Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: June 21, 2017
Get Even is a psychological thriller first-person shooter game available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Get Even developer The Farm 51 was founded in 2005, initially providing outsourced assistant development work for third-party developers fellow Polish developers such as CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher in 2007 and Reality Pump’s Two Worlds II in 2010. The Farm 51 are most known for their games within the first-person shooter genre including NecroVision and NecroVision: Lost Company on PC which released in 2009 and 2010 respectively in addition to Painkiller: Hell & Damnation on PC in 2012 and home consoles in June 2013, while futuristic multiplayer war game World War 3 is set to launch in 2018, alongside sister developer Reality 51 that develops a range of historical and scientific virtual reality games. Get Even has been a long time in development as it was initially announced in 2014, but can it live up to the anticipation of its fresh concept?
Get Even is a story conceptualised by Haris Orkin and Przemyslaw Pomorski, alongside being written by Iain Sharkey and Stephen Long who are particularly known for their work in live situations contrasting atmosphere and misdirection in Derren Brown’s magic shows. The story revolves around lead character Cole Black who mysteriously wakes up in an asylum with only recollection of a single traumatizing memory; resulting in him having to deeply explore his own mind in order to remember who he is and what is happening to his life. There are choices that you make which may appear to be unimportant at that very moment, but will certainly impact upon the story and dialogue within later scenes in a much unanticipated way. A series of newspaper articles and cassette tapes provide some backstory to the locations you find yourself within, while there are also blueprints and strange messages which can be later viewed as a collage in the dark room.
The lead character Cole Black’s most important gadget is a memory visualisation unit that is rather obscurely strapped to his head; allowing him to explore, interact and uncover memories by essentially being placed into them or focusing on a photograph. Cole also consistently utilises a smart phone equipped with a variety of apps including a vision app that outlines body heat and is even useful in a scenario when the electricity fails and you need to follow the wiring back round to the break box; a UV light that acts as much more than a torch for darkly lit areas as it also highlights blood stains, another person’s footsteps and chemical substances; a scanner allows specific objects to be removed from blocking your path and for some objects to be created to provide cover during shootouts with enemies or alternatively to receive knowledge about the current memory; a map app provides maps for your surrounding areas including real-time updates of nearby movement on the same floor you are located in addition to the floors directly above or below you; a memoir app stores notes about uncovered memories; and an inbox stores text messages.
Cole’s weaponry varies as he starts out with a silenced pistol for a stealthy approach and a machine gun for a louder, all guns blazing method. However, shortly afterwards he encounters experimental weaponry such as the cornergun prototype that can bend round walls to overcome enemies without them ever knowing of your presence in the area. Cole can sneak up behind an enemy to perform a silent takedown which appropriately compliments the silenced pistol, especially if the player prefers stealth over shootouts with enemies, although there is no hand-to-hand combat via using his fists or the butt of his weapon; which feels like a contradiction given Cole Black’s set of skills.
Character design is fitting for the premise as Cole Black and the numerous mysterious characters he encounters along the way have differing personalities, emotions and approaches to scenarios they are presented with that essentially guide various major elements of the story, while engaging the player emotionally such as a woman discussing plans for a wedding.
The environment design is predominantly focused upon an atmospheric and rather scary abandoned asylum, although there is some variety in environments as Cole also discovers a technology complex and outdoor areas. The technology complex offers especially intriguing environments to angle the cornergun around to avoid being fired upon from a group of enemies by finding the relevant cover for Cole not to be seen.
Get Even’s remote play performance is pretty good as it retains the quality of graphics, audio and general performance from the PS4 version; even somehow managing to preserve the atmosphere on a considerably smaller screen. However, the controls remain unoptimised with exception of the touch pad being re-mapped to the touch screen as firing weaponry and aiming is mapped to the right and left of the rear touch pad respectively which would have felt significantly more natural and comfortable to control if it had been mapped to R and L respectively. The identical problem recurs during sprinting as it is mapped to the bottom left of the rear touch pad when it would have been better mapped elsewhere such as holding down on the d-pad. Despite taking some time to become acquainted with the rear touch pad controls; Get Even’s remote play experience can be rewarding with some persistence.
The controls are appropriately mapped to the DualShock 4 controller with the control scheme consisting of pressing R2 to fire weaponry or scan; holding L2 to aim; pressing R1 or L1 to lean right of left respectively when bending the cornergun; holding R1 or L1 to enter the phone menu; pressing square to interact with objects or reload weapons; pressing triangle to switch weapons or holding triangle to use the phone; pressing X to quick scan; pressing O to crouch; pressing up or down on the d-pad to interact with an app such as zooming in or out or selecting a different memoir; pressing left or right on the d-pad to scroll through to the previous or next app respectively; pressing L3 to sprint; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to look around your surroundings; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu. Tapping the touch pad hides a weapon or phone, while vibration occurs when finding a hot spot to use the scanner app in order to add or remove an object or obtain information about specific elements of the respective memory. There is no utilisation of the light bar which is surprising as it could have been implemented as an alternative heads-up display to show Cole’s health status during combat in addition to producing colours specific to smart phone apps and when travelling to a memory through a picture.
Graphically, Get Even is incredible due to subtle touches and techniques such as special effects depicting enemies being removed from a memory after having killed an enemy, while Cole’s smart phone apps also have a big part to play with a heat sensor camera, UV lighting and scanning environments to add or remove objects. Get Even is powered by a heavily modified Unreal Engine 3 to fully realise the graphical details envisioned from state of the art 3D scanning technology utilised for character models and environments, while PS4 Pro enhancements include 4K resolution.
The presentation of the game is simplistic with a small quantity of menus, but that does not detract from a great user interface throughout the main menu, options menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch pad. The background of every menu shows a camera pivoting around a crime scene within an enclosed environment; accompanied by dramatic classical music.
Olivier Deriviere best known for his compositions in Alone in the Dark, Remember Me and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – Freedom Cry has composed an original soundtrack album performed with the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra comprising of 19 songs lasting an hour worth of emotional orchestral music which as well as being contained within the game is also available for purchase from iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/get-even-original-soundtrack/id1238451700.
Get Even rather surprisingly has two sets of casts comprising of a full acting cast to perform the motion capture for characters and a voice-over cast providing further emotional depth to each character, while there are some characters that add to the tension especially within the confines of the asylum; for instance with ramblings from someone being overly excited to attend a party. Voice-overs are performed by Edward Dogliani as Cole Black, Jo Stone Fewing as Robert Ramsey, Gemma Lawrence as Grace Ramsey, Summer Smith as little Grace, Clare Wille as Lenore Ramsey, Katherine Kingsley as Rose Atkins, Jonathan Forbes as Jasper and Jonny Glynn as Howard, while the motion capture cast includes Lukasz Showron as Cole Black, Lukasz Schmidt as Robert Ramsey, Dagmara Ziaja as Lenore Ramsey, Maria Kania as Grace Ramsey, Dominika Kardas as Rose Atkins and many more talented actors and actresses.
Sound effects are engineered to breathe as much atmosphere as possible into your surroundings with sudden noises, while Cole Black breathes heavily during running or shootouts with enemies. Further sound effects include firing weaponry at enemies, enemies firing back, stealthily taking an enemy down, adjusting the cornergun, reloading weaponry, using smart phone apps, walking, running and more besides. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation which is rather surprising given the quantity of atmospheric sound effects, heavy breathing from the lead character or voice-overs that it could have produced.
The trophy list includes 41 trophies with 28 bronze trophies, 8 silver trophies, 4 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. There are no real easier trophies as they are all based upon completing story related objectives and how you approach the game such as the Clean Job silver trophy for breaking into the building where Jasper is held without raising alarm by taking a stealthy approach. Harder trophies include collecting every bit of evidence for each part of the investigation which requires the player to be genuinely eagle eyed in order to find all materials such as the newspaper articles and cassette tapes. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 15 to 25 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are two difficulty levels including gentle and traumatizing with the major difference being harder combat gameplay during the traumatizing difficulty level. There is also a corresponding difficulty curve complimenting the difficulty levels including some puzzles that will have to be overcome such as finding pass codes for doors that are not as easy as they may look at first due to numbers repeating when you can only enter a number once; therefore requiring mathematics to find the numbers needed before figuring out the correct sequence to open a door in the asylum. Another scenario within the technology complex requires the player to find four pictures contained inside offices that each include a number featured in the pass code.
There is no local or online multiplayer and no online leaderboard functionality. A premise as unique as that of Get Even could have featured an engaging local split-screen and online multiplayer component in which one player is trying to solve a case through uncovering a set of memories, while the second player has the objective of stopping the other player from learning the truth in their investigation by re-imagining memories to distort the findings of his opponent. Online leaderboard functionality could have provided an online leaderboard for every uncovered memory and the entire story with positions defined by the fastest times to complete each respective memory and every memory throughout the story.
Get Even’s replayability originates from two difficulty levels and puzzles, shaping the story as there are consequences to every action a player makes, various collectables such as newspapers and cassette tapes that provide a full backstory and the freedom for players to take a stealthy or loud approach during combat against enemies.
• Title: Get Even
• Developer: The Farm 51
• Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
• System: PS4
• Format: Retail/PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: No
• Cross-Play: No
• Players: 1
• Hard Drive Space Required: 30.88GB