Remember the movie Predator? With Arnold Schwarzenegger about an army troop being killed one by one by an alien hunter? Well, Evolve is a lot like that, except the humans are far more prepared and the alien is much bigger.
Evolve is a cooperative/competitive shooter which pits four online players working together to battle a fifth player in a survival of the fittest type match. Although the odds may seem stacked in a 4 vs. 1 battle, that 5th player has a little advantage over the opposing four players that makes Evolve so intriguing: the 5th player is a huge alien monster.
On Halloween, developers Turtle Rock decided to test Evolve‘s capabilities by allowing people to take part in a demo which they called the “Big Alpha”. For anyone who is unaware, there are these trial runs in the video game industries called ‘alphas’ and ‘betas’. Alphas are the first tests with the general public, testing a games software with a larger group of testers in order to see what improvements can be made before the official release of the game. Betas are the second tests of the game, usually taking place closer to the release date and with an even larger group of testers. I had the pleasure of taking part of Evolve‘s alpha, as I pre-ordered the game at GameStop.
Going into the game, I kept my expectations low due to two reasons: this was an alpha trial, meaning the game was far from complete, and the entire premise of the game seemed to lead to a repetitive play style that would likely become boring after a few tries. After waiting around 20 minutes to enter the game lobby (a problem a shrugged off since this was an alpha), I was given one of the roles in the group of humans (called Hunters). The four roles are Assault, which is your big gun against the monster, the Trapper, which does exactly what its name suggests with harpoons and even a huge force field that traps the monster, the Medic, which is pretty straight forward once again, and the Support, which can be played as a protector of other hunters or a secondary assault. The 5th player has one choice of role: the Monster. The main representative of Evolve and your only choice of monster at the start of the game is called a Goliath, a large saurian-like creature. As you gain experience, you gain more choices of monsters, such as the Kraken. I was given the Trapper to start. Once the game began, the fun began.
The monster is given a small head start to explore the large map. As the monster, you have 3 stages of evolution (thus the title of the game). During the first stage, the monster is somewhat weaker than the hunters, making it important to level up by feasting on wild life. As you evolve through each stage, you can upgrade your abilities like your fire breath. The goal of the monster is to either kill all the hunters, or destroy the power relay once you have reached stage 3.
After a short intro scene, the hunters are airdropped into the map where the monster first started. The goal is simple for the hunters: kill the monster. Once the hunters land, they can follow the tracks left by the monster to hopefully find and kill it. However, the monster isn’t the only thing on the map that will kill you. Wildlife across the map will also be able to kill, some of which is even stronger than the monster.
Overall, the hunt between humans and monsters creates a highly engaging game that will continue to create new challenges with each battle. Turtle Rock has also yet to announce the other game modes and a 3rd monster to fight with. Although I enjoyed the game and its concept, I do hope that the servers are fixed in order to make for a much smoother lobby. If not for this, I would have played close to hundred matches during the alpha instead of the approximate dozen instead.
Evolve is set to release on Xbox One, PS4, and PC on February 10th, 2015.
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