I have a question for you, readers? What would you do if you woke up with no memory? Well, you can now find out because that’s what we’re dealing with in Get Even.
After ex-mercenary Cole Black is caught in an explosion whilst trying to save a young girl, he wakes up in an abandoned insane asylum with no memories and a curious device on his head. He doesn’t know how he got there, what the device is or why he was trying to save the girl. The only thing he does know is that he needs answers. Cue a mysterious figure named Red who claims the device is a virtual reality helmet capable of reenacting Black’s memories. The only way to uncover the truth is to relive your past with the help of Red and this strange device. But the question is: Do you trust your own memories?
Who am I?
Amnesia isn’t exactly a new concept in games. We use it almost as much as a soap opera at this stage. Whenever the plot has to be driven forward, oops! Bang on the head, good luck remembering your mother’s birthday! However, Get Even takes a slightly different approach to regaining your memories and uncovering your dark path. Think of it a little like Assassin’s Creed without the ancestors. You’re not just watching these memories happen, you’re living them.
As you move on in the game, memories become more distorted and you start to question what is real. The lines start to blur between your memories and that of someone else and you start to wonder if this is your life at all. Perhaps it’s just something your mind conjured up to protect you from the truth. Albeit, this isn’t the only thing your brain is throwing at you. Later in the game, there will be more enemies as your memories try to hold you back from the answers you’re seeking. You can also start to manipulate levels by sort of ‘remembering it differently’. Cover can be pulled out of thin air, new items can be spawned in certain locations.
This can be achieved by using Black’s phone to scan the area. You see, a lot of this game actually relies on playing detective. You are trying to piece together your memories after all. By using Black’s phone as a scanner, infrared and black light you can examine each area for evidence. Finding all of the evidence in a level will unlock extra weapons and secrets, giving players all the more reason to replay memories and try to get the best outcomes.
While I will say that I really like the idea of using detective work to help your amnesia, I feel like this could have been utilised better. The game avoids being repetitive with puzzles but that’s because it very rarely uses them. For example, there is one area where you have to use infrared to follow electrical wires to a fusebox. This is a nice mechanic, but I think I only saw it used about 2-3 times. A lot of the time there just isn’t much to see in infrared except tracking enemies. The same can be said for the black light which is used maybe twice.
The scanner gets a lot more work to do. But even then you’re mostly just wandering around until 3 lights come up on your phone telling you to snap a picture. All in all it feels like looking at a full toolbox when all you need is a hammer.
Combat Around Corners
Now, as far as the gun parts of this first person shooter goes, Get Even actually has a pretty interesting approach. One of the first missions you play through gives you a weapon called a CornerGun. Basically, it’s exactly what it says. It’s a gun that can shoot around corners. It comes in terribly handy for little wussbags like me who don’t like leaving cover. Honestly, I found the CornerGun so useful for getting around levels that I wondered why they bothered to put any other weapons in the game. That said, it does have its issues.
Aiming around the corner feels fine once you’re lined up. However, there are times when you’re not quite in position and you have to figure out what way your character is facing in regards to the corner view and it just feels awkward. Plus, coming out of the corner gun can sometimes feel disorienting.
Now, I hear you thinking that “Hey, that CornerGun seems cool! When do I get to shoot that?” and the answer is NEVER! The game actually tries to discourage you from ever shooting up the place. Something about memories being distorted by bullets. So you spend most of the game trying to use stealth. Honestly, I prefer stealth games to shooters, so this works fine for me. Or at least it would if the map was more bloody clear about enemy sight lines. I know the enemies aren’t blind, but if I’m not in that cone, they better not see me. It leaves you with a lot of “Oh crap” moments that seemingly come from nowhere.
Now, for all the flaws I’ve listed, I have to say that I really like this game. The main reason being the atmosphere. When you’re not exploring old memories, you have to navigate the abandoned insane asylum you woke up in. Trust me when I say this place is creepy. Every inmate wants to kill you for the glory of some strange entity called ‘The Puppetmaster’. You can hear them laughing, see paintings made with blood, read notes they’ve scribbled. It all adds up to a really tense, creepy experience that I really enjoyed.
Even within the memories there’s still plenty to be enjoyed. You’ll hear the conversations of the enemies, see sections distorting and of course hear Red’s voice in your ear..They use voice effects to make you wonder whether Red is a man or Woman and this really contributes both to the mystery and wondering if anything is real. I have to admit the voice acting on Red and Black really sold me on this. Between the cold, analytical behaviour of Red and the “I am getting so fed up” tones from Black it helps to immerse the player into the situation.
While I was studying up on this game before playing, I saw one comment saying “This game is like playing through an episode of Black Mirror.” Honestly, I can’t think of a more apt description. Throughout the game, you have no idea what’s going on. You don’t know who to trust, who’s the bad guy or what is real and what’s simulated. Every single twist leaves you hungry to find out more of the story. I could very easily see it being plucked straight from the head of Charlie Brooker, which is honestly a huge compliment in my opinion.
While the mechanics do seem like a mish mash of concepts, Get Even is pretty solid. It’s got great atmosphere, an intriguing, compelling story and while the mechanics might be on top of each other, they aren’t frustrating. They don’t step on each others territory or leave the player punching the screen. They just weren’t used to their full potential in my opinion. Would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a story rich game to sit down with for a couple of hours.