Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Evolve

More and more of the games that were delayed in 2014 that I couldn’t wait to play are all coming out in the next few months, and Evolve is next on my list of games to play. I was all aboard the hype train with this, and a few of my friends couldn’t see why. When you look at it, you might think “Four hunters vs. one monster constantly, won’t it get boring?” In the words of Di Caprio in The Wolf of Wall Street: “Absolutely f*cking not.” Will the game with over 60 awards live up to the hype? Put it this way -Evolve is up there with one of the best multiplayer games I’ve ever played. 


Developed by Turtle Rock Studios and out now for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC comes Evolve, an asymmetrical first person shooter, with a heavy focus on multiplayer. Evolve is set on the fictional planet of Shear, where the most established colonies are attacked by malicious alien monsters. William Cabot, a former planet tamer, is brought out of retirement to deal with the threat, assembling a team of hunters – consisting of war veterans, psychopaths, professionals, and expendables – to eliminate the monsters. 


Players can of course choose to play as a hunter or the monster. There are 12 hunters to choose from, split into four categories: Medic, Support, Trapper, and Assault. Each class has three different characters to choose from, however to unlock the 2nd and 3rd character of each class, you must complete three challenges, which cycle between that characters items, and count towards the mastery of that character. The same applies to the monster, however there are only three to choose from right now. The character ranking system forces players to play a certain way to unlock or master their characters, opposed to just leveling it up via the xp you earn. However, I don’t agree with the level cap being 40, as you earn a whole lot of xp from playing the “Evacuation” game mode as a bonus for finishing it. After a week of playing a game I couldn’t contain my excitement for, to be capped at 40 is a bit of a let down. 

 As you can imagine, the strategy between playing as a hunter or monster differs. To succeed as the jet-pack equipped hunters, teamwork is essential. You really can’t go all Rambo and solo the monster, even if it’s AFK, as a bot will take over and destroy you. Every character compliments each other, which also adds to the dire need for teamwork if you want to increase your chances of winning. You have to remember your character roles, so if you’re playing as the Medic, don’t try and be a damage dealer, focus on healing. Assault is the DPS guy, Support can buff other hunters, and Trapper slows and contains the monster. Effectively combining the four is the key to victory. However, it does require communication with the other team, and if you can’t talk to your team members for whatever reason, the hunters may struggle.

The monster starts off as a vulnerable creature, and must focus on killing wildlife to feed and “Evolve”. Evolving as a monster allows you to slowly upgrade any of your four abilities, with three upgrades available for the abilities, and nine potential skill points to spend, so you can apply them to your preferred moves. There are three monsters to choose from: Goliath - a rock throwing brute, Kraken - a much bigger Davy Jones, and Wraith - a serpent-esque creature that can decoy, teleport, and go invisible (and yes, it is as annoying as it sounds).  The hunters, presuming they’re doing their job right, will be on your tail constantly. The monster can sneak to avoid leaving footprints, which will completely fool everyone other than Daisy, a sci-fi dog known as a Trapjaw, which can smell the monster over time if it’s constantly sneaking/leaves new footprints. Playing it right on both parts can lead to a rather long, tense battle, and one that requires a lot of strategy and skill. The whole experience is a truly unique one that I can’t get enough of.

Players can traverse through 16 maps across four game modes, not to mention that all future map packs will be free! In Hunt, the main objective for the hunters is to take out the monster before the monster evolves and destroys the generator. Nest is where the monster, must defend six eggs, whereas the hunters must destroy those eggs. Rescue is where hunters must find, revive, protect, and escort injured colonists to safety, and of course the monster must kill them - first to five saves/kills wins. In Defend, hunters must protect the generators from being destroyed until their ship is fully refueled. I personally prefer the objective based game modes, as it can be a faster paced affair with the monster and hunters both forced into going for the win a lot quicker than the likes of Hunt, nevertheless they’re all enjoyable and mix things up every now and then. The maps are absolutely packed with wildlife, and even animals that can grab or catch the hunters can kill them if there are no teammates around to save them. The fact you constantly have to be aware of your surroundings keeps you on your toes, and adds to the intensity that comes with searching a two-story monster.

Playlist wise, there isn’t a great deal. Evacuation is a playlist, which is carried out over the course of five days. It’ll always start off as Hunt, and whoever is picked to be the hunters and the monster will stay as a hunter or monster until the end of the Evacuation campaign. The great thing about Evacuation is that you’ll very rarely have the exact same sequence of events happen, as whoever wins a round will receive a map specific perk to take into the next game, as well as the loser receiving a 10% damage buff to take into the next game due to auto-balance. Players can then vote for Nest or Rescue, whichever they choose will be taken out of the choice for the next selection and replaced with Hunt, up until Day Five, where it’ll always be Defend. For example, the map “Wraith Trap” will provide the winner with teleportation portals for the next match, so you get the idea. It’s a fun playlist to play with friends, especially working hard together to try and go for a complete shut out and land a 5-0 victory! The Skirmish playlist is Hunt on repeat, and you can also host custom matches with your friends, and apply over 40 different modifiers if you fancy taking a break from the serious side of saving Shear. Honestly, for a multiplayer focused game, there should definitely be more competitive playlists than two; as for any other gamer the choices available could become quite monotonous.

I only have a few problems with Evolve. On numerous occasions, the visuals have bugged out to the point where I’ve had to turn my console off, with leaves somehow scaling 1,000x bigger and covering the sky and my screen, completely blocking off my visibility. I’ve seen a load of downed players fall through the map, making it impossible to revive them, and there’s even been a time where someone in my party has ended up being the monster – something that the game doesn’t allow. There are definitely a few bugs present, as well as many disconnection issues, and when a multiplayer focused game is having connection issues, many people can immediately lose interest. Although the game is supposed to be balanced, there are definitely a few moves which are slightly overpowered still, but that’s to be expected and a patch has already been announced for that.


Overall, Evolve is a unique multiplayer experience that requires you to be strategic and work well as a team to succeed, unless you’re the monster of course. The gameplay is very smooth and the maps will always provide the players with an experience that will keep them on their toes. The ever-changing Evacuation playlist breathes fresh air into Evolve, as you’ll have a different play-through every time. Everything about Evolve reels me in to play more and more every day, and the fact I’ve played it enough to hold the #1 spot in the World as Hyde on PS4 shows how much I’m enjoying it! My only problems with the game right now are the disconnection issues, the minor glitches in visuals, the level cap is pretty low, and the slight lack of content that could lead to the game becoming monotonous for some gamers.

Evolve rock throws and leap smashes its way to a solid 4/5.

★★★★☆

Sam Terry


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