Amid Evil, which initially released four years ago on PC, is coming to VR platforms later this month. Boasting a diverse arsenal of weapons and responsive movement, it’s a great homage to classic boomer shooters, like Heretic, Unreal Tournament, Quake and DOOM.
From its environments to its guns to its art style, Amid Evil screams classic shooter. Based on my initial impressions from a 15-minute demo at PAX East, those highlights translate into VR very well.
Despite being a hotbed for shooters of all varieties, VR platforms aren’t home to many boomer shooters. The genre has a large emphasis on fast movement, making it a difficult style of game to implement in VR because of potential motion sickness. Amid Evil offers some options to adjust turning which might help accommodate some, but your mileage will vary depending on your personal susceptibility. I played with smooth turning and full stick motion and had no issues running, jumping and gunning. With that in mind, I also rarely have any trouble with motion sickness in VR, so others’ experiences will likely yield different results.
Comfort discussion aside, Amid Evil excels at movement. While I didn’t have a ton of time to really get down to brass tacks with the game’s mechanics, I never felt restricted in my ability to dart around each arena presented to me, especially with the massive arsenal I had at my disposal.
The demo featured a few mini combat encounters and the game presented me with a new weapon before each. All maintaining the classic sprite-like 3D look, every weapon in Amid Evil’s arsenal felt satisfying and smooth to use against my enemies. That said, I felt a little overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of options to choose from. Part of what makes weapon-based progression feel so special in a game like DOOM is that you start out with only a pistol and your fists. As you progress, picking up a new gun feels great because you have time to play around with it and experience its full utility before mastering it.
This may have been a result of the demo’s short length, but at times I felt like I was being funneled into different weapons without getting a solid feel for each individual implement of violence. This raises two big concerns. First, starting out the game with all seven weapons can rob any individual one of a chance to shine, thus artificially watering down the feel and depth of fast-paced combat. Second, if every weapon is available from the beginning, progression could very easily become stale.
That said, even if these concerns come to fruition, what’s important is that each weapon feels right. Amid Evil’s seven unique weapons each do just that, all while providing functionally different options for different combat scenarios.
Based on my short time with the game, I’m excited to see where Amid Evil takes me when it launches for Quest 2 and PC VR later this month. None of my minor issues with the game trump the fact that it just feels incredible. With creative stand-ins for shotguns, rocket launchers and the like, snappy movement and badass demonic set-dressing, it looks set to be a hit.