One massive monster, four human hunters. Which one’s best? There’s only one way to find out. FIIIIIIGHT!! There you have the basic premise of Evolve. The new game from Turtle Rock Studios, creators of Left 4 Dead. At EGX this year, Bruno and I had our first chance to play this highly anticipated title, and it was good. First though we had to survive the 2 hour queue! Proving just how popular this game is likely to be. Once in we were invited to watch a short video explaining the four different Hunter classes.
The assault class, unsurprisingly is the damage dealer of the group. Equipped with a lightning firing gun for close range damage, an assault rifle for longer range attacks, some heavy damage dealing mines and a shield to provide some defence. At the other end of the spectrum is the Medic. Able to heal individual hunters or the whole group, as well having a handy little pet to help sniff out the monster. The Trapper meanwhile can enclose the monster within a portable arena as well as tether it to the ground with special traps. Finally the Support class meanwhile, erm, supports the others with abilities such as extra shields.
In a rarity for co-op based games you genuinely have to work together to take down the beast lurking somewhere in the world. In a perfect match you stick together as you follow the trail of the monster. Then upon spotting it the trapper encloses in an arena before the assault class lays in to it with heavy fire with shields and healing coming from support and medic. If you don’t follow this method however, you all get ripped to pieces, burned to a crisp or electrocuted in a matter of minutes by a rather angry monster.
The monster itself currently takes the form of Goliath, a hulking best with powerful melee and Fire attacks or Kraken, able to fly and use electrical attacks from distance. Although there will be further monsters yet to be announced. As either, your first task is to run away. Even as a hulking monster you stand little chance against a well organised team of hunters in the first few minutes of the match. As you flee you need to build a meter by eating the local wildlife until you can evolve in to a stronger version of your monster. Best case you manage stage 3 before the hunters find you, by which time you should be able to rip through them fairly easily.
The game looks great and our first exposure was a riveting match with Bruno, as the monster, taking our team of hunters out with just a sliver of health left. Since then the Big Alpha has taken place and absorbed me for a weekend. Regular listeners to the podcast will know it’s rare for me to get too involved with an online multiplayer game. Despite this Evolve was good enough to keep me highly entertained throughout the Alpha. Much like Titanfall, this was all I wanted to play for a solid weekend. Neither has completely sold me on the idea of multiplayer only games as anything more than a distraction for me but Evolve wins out as playing as the monster is different to any other such game I have played. Whilst playing as a hunter is the closest to being in a Predator movies as you can get. New modes and characters should also help extend the lifespan on release.