Whilst attending last weekend’s MCM London Comic Con, I found myself very fortunate to get my hands on the First Person Shooter that could get me excited about a genre that I’ve not gotten along with since playing Left 4 Dead. In fact the only reason this title had caught my interest previously was because of it’s Developer, who developed the aforementioned L4D. I am of course talking about Evolve.
Much like the beloved Zombie heavy FPS, Evolve (as you’d probably expect) is an incredibly competent team game that relies on it’s excellent co-op mechanics. Again like Turtle Rock Studios’ previous title, you’ll team up in a squad of four players but this time you’ll each have different abilities that are unique to your chosen character (rather much like Fuse). Characters consist of Assault, Medic, Support, and Trapper classes – with each player assuming a single role (no squads of Assault guys unfortunately). With your group of four, you must band together to take out the big threat, a large monster controlled by a fifth player. Kind of like the ultimate boss battle.
Because you are forced to select a separate class each, teamwork is essential. For instance; if you’re jumping in the shoes on an Assault class, then you get all the groovy firepower but unless you have the Support class close by to keep your shield topped up, it’s not like you’re going to see the end of each match. Want to catch the up and lay the monster? Then you had better get you Medic and Trapper classes on the same page, as you’ll need their abilities to slow the beast down.
Along with the usual healing ability the Medic can bring, they also have access to tranquilizer darts. Not only are these crucial in bringing down the monster’s speed but they also reveal it’s location to your fellow team mates for a short period of time, making it harder for the enemy to hide and heal himself. Once you’ve caught up with your opponent, then it’s time for the Trapper class to shine. Much as the name suggests, the Trapper player will have the ability get the monster just where you want him. By launching a kind of domed forcefield, you can imprison your foe within a secluded space and combine you firepower against it.
With all of these awesome gadgets, weapons and jetpacks (OH YEAH!), you’d think getting on the same page will make taking down any foe a cake walk right? Dead wrong! With one person taking control of the chosen monster, things get really interesting. They’re bigger, stronger, faster and (as the title suggests) have the ability to evolve on the battlefield.
During the game mode I experienced (named Hunt), I’d been ‘volunteered’ into taking control of the Monster. In this demo, the beast of choice was called Goliath – A giant badass killing machine that could leap massive distances, climb most surfaces, throw large boulders and oh yeah, breathe fire! Goliath is a pretty intimidating being (looking not too dissimilar from DC Comic’s Doomsday) and after taking some time to get used to the controls, I was glad my first experience playing Evolve wasn’t as a human.
Whereas your mission as a human is simple (slay the beast), taking control of the Goliath gave me a choice of two objectives; Kill all the humans or destroy their base’s generator. Picking the former, I was advised by one of the on-hand event staff to first make some distance from the Hunters and try to evolve into the monster’s final form.
Evolution is achieved by running around the environment and hunting other creatures for the purpose of sustenance. This will allow you to regain health and build up your Evolve meter. Once you have successfully gobbled up a sufficient amount of prey, you then need to find a safe hiding place and form a type of chrysalis state. Evolving takes a few seconds and gives you the opportunity to choose which stat upgrades you’d like to equip (like more health or better firepower). This proved to be rather challenging as it seemed that wherever I went, the hunters weren’t far behind and trying to chow down on the local wildlife can prove tricky when a tranquilizer dart suddenly hits you in the behind or an energy leash connects you to your foe.
As soon as I hit my third and final evolution form, out sprung the Trapper’s forcefield and I couldn’t run anymore. Luckily for me it seemed that the group trying to take my Goliath down didn’t take a clear assessment of their surroundings, as the area we we’re all contained in gave me access to a high ledge, cave and lake – complete with another large monster of it’s own. With three members of the human’s team pre-occupied in taking down the other creature in this mix, I was left to do battle with and defeat the group’s assigned Assault class.
With the help of being pretty impervious to the firepower of one measly human and after some ferocious slashing of my beast’s claws (I could not work out the firepower attack for some reason), the Assault Hunter was dead. Meanwhile on the other side of the cave, the rest of the group were making quick work of their lake monster and pretty soon would be coming after me. Ever the opportunist, I climbed up to the top of the cave’s surface and waited as their current foe’s health began to dwindle. This is when Goliath pounced, launching high above the other players before crashing down on them with a thunderous attack and then furiously swiping at them all. Needless to say, without their main firepower and having already take quite a hit each from their now disposed foe… the words “Victory” flashed on the screen and my time with Evolve came to an end.
Now this was just an example of my single playthrough of Evolve but from what I’ve experienced, I’m excited to see the final product. Get ready to grab a bunch of mates together to form the ultimate team, taking down monsters in dangerous environments or go it alone and discover the powers you can gain by consuming different prey. Currently it’s only the Goliath that has been unveiled to the public, so seeing what new predators are shown off in the months to come is very interesting.
Evolve is currently set for release from October 21st this year and will be available on PC, PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.