Evolve, developed by Turtle Rock Studios and published by 2K, is entirely multiplayer focused with no story mode, making the game feel more focused than say Titanfall, which slapped on a story that had no real meat to it. Solo play places the player against AI bots in the same modes as in multiplayer, so while there’s nothing to stop you from playing alone, it might feel like a more diluted experience. I recommend bringing a buddy, or be prepared to make some new friends. It’s team game, don’t be afraid to dust of the mic!
The game is asymmetrical; the hunter team has four players in a variety of roles and abilities, while the Monster team features one player as a powerhouse of nature. The hunter class is a 1st person shooter that has you using the environment to hunt your target; scared birds, dead animals, broken trees etc. The roles available are The Assault, the damage dealer; The Support, who buffs their teammates; The Medic, who heals; and The Trapper who tracks and contains the monster.
Each class has several characters, each with their own weapons and abilities; one medic heals with a beam that fills the health back up, while another can’t heal directly but instead resurrects dead players, and the final medic class drops healing bombs that restore health to players in it’s radius, so there is variety within the different classes.
The Monster’s goal is get stronger by consuming wildlife, evolving to a greater form while evading the hunters. The Monster can climb, sneak and sniff out prey towards this end, as well as unleashing some devastating moves to deal a lot of damage quickly. The key to the Monster’s victory lies in the consumption of wildlife to generate armour, as well building up energy to evolve your powers, which leaves you vulnerable to your hunters.
Excluding the Monster’s you receive in the DLC, the Monster’s come in the form of the fire breathing Goliath, who wrecks havoc in close combat and is essentially a living tank; the flying Kraken, who shoots lightning from above and can move around quickly to escape; and the sneaky Wraith, who is able to create decoys and can even snatch hunters away from the group. Unlocking new Monster’s and classes requires you to master the previous character’s moves, so using the weapons of the Medic character, Val, unlocks the next medic character, Lazarus, and so one. It’s pretty easy to unlock each character, so it works well and doesn’t feel like to much of a hindrance on your fun.
The game has several different game modes to help break up the monotony: Hunt is the games premier mode; a team of Hunters must find and kill a Monster before it evolves to a point where it can destroy the central power relay. Rescue has the Hunters trying to revive injured survivors, while the Monster tries to kill them before they can escape. Defend has the Hunters protect a generator, while the Monster tries to destroy it.
Nest features eggs that the Hunters try to destroy, while the Monster defends them. You can also hatch an egg to spawn a minion, giving you an edge in combat but put them in harms way. The big mode however is Evacuation; a series of mini missions which impact the following matches. For example, if a monster succeeds in destroying a power plant then the next match will be flooded with toxic gas that poisons Hunters. On the other hand, if the Hunters save the plant then the next map will feature turrets the harm the Monster. The fifth and final round is the one that counts, but the victories before then will tilt the odds in your favour.
The game also features tutorial videos that appear when you play a class for the first time, and features an advanced tutorial for each class that plays after playing as a class for a while, which helps you make the most of each class, without bombarding you with information and bogging down the experience. After two short tutorial levels as the Monster and as the Assault class you’re straight into the game, giving you a chance to experiment and figure things out for yourself.
To summarize, the game features no story-mode, so it’s all multiplayer based. Fortunately the map effects, variety to game modes and nine different hunters with vastly different play styles helps to keep things fresh and fun. If the game wants to keep people interested, it will need to roll out new features post launch like Team Fortress and Titanfall. But so long as you’re willing to make some friends and get into the online experience you’ll have blast with this game….Maybe they could add hats!
There are no real negatives from where I stand, but please bare in mind that this is a multiplayer focused game; if you’re looking to playthough a campaign then move onto the next game, prepare to be disappointed, but I’m not going to mark this game down for everyone’s gaming preference. The game does what it’s designed to do and does it well.
+ Variety of classes
+ Asymmetrical gameplay feels balanced
+ Map modifiers help keep games fresh
+ Variety of monsters are fun to play around with.