Evolve Review (Xbox One)

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Evolve is a new IP from Turtle Rock Studios, the developers behind the excellent Left4Dead. Since it’s a multiplayer only game featuring a lot of unlocks and classes, it took a while for us to check them all out.

It’s also a unique game in the sense that the developers haven’t taken the easy way out and have done what they do best i.e., create a very fun co-op experience. Now, Evolve doesn’t feature a campaign, does not have a checklist of collectables and many things that you expect from modern games.

The premise of the game is very simple. 4 hunters take on a monster and try to defeat it and vice versa. Now of course, things are a bit more complex than that and it takes a while to get the hang of the game. Thankfully, there’s an extensive tutorial mode that is well designed.

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The game takes place in Planet Shear which is overrun with dangerous wildlife and vegetation and is basically in a very poor condition. That is just what you have to deal with while you try to hunt and kill a gigantic monster.

There are four classes in the game, namely: Assault, Support, Trapper and Medic. Each class is incomplete without the other and teamwork is of utmost importance in the game. That is basically the heart and soul of the game. There are also three monsters to choose from in the base game, namely: Goliath, Wraith and Kraken, each with their own abilities.

Each class has three characters that you can choose and there are a total of 12 characters in the game, each with their own abilities. It is advisable to concentrate on one character in each class first and level them up before trying the others.

Evolve is an extremely beautiful game that runs on the impressive CryEngine. The sheer scale of the environment you have to navigate can be quite daunting but is also exhilarating considering the vertical gameplay possibilities on offer. When there’s a lot of action the frame rate can take a hit but still manages to remain smooth.

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The monster in particular is the main star of the game. The player controlling it has to evade the hunters and ‘evolve’ to level 3 which gives the monster more abilities and makes it stronger. To evolve, the monster needs to feed on the wildlife while evading the hunters. If a trapper manages to trap the monster while it’s still in stage one, the chances of it dying are higher. Alternatively, if it gets to level 3, it becomes very difficult to kill.

In most games I’ve played, the monster reached level 3 easily because my team was slow to catch it. The environment is very difficult to navigate because dangerous wildlife and vegetation can kill you easily. Additional emphasis is placed on the trapper to do his job properly and trap the monster enabling your team to kill it. If the trapper does not do his job, the monster will reach level 3 easily and grow a lot stronger and will be difficult to kill.

All is not lost though if the monster reaches level 3. It still has to come to the power relay and destroy it. If your team is not interested in chasing it then camping at the power relay is one strategy that most players use. Hunting the monster takes a lot of time in my experience and really drags the game down. Once the fight actually begins it’s a lot of fun.

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The controls are pretty sluggish which is one of my primary complaints. The game is pretty ambitious and there’s a lot going on in the screen but the controls can really hamper your enjoyment of the game. The netcode is decent and I did not encounter much lag during the gameplay.

There are some other game modes too like Nest, Defend and Rescue etc., and they are less overwhelming to the new player. They offer specific objectives and are a lot of fun compared to the Hunt mode.

Ultimately, how much fun you will have in the game depends on how co-ordinated your team is. It is very essential to have mics on everybody and the matches I’ve played with randoms most of them didn’t have a mic and I was unable to communicate with them effectively.

When you and your teammates work together well and face an intelligent monster that’s where the game shines a lot. Unfortunately based on what I’ve played so far these kind of matches are rare. However, as the community becomes more experienced that should change.

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The game does not lack content despite missing a campaign mode. If you like the basic premise of Evolve, you can have a lot of fun with the game. There’s a lot of things to unlock but the DLC plans for the game aren’t that exciting.

All said and done, Evolve is still a unique new multiplayer offering and if you like co-op experience you should give it a shot.

Score

8.5/10