Turtle Rock Studios’ Evolve is a game that isn’t for everyone. It offers a multiplayer focused concept that relies on the whole idea of four-vs-one gameplay. All the content in the game can be played offline with bots, but the real fun of the game comes from truly experiencing the different roles the game has to offer. Some will enjoy the destructive nature of the monster, while others will enjoy the thrill of the hunt with their teammates. Both roles play out differently, and even they have their diversities that make it easy for someone to find something that most fits their play-style.
At launch, Evolve has twelve hunters with three in each class. Each person will typically find a role of the team they prefer, with Assault, Support, Trapper, and the Medic as their options. Even in each class, the characters are pretty diverse and offer different abilities that make them work well for certain situations. Bucket from the Support class makes a great defense against the monster with his sentry turrets and UAV tagger, while Lazarus from the Medic class can make good use of his cloak and the Lazarus device to keep the team alive, putting more pressure on the monster. Each character can develop their abilities and make them stronger through character progress, which takes quite a while, but one thing that is great is the game encourages the player to try each role and even learn how to use each character to their strengths. When the player finds that perfect role and character, it makes it easy to continue to improve and climb the ranks on the leaderboards.
Hunters all play in a typical first person control method, which plays it a little safe, but thankfully adds the mobility of a jetpack, allowing faster movement and dodges. Switch over to the monsters however, and the player will take on a very different role in a third person perspective. There is no teamwork with real players here, just the idea of survival, and the mission. Unlike the hunters, the monster cannot respawn, so if the Monster dies, the match is over in favor of the hunters. This leaves the monster player in a position of having to think cautiously and use their monster’s strengths to find the best way to win the match. If the monster manages to kill all of the hunters at once, then they can win, but sometimes it would be better to go after other goals, especially in modes like Rescue or Defend. Strategy is key when it comes to playing as the monster, and figuring out the perfect strategy against the selected opponents is part of the fun.
The monsters perform pretty differently from each other, with some minor similarities like sneaking mode, but ultimately have their own unique traits. Again, this leads to giving the player options, making it possible to find their own perfect role to play. Do they play as the brutish Goliath and wreck house? Or do they sneak around and whittle down the hunters as the assassin-like Wraith? Even the Kraken, with his lightning abilities, has his own uses for various situations. Each has their own special method of mobility and have a certain balance when it comes to climbing walls and movement speeds. Despite this, there are moments that can feel a bit unbalanced, like the Wraith’s decoy, which no matter how much they tweak it, the fact of the matter is that it gives the Wraith a powerful AI controlled ally, even if it is only temporary. While this might make it easy for the Wraith, to the hunters, it may seem a bit unfair, though even then, depending on the hunters in the match, it can be a lot less one-sided.
Looking at the game, it runs beautifully on CryEngine 3, as the foliage is dense, textures are detailed, and the world feels alive with all the various wildlife on the planet Shear. Playing Evacuation mode gives the player the chance to experience various modes with a randomly generating campaign, one that gains even more options based on the hunters and monster selected, as well as the winner of the various rounds. Even though there isn’t much story to it, the mode is incredibly replayable and even if you feel like you’ve seen all the game has to offer, there’s always something new to be seen. Even the hunters can have special dialogue based on the characters selected, and it’s great to see these well designed characters show some of their personality.
There has been a bit of backlash over the idea of post-release DLC, and even complaints of there not being enough content on the disc, but really, there is quite a lot here. This is a game that has one clear goal, and that is to let the player be the role they want to be. This game gives the player options that most games never offer, and when those options get properly utilized, and all roles are properly filled, it makes for an unforgettable experience. Evolve might not be for everyone, but for the people that is caters to, it succeeds. There is a lot to discover on the planet Shear, and if players give it the time it deserves, they may end up rewarded with a deeper game than they expected. With twelve hunters, three monsters, four game modes, and dozens of perks, there are virtually endless possibilities.
Final Score: 8 out of 10