Get Even

Con­fu­sion reigns in The Farm 51’s smart first­per­son hor­ror thriller


PC, PS4, Xbox One

Get Even first broke cover back in 2014, its cryp­tic launch trailer blend­ing live-ac­tion footage of a mil­i­tary squad in a di­lap­i­dated, near-pho­to­re­al­is­tic ver­sion of the same en­vi­ron­ment. The words “What is real?” flashed up at the end of the trailer, and then the game went back into hid­ing. Reemerg­ing at this Au­gust’s Gamescom, Pol­ish de­vel­oper The Farm 51’s enig­matic first­per­son hor­ror is now in playable form and threat­en­ing to be for­mi­da­ble.

Don’t let the genre or hack­neyed aban­doned-asy­lum set­ting fool you: Get

Even’s tone is closer to Ben Wheat­ley’s crush­ingly dark 2011 film Kill List than it is to Out­last or FEAR. The game casts play­ers as Cole Black, a man who awak­ens in the di­lap­i­dated asy­lum with no mem­o­ries other than that of an at­tempted hostage res­cue he was once in­volved in. We’re in­formed, through a video link, that we’re here for “treat­ment” and tasked with a se­ries of macabre, flash­back-trig­ger­ing tests.

The crum­bling plas­ter walls are cov­ered in graf­fiti, and the floors strewn in rub­ble and de­tri­tus. Light streams in through the win­dows and throws a dusty haze across the space. Our screen is a lit­tle dark in the overly bright Gamescom busi­ness-area booth, so it’s a lit­tle dif­fi­cult to as­sess how the vi­su­als in this build of the game com­pare to that early trailer and sub­se­quent tech demo. This build isn’t quite as punchy vis­ually, but on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions the way the light catches the 3D scanned en­vi­ron­ments is enough to make us stop and stare for a mo­ment. Ex­ter­nal en­vi­ron­ments don’t fare quite so well, nor char­ac­ter mod­els, so clearly there is some way to go if The Farm 51 is to reach the high qual­ity bar sug­gested by Get

Even’s re­veal trailer. De­spite Black’s ap­par­ent mil­i­tary past, much of our time is spent wan­der­ing around with an app-filled phone as we in­ves­ti­gate the en­vi­ron­ment for clues. Green lights next to the screen il­lu­mi­nate as you close in on ev­i­dence, and a green AR box de­notes when you’re in the right po­si­tion to scan it for in­tel on the sit­u­a­tion. A UV torch, mean­while, high­lights blood stains and hand­prints,

while an in­frared cam­era al­lows us to trace the path of a dam­aged elec­tri­cal sys­tem back to its faulty ori­gin. Pic­tures you take us­ing the phone can be flicked through at any time, and a handy map func­tion shows the where­abouts of en­e­mies. Switch­ing be­tween the dif­fer­ent apps lends the game a sub­stan­tial puz­zle el­e­ment that makes your time in the mostly empty cor­ri­dors and rooms feel more in­volved.

When we do pick up a gun, it feels in­con­gru­ous amid the tense, but un­hur­ried, ex­plo­ration game the open­ing min­utes sug­gest. In one of the demo’s dis­ori­ent­ing segues, we find our­selves wan­der­ing through long grass out­side of a build­ing, armed with a si­lenced pis­tol. A guard pa­trols nearby, whistling. He en­ters a tun­nel and we fol­low, crouched and tak­ing aim, be­fore drop­ping him with a sin­gle bul­let to the head. It turns out that killing him is un­nec­es­sary as the path ahead is locked – the door we wanted was ac­tu­ally be­hind us and we could eas­ily have sneaked past. In an­other in­stance of ques­tion­able moral­ity, we use an ad­vanced mil­i­tary ri­fle to take aim around a cor­ner and shoot a hostage-taker talk­ing on his phone. As we ap­proach the body and the dropped phone we hear a fe­male caller sug­gest­ing that he take the kids for a burger this week­end, be­fore re­peat­edly ask­ing if he’s still there.

The gun­play it­self feels solid, and a scene in which every­thing slows to a crawl as you burst into a room and open fire on two tar­gets is spec­tac­u­lar. Thanks to the paucity of en­e­mies and The Farm 51’s de­lib­er­ately provoca­tive guilt trips, each kill feels con­se­quen­tial and pulling the trig­ger be­comes a weighty de­ci­sion.

The com­bat and ex­plo­ration com­po­nents of the game are bound to­gether with some ex­cep­tional au­dio work, the game’s con­vinc­ing script brought to life by a tal­ented cast of voice ac­tors. Black’s goal in all of this is to mine his mem­o­ries in or­der to un­der­stand who the girl was, why he was there, and why he is now be­ing tor­mented un­der the guise of treat­ment, which makes his frus­tra­tion and panic un­der­stand­able. But it’s the ab­stract mu­sic that re­ally stands out in this demo, a thump­ing in­dus­trial pulse that builds and en­velops as you close in on key events.

If The Farm 51 can build on the smart pac­ing and tight struc­ture of this first show­ing, Get Even has a shot at shak­ing up a genre whose beats and scare tac­tics are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly fa­mil­iar.

We’re in­formed, through a video link, that we’re here for “treat­ment”

The iden­tity of this girl – and why you, as Cole Black, be­came in­volved in her res­cue at­tempt – are the cen­tral mys­ter­ies that must be un­rav­elled

You can’t use your phone and weapon at the same time, so you swap be­tween them when you want to check en­emy po­si­tions. In this sec­tion, we panic when our phone picks up an en­emy on the floor above

Your phone’s UV app is not only use­ful for find­ing DNA traces in en­vi­ron­ments – and, as a re­sult, lead­ing you to se­cret pas­sages – but also serves as a gen­eral torch in the game’s dark­est cor­ners

TOP LEFT The grubby asy­lum’s aban­doned rooms con­tain ev­i­dence of past and present in­mates, as well as the peo­ple who van­dalised it in the in­ter­ven­ing years.

ABOVE In our demo we use the in­frared app to trace an elec­tri­cal sys­tem through the walls and back to a blown fuse, but there will be other puz­zles that make use of it

Your anony­mous tor­men­tor uses screens around the asy­lum to ex­plain what is ex­pected of you, but you also re­ceive taunt­ing texts dur­ing flash­back sec­tions

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