Release Date: February 10th, 2015
Developer: Turtle Rock Studios
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform: [Reviewed: PC], PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: First-Person Shooter, Action
Rated: M for Mature
What has been the standard since the late 90’s, competitive multiplayer has been a couple of decades of free-for-alls, and team death matches. In an attempt to provide some variety, new modes like capture the flag and domination put a twist to the killing by having an actual objective to achieve besides killing. Turtle Rock Studios put their own spin on competitive/cooperative multiplayer with their first title, Left 4 Dead, where you can play as survivors against droves of zombies or go against another team of four that played as special infected. Evolve’s unique take on a 4 versus 1 gameplay looks to change the game with an open, asymmetrical map where no two matches will be the same.
As humanity looks to expand its reach on new worlds, we land on the far-off planet Shear to establish colonies and claim its rich, untapped resources. What the colonists didn’t foresee was what lurked within the alien forest s – Monsters. Towering giants of immense power and destructive capabilities are wreaking havoc upon the settlements, letting them know that they are not welcome on their home. In response to the threat, a team of hunters consisting of psychopaths, professionals, war vets, and expendable are sent to Shear to evacuate the remaining colonist and eliminate the alien monstrosities.
Evolve contains 4 game modes: Hunt, Nest, Rescue, and Defend. Hunt tasks the hunters with killing the monster before it destroys a power relay somewhere on the map or kills the hunters. Nest is where the Monster must protect 6 eggs scattered throughout the area for 10 minutes and can spawn a minion monster to help out against the hunters. Rescue is a first-to-five match where the hunters must locate, revive and escort colonists to safety while the Monsters will attempt to kill as many as possible. Defend will start with a fully evolved Monster with a horde of minions attack a refueling station; it is the hunter’s job to stop them and allow the starship enough time to recharge to make it out.
There is actually one more game mode call Evacuation. In Evacuation all the previous game modes are incorporated in a 5 match story mode where the victor of each round will determine who receives a bonus in the next. If a Monster was to destroy a power plant in a Hunt match and won, the next game will have toxic gas released that is harmful to the hunters while the Monster is immune to. If the hunters are to emerged victorious, instead of toxic gas, auto turrets will power on and fire at the Monster. The game will end with a Defend match.
Each player at the start of each match will be assigned a team and a class. There are four Hunter classes that you will possibly be assigned to: Assault is your heavy damage dealer that can dish out and take the pain during a rumble, Trappers lead the Hunters to the monster and when closing in can trap it within a force-field, Medic makes sure that the team is in pique condition and can administer a blast of healing energy, and the Support buffers their allies with different abilities, including invisibility.
The Hunters start the match after the Monster has a head start. Using each of the Hunters’ strengths you can easily track down careless Monsters and keep hot on its trail. Monsters can grow to become ridiculously powerful, but as long as the Hunter know their roles and take advantage of some bonuses found in the wild, The Hunters will earn their titles.
Player will have three Monsters to choose from: The brutish Goliath, the long ranged Kraken, and the stealthy Wraith. As a Monster you will start the match first as you begin in your base form and scavenge for food. Eating the local wildlife will fill your gauge that allows you to reach the next stage in your evolution. Even in your base form you are a force of nature; as you consume your will gain armor that will protect your heath bar from taking damage until it is depleted, but can always be replenished by consuming more prey. Each evolution makes you more powerful as you can assign 3 points to any one of your four abilities, each point increasing the lethality of your attacks.
In your attempt to stay one step ahead of the hunters you can use a couple of tactics to throw them off your trail. The smell ability will show your any nearby wildlife, including the Hunter’s whereabouts. The Monster can sneak, and leave the Hunters with not trail while you continue to grow in power. In your final form, not only will you feel stronger, but look stronger as well and the Hunters will see that as you barrel towards them. Seeing a fully evolved monster coming at you can make people lose their cool and seeing the damage they deal can scare the daylights out of you. Although you’re not invincible, in your last form, you become the game’s boss, wrecking anything or anyone dumb enough to get in your way.
What sets Evolve apart from other multiplayer titles is how it combines class-based abilities for each player, a well-balanced 4 vs. 1 cooperative/competitive play, and a dynamic ecosystem where the wildlife can provide advantages or disadvantages. You can play by yourself in Solo mode to practice using your preferred class and when you’re feeling confident, take your skills online. Each match played out differently every time I played and with so many variants involved each hunt felt fresh and exciting. Just like Left 4 Dead took countless sleepless nights away from gamers, Evolve is the next step in the time consuming evolution.
Overall Score: 4.75/5