In 2008, Turtle Rock released Left 4 Dead with the help of Valve. Left 4 Dead changed the competitive multiplayer scene with irregular scenarios. After Left 4 Dead’s successful launch, Turtle Rock handed over the sequel to Valve, and ventured out to work on Evolve.
Evolve takes place on the planet of Shear, where a human base examining the planet’s unexplainable environment and ecosystem comes under siege by a plague of monsters who have wreaked havoc on other planets destroying everything in their path. A team of ex-soldiers, technicians, and hunters is assigned to hunt down the monsters and save as many colonists as possible.
On a team of four hunters, there are different classes. Assault deals the damage, trackers find the target and deploy the arena to trap the monster, support players deal damage over a large area to help contain the monster, and medics help keep the team alive and revive dead team members.
There are a total of twelve hunters as each class has three different characters. Each class has common elements, but there is a wide variety of secondary skills and abilities. Maggie, a trapper, uses her pet trap-jaw. Her trap-jaw is a combination of a lizard, and a domesticated dog. Her trap-jaw, tracks the monster’s trail. Meanwhile, another trapper, Griffin, places tracking spikes around the map to highlight enemy movements. Abe, the third tracker, has a tracking dart gun that can track the monster’s movements, along with its food. You can actually track surrounding enemies, and if the monster eats the prey, it will in turn track the monster. To introduce the progression structure into Evolve beyond the ordinary perk system, additional characters may be unlocked after reaching the first rank of “mastery” in each of their skills. Some classes have it easier, such as Markov, the assault, just has to land hits with his different weapons. Maggie, on the other hand, has to follow her trap-jaw for several kilometers, and that’s only one of the masteries she has. I personally love playing as the support class. The weapons fit my first person shooter background perfectly, and keeps me engaged enough so that I don’t feel bored or obsolete.
The monsters, on the other hand, are mostly on their own. Each monster starts at level one and they feed on wildlife, or dead humans. As they eat more and more, they can evolve and turn more powerful. The monster can evolve up to level three, which gains a huge advantage for the predatorial beast. There are three different kinds of monsters. The goliath is a huge charging, rock-throwing, fire-breathing beast. The kraken is a monster that unleashes lightning as it floats and flies above its prey. Finally, the wraith is an assassin-type who vanishes even before a hunter can get close. I personally like playing the goliath the most. His abilities, for example rock throwing, deals big damage but perfecting it is what causes this monster to be dangerous. If you nail the perfect combo between abilities, then the hunters are virtually helpless.
In hunt, Evolve’s main game mode, the monster is dropped on the map early to give it a short lead. This gives the monster enough of time to gain a lead and evolve to level two before the hunters drop. If both sides are played well, the chases are exciting and unpredictable. By killing and eating, the monster is prone to attracting attention from carrion birds that reveal the monster’s location to the hunters. Be careful though hunters, monsters can sneak and pounce you from behind bushes or on top of a tall cliff. The main objective is to kill before getting killed.
Hunt isn’t the only way to play Evolve, and in some ways it isn’t the most fun way, either. Evolve’s campaign mode, “Evacuation”, cycles through five matches, and 3 different modes. The main objective for the hunters is to save as many humans as possible, and the monster’s objective is to… destroy and kill stuff. Each match gives the winning side an advantage, which will have an outcome on the next map. A hunter win may result in healing stations, or giant man-eating plants may give the monster a step up on the competition. Evacuation mode is perfect for the party-type games, and that’s what I played the most. The cycle of the different game mode kept me engaged, but also intrigued because those winning advantages really help. Nothing is more satisfying than getting help by armored turrets as you sit back and watch the mayhem.
Evolve is better as a group experience, where you can easily communicate with your teammates. It’s also exciting when you play with the monster player in the party. Switching roles, and swapping players into the monster role makes the game more excitable and keeps the players on their toes. It’s also pretty hilarious when you hear the monster player yelling and cursing as they are getting beaten down, or vice versa. Taunting players is always a very gratifying feeling.
Evolve only leaves so much room for flexibility, but it uses it all. The game modes they supply are fun, but the trill only lasts for so long. At the end of the day, the main point of the game is to kill before getting killed, and to run as fast as possible. Having everybody play a part in the game is fun, but if one side is not as good as the other, for instance the monster, the games run way too quick and leave players thinking “that’s it?” Evolve is a fun game, and the fact that most of the upcoming DLC is free, leaves me looking at my Xbox One hard drive and keeping space just for Evolve. It is not the type of game I would recommend for long-duration gaming sessions, but it is definitely a game I would recommend for people who play in short sessions. If you were a fan of the Left 4 Dead series, then I definitely recommend picking the game up.
- Excellent Replay Value
- Excellent For All Players
- Goes Back To Turtle Rock's Roots
- The Grind To Level
- Lack Of Maps
- One Player Can Ruin A Match