Turtle Rock Studio’s really rolled the dice with their latest first-person shooter, multiplayer game. In a nutshell, a game that is four vs one just sounds like a horrible handicap match. At least, that’s what I thought. Four player-controlled hunters set off to find, trap, and kill a player controlled monster. As the monster, knowing that there are four players coming after you to bring you down can be stress inducing at first, but don’t fret, the developer’s did a great job with making the matches feel balanced and not at all one-sided.
Evolve can be a frustrating game at times, specially when you are in a lobby filled with players who do not seem to grasp the idea of teamwork. Evolve is a game that for once, teamwork is a very vital part of the gameplay. If you try to go head to head with the monster as a hunter on your own, you’re more than likely going to get ripped to shreds. On the other hand, if you are playing with people who have a good idea of the game, know how to use their hunter, and know the meaning of team work, Evolve can become a rather thrilling experience. If the first time you play as the monster ends with a rather embarrassing defeat while you’re still a mere stage one, have no fear, I believe that’s how most start off. Being the monster takes a few tries to really grasp its strength’s, weaknesses, and abilities. All in all, once you get a hang of the controls, this shooter is filled with high volumes of action, probably the most interesting characters in a multiplayer game (I really want to know more about them), and more unusual creatures than you can shake a stick at.
Now you might be asking yourself, “Why’s the game called Evolve?”, well it’s simple really. Each monster has three stages which it can grow. To “evolve”, you must feed on the local wildlife to fill up the Evolve meter. Smaller wildlife are easier to kill but fill the meter slowly, while the larger wildlife will put up a fight but are worth the rather large increase on the meter. After you fill the meter, you are now able to evolve your monster. The monster gets bigger in size and is given more skills point to place on its special attack abilities.
A good monster will try to be sneaky while it tries to evolve, but be careful, occasionally killing wild life will attract birds, giving away your location to the hunters. In total, there are currently three monsters playable. You start with the rather brute force style monster, the Goliath, to unlock the other two, there are three goals you must achieve, these including causing a certain amount of damage with an attack, using an attack a set number of times, and so forth. Don’t worry though, these goals aren’t outrageous and can be achieved, if used well, within a couple of matches. As for the hunters, there are four classes you can play as, Assault, Trapper, Support, and Medic. Each class plays a vital role in achieving victory. The Assault class is the main damage dealer and the biggest threat to the monsters life bar. The Trapper’s are capable of tracking, and laying down traps to slow the monster down, but their most important factor is their Mobile Arena which creates a dome that once in, you can’t get out until the dome in down. This is useful when trying to catch up to a fleeing monster. Support is just as the name sounds, in charge of supporting your team mates throughout the battle, with extra shields, turrets, etc. Last but not least, the Medic. What good team is successful without a medic? The medic is responsible for keeping your team alive. Same as the monster, each class has three playable hunters. To unlock the other two hunters, you must achieve goals similar to the ones you must achieve to unlock the monsters. In an attempt to make sure players get more of a chance to play as their desired roles, you are given the chance to rank each class, so if you preferred being the monster, you would put that as number one and so forth.
The game’s core game mode is Hunt, and it’s as straight forward as it sounds. As the monster tries to evolve, it is the hunter’s job to track down and defeat the monster. If the monster reaches stage three, it is now capable of bringing down the Power Relay, if the hunters kill the monster, they win, but if the monster either kills all the hunters, or destroys the relay, they win. Tracking down the monster, if they’re smart, can be rather difficult. Tracking them can be achieved by following footprints, unless they’re in sneak mode, trails of dead wildlife, damage to surrounding areas, and even the birds as mentioned before With all the game modes, if you’re not one to enjoy playing with others but are still looking for a challenge, you’re in luck. There is a solo mode available, now this doesn’t mean you’ll be the only hunter going after a monster, this just means that the other four, normally player controlled characters, are now replaced with bots. The AI in this game is one of the smartest, and most helpful, that I’ve ever played against. There are a total of four playable game modes, these include:
Rescue: The hunters must find and rescue down survivors while defending them against the monster. The first to either five survivors rescued or killed (if you’re the monster) is the winner.
Nest: Throughout the map there are six eggs. The hunters are tasked with destroying the eggs, or the minions that the monster can hatch to aid them in the fight.
Defend: The hunters must defend three main objectives from a fully evolved monster and waves of minions. Hunters have maximum respawns in this mode. The monster must destroy these objectives to win.
While the game lacks a campaign mode, it is substituted with a five round match called Evacuation. Each round of Evacuation starts off with a game of Hunt, the winner is then granted a perk that will aid them in the next match. The following mode is then decided on a lobby vote system between two choices. The final mode is always Defend. The winner of this mode is decided based on who wins the most matches. This mode brings the most replay-ability out of the game with the many different perks you can be given after each round along with the different game modes that are played within.
Visually speaking, this game is beautiful to look at. While it’s not on the “realistic” side of beautiful, it has a slight cartoonish look to it. The hunters feel alive with their own personalities and ways they interact with other hunters. One of my favorite things about this game is at the beginning of each round, as the hunters wait to jump into the match. There’s a cut scene of sorts that plays, and within this scene, the characters you have chosen will talk back and forth. Depending on who the team consists of, you can be in for some rather funny conversations. There has been some moments where the audio seems bugged, one character will say something and then there is a long pause before another responds. Other than that, the audio is great. If a monster is near, you can hear the ground tremble, the wildlife scurry, sounds of trees being ripped from their roots as they topple over. The first time you hear a Goliath roar, shivers will be sent down your spine.
Through the frustration of being hunted down and ripped apart, this game holds up to being enjoyable even later on down the road, specially with the new monsters, hunters, and other dlc becoming available in the coming months, that just adds to the play time. This was one game I originally thought would only be fun for a short amount of time, and even more so, I thought it would only be enjoyable as the monster, but I find myself playing the hunters more. It’s just satisfying to track down and defeat a monster even when the odds seem against you. As I’ve said, this game has a great amount of replay-ability specially from the Evacuation mode. So if you’re a fan of shooters, or team work based games, Evolve just very well may be the game for you!
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