Note: Amid Evil VR added a teleport function in the settings menu shortly after I finished playing. However, it can be very temperamental and normal locomotion is still required, so no changes have been made to the original review below.
Recently I’ve discovered that I really enjoy a certain type of first person shooter. Not the Call of Duty types, but rather fast paced games like Ultrakill, High on LIfe, Titanfall 2, Doom, and Quake. It’s the non-stop action mixed with platforming or puzzle solving that really grabs my attention, and grab my attention Amid Evil did.
In Amid Evil, you play as… some guy with an ax. There’s a whole story I’m sure (his name is actually the Champion), the game even has a codex, but that’s not what you’re here for. You’re here to wield cool weapons against hordes of demons, and that’s exactly what you get. Amid Evil essentially plays like if the protagonist of Quake multiclassed into Barbarian and Wizard. Your melee weapon is a big ax that’s fun to swing around in VR, but most other weapons are magical and use different colors of mana as ammo. To name a few, a homing staff and lightning shooting trident both use blue magic, the beam shooting scimitar and shotgun mace both use green, and the grenade launcher-like celestial claw uses red magic to fire planets, and the special Aeturnum is the only weapon to use the rare purple magic to fire a black hole. It’s an incredibly cool arsenal that’s easy enough to understand thanks to genre contemporaries, but each has a neat little twist or aesthetic difference that makes it stand out.
Using them on the flat screen is simple enough, but there’s a bit of a difference in VR. Playing on the Quest 2, for example, firing the sword’s beam requires you to slash in the direction you want rather than just pressing a button. Projectiles do seem to have a bit more auto-aim or homing than the PC version, and they just feel good to use. You’re obviously not supposed to use the ax on everything when you have much more powerful ranged attacks, but it’s fun to hit things. As a bonus, though, some weapons can reflect certain enemy shots, like the ax and sword. I couldn’t get this to trigger as reliably as I would like, but it’s a very satisfying move to perform; it reminds me of the best of the Wii’s motion focused lineup.
As you may know, I get VR sickness very easily, and Amid Evil is a bit of a mixed bag on that front. On one hand, the retro style visuals do help to mitigate motion sickness somewhat; I can play a bit longer than a game like Resident Evil 4. On the other hand, the comfort options are really lacking; you’ve got a vignette option and snap turning, but all other locomotion is standard with no teleportation option. Levels are somewhat maze-like here, with keys you need to grab and switches to press, which can leave you exploring for a while. This led to me taking a break in the middle of a level in addition to between, which of course caused me to forget where I was going. Just like RE4, I’m not sure a teleport option would really work here. Combat is fast paced and you really need to always be on the move to dodge attacks. Maybe time slowing down while you picked where to go? All I know is the current comfort options don’t help me much.
Another major issue I have with the game is actually the font. It looks nice and chunky, but is very hard to read. I actually spent several hours in the tutorial because I couldn’t figure out how to “use my hand to activate Soul Mode.” Turns out, it actually said raise your hand, which is another very satisfying action to perform. Additionally, in levels you’ll find text written on the walls in a fictional language, and getting close will translate it in big letters above you. The problem here being you have to get so close that you then cannot read the text that appears. Oh and those switches I mentioned earlier? To actually push them you need to move yourself inside them, which makes me nauseous every time. It’s clear a lot of thought was put into the controls and making them feel good, but not enough into making the game into a comfortable VR experience.
As such, I think the VR version better serves as a compliment to the PC version. There I can get the gist of a level’s layout, then hop into VR to experience it in a whole new way. I definitely enjoy the VR version, but without a decent suite of comfort options I gravitate towards the PC version way more. The game is verified on Steam Deck too, making it easier to aim with gyro than aiming with my face. This version is worth keeping an eye on because of the fantastic motion controls, I just hope it becomes easier to actually play in the future.
Amid Evil VR
Amid Evil is a great throwback to old-school shooters like Quake, and this VR version features some incredibly satisfying combat with immersive controls. However, it is sorely lacking in comfort options which makes it hard to get through even a single level in one session. This works best as a compliment to a flat version.
- Fantastic motion controls
- Great visual style
- Satisfying combat
- Hard to read font
- Will make you very sick
- Some things like reflecting projectiles don’t work 100% of the time