapped to her.
Get Even is a strong psychological thriller with strong story telling and enough twists and turns to keep the player on their toes pretty much throughout. Red herrings are constantly placed along the way which will have you questioning decisions and information equally the further on you push through the game. The story itself really is the main focus of the experience, with gameplay used to drive it forward but I found it very frustrating at times. The game will teach you how to do something but the moment you then try to use it you will get told off or warned that it as a course of action is not advised. The need to constantly keep you guessing as the player both helps the storytelling but hinders the gameplay leading to moments of annoyance and frustration.
Visually the game does not quite live up to the big AAA games it is trying to compete with, though not entirely ugly is it still very noticeable but this is an indie game and the price point reflects this so it can be forgiven to a degree. Enemy AI however is relatively poor which makes gunplay lethargic at times. The twist on the standard FPS action comes in the form of the Cornershot rifle, a gun that allows the player to literally shoot around corners, maintaining a stealthy approach. The smart-phone is attached to the weapon and it replaces the pistol weapon option. Only downside to this weapon comes when using it outside of a corner shot, the design of it makes hip fire very difficult indeed with judging range a real hindrance at times in combat situations. Puzzles are very routine, with most solved by using the smart-phone which I found also annoying to constantly focus my view onto the bottom right hand corner of the screen when using the phone.
But these are little gripes to what really is a well put together story with true depth to it. The audio and musical score both compliment and enhance the storytelling and setting by helping to set the tone, with high quality voice-acting bringing the characters and story to life, albeit I spent the first couple of hours believing the main character Cole was in fact Sean Bean. Technical issues with some game crashing to PS4 dashboard and frame-rate drops were very noticeable which broke the experience at key moments. But again, for an indie title with a cheapish price point, Get Even is an ambitious attempt that does do enough to offer something a little different from rival big title releases, it might try to pack in far too much at times but the courage of the developers to offer so much in such a game should be acknowledged.
Not the best thriller game of 2017 so far, it is certainly deserving of attention and may surprise you with its twists and turns, something I have deliberately avoiding mentioning to avoid spoiling key moments or plot lines. Get Even is definitely a different game to play right now, especially after E3 gave us such a good look into the next 12 months, with the problems and issues it has, the price tag is a big forgiving factor for this game but it does have those issues which for me stop it from bring truly great but not enough to make it one to avoid.