Preview: Evolve redesigns co-op
It’s rare after so long in the games industry, to find a game that stays in your mind long after a preview. Evolve has taken the four player co-op experience and upped the stakes by throwing a spanner into the works: a fifth enemy player. And so the hunt begins.
The game is afoot
Evolve has a very simple concept to it; four player controlled hunters, tooled up to the nines with equipment are tossed into a large jungle map with one goal, to hunt a fifth player that is playing a huge hulking monster. Both the hunters and the monster are unaware of each others positions, so the game begins with a stage of planning, forcing gamers to converse with each other and plan tactics as opposed to running head long into combat. The monster can easily tear apart a solo hunter so unlike most shooters Evolve has been set up to force team play by making the team members severely under-powered when on their own. However when together, they are dangerous and difficult to defeat. This balance between predator and prey means that no game will ever play out the same, so tactics evolve based on the other players, making this a very unique multiplayer experience. So how does one win a game like this? Well let’s break it down.
The hunters have four very balanced classes:
Trapper (far right)
The trapper is not about damage dealing, even though he carries a sub-machine gun his role is to hunt down and trap the monster. His kit consists of sound spikes to pick up movement, a harpoon to slow the beast down and a large dome shield that traps the monster inside a smaller area of the map, forcing them to fight instead of running. The trapper is a difficult class for FPS fans as it is more about tactics than heavy combat. However the trapper is a vital part of a good team and using his skills successfully can be the difference between a win or a loss.
The support class is usually the first target for a smart monster. His abilities make even the best surprise attack a failure, his shield can soak up the damage of even the heaviest of attack and can be placed over team mates from a distance meaning his skill can stop an attack right before death and protect a team mate while the medic refills their health. The Support class can also call down an orbital barrage, which works really well in conjunction with the Trapper’s harpoon gun. Lastly, his main weapon is a large laser cutter (think light machine gun) which not only deals a good amount of damage but helps point out the enemies location.
The assault class is perfect for beginners, this character is the tank class, capable of dealing and taking huge amounts of damage. The character uses a personal shield to stay in close quarters to the hulking opponent. His two weapons consist of an assault rifle and a short range electric gun to overwhelm the opponent and pummel them with damage. The assault class also has mines, perfect for blocking off a retreat or setting traps for later use.
Medic (far left)
A surprisingly powerful class, the medic has the (obvious) ability to heal the other team mates but is able to do it from a good distance meaning that it is a dangerous class to leave alive if you are playing the monster. On top of a healing skill the medic can also revive downed allies from range. The anti-material sniper rifle that the medic uses not only deals good damage, but a successful shot will also show up as a dot on the monster for all four players and successful damage dealt to this location will double the hits effectiveness. This means that a well placed head shot can completely change the game. Also, the medic has a dart gun that can slow down the monster for a short period of time and also act like a tracker, instantly highlighting it for the team to converge on.
So after meeting the hunters, most people are probably wondering how you balance against a team that powerful. Simple. You make the monster impossibly powerful. From the moment you step into the monsters shoes you can feel your obvious superiority, even against two or three of the hunters, the monster will always win if the team play isn’t strong. The monster has three stages of evolution, which can be upgraded by avoiding the hunters and chowing down on the local wild life.
When you begin the player can use two of the four monster skills and the upgrades then offer you the remaining skills as you evolve. The end game is to get the monster to level 3 and then attack an important structure on each map. This means that hunting the human players is only one way to win the round and that there is a stealth option for those wanting to throw the other players off guard. But how does one play stealth as a giant hulking monster? Quite easily actually.
The monster is controlled from a 3rd person perspective and can move with a surprising level of finesse. When playing you can move dangerously fast, climb almost anything and pounce from long distances onto unsuspecting foes. On top of super speed, the monster can breath fire, throw giant boulders and of course pound the puny humans with his giant fists. The monster is as tactical as the humans are, you can hide only meters away in foliage and plan your attack for as long as you want, waiting for someone to separate from the group or scout ahead, attack and then disappear from sight to await the others hurried response.
No matter what your role, Evolve is always fun to play. The monster character ensures that every game plays differently as the game will reflect the player in control of the beast as much as the hunters hunting it. The game is getting closer to release and as the team continue to tweak and balance the experience, by the time it comes out Evolve will be an amazing and refreshing multiplayer experience. Do not miss out on this game, Turtle Rock are excited and passionate about this project and with games like Left 4 Dead on their resume, gamers would be silly do dismiss the importance of this title. Stay tuned for more information.
If you need a little more to get you excited, check out this teaser (and make sure you watch it in HD).
So what do you think gang? Is this something you’d play? Who else wants to get into some 4V1?