Evolve – First Play

The development team behind the popular Left 4 Dead are back with another new idea. Evolve is being published by 2K Games and developed by Turtle Rock Studios.

Evolve is a bit like the film Predator, except that the characters actually work together to defeat the giant predator they are facing. There are four characters and each has unique skills. Each player picks one of these characters, then they are dropped off at a remote location where they must face off against the chosen monsters and a few other surprises.

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It may seem like a concept that won’t have a lot of reply value. However, there are many characters in each class with unique skills, as well as different monsters to choose from. Each match must include a character from a different class. The main reason for this is that each player must take on a role during the match. For example, only the Medic can heal the characters.

This makes a huge difference because it’s no longer about which player is doing the best. Instead, players are encouraged to work together in order to successfully defeat the monster. If the Medic dies then the rest of the team has no way of healing. Letting the Assault character die will result in losing the fire power. All characters get sent back to the map after a short amount of time. But it’s during this time that the monster has the best chance of picking off the remaining team members.

A player takes control of the chosen beast to face off against the four hunters. It may seem like an unfair fight, but the best is strong and only gets more powerful with each new evolution phase. Eating animals and even dead hunters will result in building up a power bar. Once it’s full, the monster can evolve and earn new powers.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to Evolve. Like the fact that there are different ways of winning a match. The various traps and rather frightening wildlife that characters may come across – watch out for creatures that will trap the character and slowly crush he or she to death.

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When choosing a character from a class, it’s also possible to pick a perk. One such perk gives the ability of healing over time. Veteran gamers can choose to ignore these perks, but it should make Evolve more accessible to those who just want to have a few fun matches with friends or even strangers.

For the purpose of this preview, the main focus was on the new characters and monsters that were recently revealed. One such character is the Medic Lazarus who has a rather appropriate name, given that one of his abilities is reviving the other characters when they are downed. Such an ability makes Lazarus a vital team member. Not only that, but he is also able to create a Healing Field that seems very effective. In fact, he seems like the Medic character and is perfect for any kind of gamer. His abilities make it possible for anyone to choose him and get easily acquainted with how Evolve matches work.

Maggie is a more unusual character that belongs in the Trapper category. Trappers are characters that are experts at trapping the monster within a dome. It’s a bit tricky to set up the dome sometimes since it doesn’t seem to work when inside caves and other similar areas. She also has a rather unusual Trap Gun that is only effective when two or more targets are holding the monster. But the most unusual ability is the use of her pet, Daisy. Daisy may seem a bit useless, but she ended up rescuing the whole team during one match. All four characters were downed and the end was near. But somehow Daisy managed to elude the Monster until all characters were sent back to the map. If anything, Maggie is a character that seems best suited for those who have played Evolve and know what they are doing.

The new Assault character, Hyde, is your regular Terminator with an arsenal that would make the tin man envious. Both his Flame-thrower and Machine Gun are powerful tools to use against the monster. To make the character balanced, he has very low health and probably moves slowly due to the heavy weaponry. At least he has a shield that can keep him from being harmed by the monster. He also has a bomb that is a bit tricky to use or perhaps just isn’t as effective against a flying monster.

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The final new hunter character is Bucket who belongs to the Support class. His main ability is a Spy Camera that is sent around the map to find the monster.  The problem is that it leaves the character vulnerable since it is necessary to control the camera. His guided missile launcher does come in handy during fights. As do his Sentry guns once the monster has been trapped. However, he still doesn’t feel as useful as the other support characters revealed.

Those more keen on siding with the monster will no doubt want to learn about the Kraken. The Kraken is completely different from the Goliath previously revealed. This is a monster that doesn’t rely as much on brute force. Instead, it is necessary to do a bit of running around or even flying around when trying to win as the Kraken. Even facing the hunter team with the last evolved form won’t mean an easy win. His attacks consist of Lightning Strike, Aftershock, Vortex and Banshee Mines.

Whilst these may seem like powerful tools, the fact the creature isn’t as resilient as the Goliath makes it far more difficult to face a team of four hunters at once. He runs slower and his flying ability is limited to a bar that needs recharging. Even spamming all attacks at once(once they are unlocked by evolving) didn’t seem to have as much of an impact. There is no denying that the Kraken will offer a completely different experience. But it’s also a monster that will take a lot more effort to use efficiently.

All of the matches took place on The Dam map and it is certainly huge. Perhaps even bigger than the map used in the previous demonstration. There are a lot more rocks to climb and the wildlife is very aggressive. Fortunately some of these animals will give perks after they are killed. Just don’t get to close to plants that swallow up characters.

Even if Evolve is only a multi-player experience, the appeal is still there because there is so much to discover character wise. If other characters revealed down the line are as unique as the ones shown so far, then it has the potential of making every match unique. Not only that but there is always the option of adding more characters and monsters through additional downloadable packs.

Evolve is probably an adequate title for a video-game that might just finally change how gamers play multi-player matches. Just remember that an efficient team can get through any challenger together.

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