Game Review: Evolve

Felipe Cabrera

Platforms: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC

Evolve is the latest asymmetrical multiplayer shooter from Turtle Rock Studios, the minds who brought us Left 4 Dead. Evolve is an absolute blast to play, but there is enough holding it back for me to not recommend this game at a full price.

Evolve takes the co-op shooter formula and gives it a cool twist, turning it into a hunting experience. Instead of two even teams going head to head in a frenzy of bullets and explosions, Evolve drops four hunters in various environments on planet Shear to hunt down one monster.

Evolve feels like a different game whether you play one of the hunters or the monster. Evolve only has four game modes: Hunt, Rescue, Defend and Nest. You will spend the most time playing Hunt. As the name suggests, the hunters have to track down the monster and kill it. It is a unique twist on the online multiplayer formula that makes me feel like I am taking part in “The Most Dangerous Game.”

There are four different hunter class to choose from: Assault, Trapper, Medic and Support. Each has three different characters with load outs that reflect different strategies within their respective class.

The trapper is responsible for tracking down the monster and capturing it in an arena. The assault is the highest damage dealing class and has to barrage the monster with everything they got.

The support can take on multiple roles, from tracking down the monster, cloaking the team, dealing massive damage with an orbital strike and generating a shield to protect their teammates. The medic’s primary role is to heal and revive teammates, but they also have an assortment of buffs and debuffs, like a tranquilizer gun that can slow the monster down.  

Some maps make tracking down the monster boring, but the best maps are large and have hostile creatures that were born to ruin your day. Giant crocodiles and man-eating plants can hinder your hunt for the monster and break up the monotonous game of hide and go seek.

The success of the hunters hinges on communication between teammates. Unfortunately, at least in my experience on the PS4 version, I came across players who for one reason or another do not use their headsets or engage with the other players.

I had to go out of my way and visit the official Evolve forum on Turtle Rock Studios’ website to find players who voice chat. My experience as a hunter in Evolve was best when I had other players communicate with. We formed strategies, gave each other tips and laughed at who ever got stuck in the giant Venus flytrap.

On the flip-side, the player taking up the monster role can choose from the Goliath, Kraken and Wraith. Each monster has its own abilities that can level up as they evolve up the three tiers.

I found the playing the monster was difficult, but rewarding when I finally won against the hunters. Playing the monster requires cunning and knowledge of the map you are playing on, as you are on your own against four hunters who can respawn if at least one of their teammates are still alive. As the monster, you only have one shot.

The only way to succeed as one of the three monsters is to eat and evolve. Eating will increase your armor and your evolution gauge. Evolving is critical for the monster. At level one you are completely at the mercy of the hunters and it will mean a short match for you.

At level one, it is best to avoid the hunters at all cost until you evolve to your second stage, where you are more of a threat to the hunters than they are to you. Once you hit your final form, you are nearly unstoppable.

The length of the match comes down to how skilled the monster is. It is the difference between a match lasting five minutes and a match lasting half an hour.

Some of the maps in the game feel too small for the monster to successfully evade the hunters. In some games I felt like I was running around in circles with the hunters close behind and I had nowhere to hide or catch my breath.

Both hunters and monsters gain experience points after each match. When you gain enough experience points and level up, you unlock new perks. You can only unlock new characters and monsters once you earned proficiency in their skills. This is not a new concept, but it’s a welcomed feature from other multiplayer games that will keep players playing for a while.

Currently there are not enough monsters to play with. There are two being planned for digital download, but unless you preorder the game or bought the season pass, you have to pay extra money.

I am tired of the season pass and shoddy Downloadable Content (DLC) formula developers and publishers have been using for the past five years, and Evolve is the perfect example of why.

The game is light on content because portions of it has been pulled out so it can be sold separately for a fee.

There are two monsters and some hunters that have been held off for future DLC and about 40 character skins. If you wanted to buy the game and all the extra content, the value of the game would be $120, and that is ridiculous.

Evolve is a fantastic game. It has gorgeous detailed maps in swamps and jungles, unique asymmetrical gameplay and community of nice gamers. However, I cannot, in good conscience, recommend it at a full retail price yet. There just is not enough there to warrant a $60 purchase at the moment.