Surely you’ve all heard of Left 4 Dead. Well, Evolve is the latest game developed by Turtle Rock Studios and it’s pretty much the evolution of the multiplayer zombie survival game, although this time in a much tighter jungle arena setting with 4 co-op players versus one all-powerful monster.
You can play the game in solo mode to up your XP and get to grips with the game but the action really is all about multiplayer here. In fact, playing with bots, for me at least, was very run-of-the-mill and wouldn’t hold my interest for very long.
Jump into multiplayer or solo and you can play as four humans, each with different abilities as you try to kill the monster on the planet Shear. Quite why you have to kill it isn’t really explained and I’m sure if space had a branch of PETA, there would be plenty of campaigning as you trudge about the green and brown landscape not only hunting the monster but also killing lots of other wildlife including giant toads, beetles and birds. Okay so they attacked you but you shouldn’t have punched them in the neck in the first place.
The four classes are Assault, Medic, Trapper and Support and you’ll have to work together if you want to win. Assault is basically a tank who must inflict as much damage as possible, the medic can project a heal beam to keep others alive, support can project shield beams and call in air strikes and the trapper can lay down harpoons to slow the monster and throw down mobile arenas to stop the monster running away.
As the monster, it’s up to you to run away at first and feed on the wildlife in order to evolve. Feed enough and you can grow to the next stage and level up your powers. Get to level three and in basic Hunt mode you can then go for the power relay where you’re forced to fight with each other. Current monsters you can fill the shoes of include the Goliath which can leap and climb all over the place, throw rocks and breathe fire on enemies, the Kraken who can fly, unleash a vortex on humans or fry them with electricity, the Wraith who can teleport and the yet to be playable Behemoth which you can download as DLC in the Spring.
Play in Extraction mode and there are other missions within the fiction such as trying to kill or rescue survivors, destroy or protect monster eggs or destroy and protect power generators depending on what side you are on.
So what’s it like to play? Well at first you may be slightly overwhelmed. This game does take some getting used to as you learn how to sneak around as the monster and know when to fight and retreat to regain your shield. Health is something that doesn’t regenerate without perks and buffs!
The same goes if you are playing as a human. You can choose your preference of character from 1 to 5 in the menu and then you are thrown into a server with the best fit if you’re not part of a party. Working together sometimes feels like luck more than anything if you’re not talking to each other and it’s fine playing in a party if you have lots of spare time but the busy people among us will rarely get to organise time in our diaries to all log on and play together at once.
You’ll also spend a lot of your time running about the maps. As a monster it’s slightly more fun as you stealthily try to avoid the hunters, but as a hunter you can spend a lot of time following Daisy the alien sniffer dog and running towards scare and carrion bird markers that show where the monster has been. It’s usually long gone by the time you get there.
For me, Evolve is a nice idea and a fun distraction for a while, but it’s not going to hold my interest past a week or two. With its serious tone, lack of story, muted Gears of War style colour palette and limited gameplay mechanic it’s just not my cup of tea but I know some of you guys out there will really enjoy getting into a party and working together to take down some big beasts. Evolve gets 7 out of 10.
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