-Gregg Dietz (@ChubRockGeek)
Turtle Rock Studios has been though a lot of trial and tribulation to get to this point. Shortly after developing the beloved Left 4 Dead, Valve shut down their studio in 2008, later they went into mobile apps. After developing mobile apps for a couple years, they announced that they were getting back into video games. They started shopping around for publishers with their new i.p. until the now defunct THQ acquired them. After 2 years of development, THQ goes bankrupt and Turtle Rock Studios and Evolve are now up for sale. Take-Two interactive comes though and acquires them. I find this interesting because most companies would have given up at a certain point but it seems tenacity is one of Turtle Rocks strong suits.
Speaking of strong suits, Turtle Rock Studios has been dealing with some controversy as of late with day-one DLC. The argument is that day-one DLC is stuff intentionally left out to sell separately so to make more money. However Turtle Rock’s counter claim was “that as much content as possible was packaged with the main game, with DLC only including content created after the completion of Evolve's development.” The facts are that there are 42 pieces of DLC that are all skins for characters, 1 that is unlocking all 3rd tier characters and 1 season pass for future DLC. There was also an announcement that all Maps and Gamemodes will be free as to not divide the community.
The way this game works is quite unique. There are 4 hunters each with a specific skill and they must hunt down an evolving monster that is killing colonist on the planet Shear. There is no real storyline to the game, just a set piece for gameplay. I really enjoy the look of the planet. It has this natural science fiction look to the game, a realistic idea of a planet that humans would try and terraform. They try and cement this with having procedurally generated flora and fauna. Some will kill you, some will leave you alone, some are traps, point is that the matches aren’t always the same because they wanted to make a breathing, living world.
As for the matches, the primary mode is called Hunt. In this mode, The 4 hunters must track and kill the monster before he can eat and evolve to stage 3. Once at stage 3, an icon pops up on the HUD and tells all players that the power relay is vulnerable. A time limit is then placed on the monster to kill all hunters or destroy the power relay. There is also another matchmaking mode called evacuation. This mode is the closest to anything resembling a storyline. In 5 days, you must evacuate as many survivors as possible, each day is a match type in itself.
The first mode is always Hunt, the other modes are Nest and Rescue. Nest has 6 eggs on the map, the monsters goal is to kill all the hunters before they can destroy all the eggs and possible A.I. monsters that the monster can hatch. Rescue starts with showing 2 survivors downed in a location. The hunters must revive and rescue them before the monster can kill them. After the first 2 are helped, 2 more show up, same thing happens. Finally 5 separate survivors appear on the HUD. Whomever gets 5 points first wins the match. The last day is always Defend, my personal favorite game mode. In Defend, players must stop A.I. controlled monsters and the player controlled monster itself from destroying 2 shield generators and finally a rescue ship.
The other part to this game mode is that after every match, there is a auto balance counter that makes the losing team slightly stronger in some fashion but also places a new obstacle for the losing party. I really enjoy this as it becomes more than just winning. You do not want that map disadvantage, some can be very annoying. But this is also very clever as it increases the stakes.
I’ve been mentioning the hunters and monsters, allow me to show you them and describe their skills;
The Assault Class is the damage dealer of the group and has a personal shield to protect from all incoming damage. Markov has a Lightning Gun that does not need to be aimed. He also has an assault rifle and Arc Mines. Hyde has a flamethrower that does lasting damage, a minigun and Toxic Grenades. Parnell has a combat shotgun and a multi fire rocket launcher, he can also use his Super Soldier ability which grants him increased movement speed and fire rate at the cost of some of his health.
The Trapper Class is the tracker of the group and has a mobile arena that traps the monster and forces it to fight. Maggie has a machine pistol and harpoon traps to tether the monster down, she is accompanied by her pet trapjaw Daisy. She can track the monsters movements as long as Maggie is right behind her. Griffin uses sound spikes to track the monsters movements and has a Gauss SMG and Harpoon Gun. Abe has a tracking dart pistol that can tag animals and the monster, but if the monster eats a tagged animal, it becomes tagged. He also has status grenades which slow the monster and a custom shotgun.
The Medic Class is the Healer of the team and has the ability of a healing burst that heals the Medic and surrounding teammates. Val uses a Medigun that heals one teammate at a time, a sniper rifle that exposes a weak point on the monster and allows x2 damage, and a tranquilizer gun that slows and tracks the monster for a short time. Lazarus has the Lazarus device which allows him to revive fallen teammates even after death. He also has a sniper rifle and personal invisibility shield. Caira has a primary weapon that fires 2 types of ammo, napalm grenades that do fire damage and healing grenades, she also has an acceleration field that gives enormous movement speed to her and teammates within the radius field.
The Support Class is the most unique in that all of the abilities each don't have a specific trait like the others. They all have a cloaking device that hides players from the monster for a short time. Hank uses a shield projector to protect any incoming damage to another player. He also carries a laser cutter and the ability to activate an orbital barrage, a series of rockets that slam on to one location. Bucket is a robot with a UAV scout to track and tag the monster for the team. He can deploy sentry guns that do damage to the monster as long as they are in range and finally a guided missile launcher. And lastly the leader of this ragtag group, Cabot. He has a dust tag that will show all creatures in its radius. He carries a rail canon that does massive damage and can shoot through objects and a damage amplifier that grants the other hunters 200% damage to whatever he is targeting.
The Monster Class is the antagonist of every match and a lone player experience. Each monster has a specific set of abilities it can do that are leveled up upon choice with each evolution. The Goliath has the ability to Rock Throw, Fire Breath, Leap Smash and Charge, all pretty self explanatory. The Kraken can fly and has Lightning Strike, a targeted ball of electricity that does a lot of damage if done well. Banshee Mines that track and follow a hunter and do a hefty amount of damage. Vortex which has a knock back blast that does a little damage. And lastly Aftershock that sends an electric shock to anyone within its radius. The Wraith is the stealthy one of the bunch, it has Abduction which does exactly as it says and is very jarring to the hunter. Warp Blast which teleports to a chosen location, releasing an explosion upon arrival. Decoy that splits off and acts as a distraction to the hunters because it can attack as well. And finally Supernova, releasing an explosion upon usage while also buffing its own damage and attack speed.
I do have a few gripes with the game. The first thing is how easy it is to take so much damage from animals on any given map. I get that to flesh out the world, they needed to make things seem alive and challenge the player but when an animal runs past me and hits me with an electric shock that takes a 4th of my health, it becomes very annoying. The A.I. in this game is very dim witted, you can play by yourself with all bots but the issue at hand is these guys shoot everything, why? It makes no sense and distracts from hunting the monster. I know that Turtle Rock is working on balancing issues for the game but the Wraith needs some serious balancing. It is supposed to be this weaker character with powerful attacks, a glass cannon if you will. However when its abilities recharge so fast that the supernova attack can take down a hunter completely in one usage, that’s ridiculous.
Overall this game is absolutely fun and a must play for anyone looking for a challenging multiplayer game. With 16 maps, 12 hunters and 3 monsters, no match is the same. You must think very strategically if you are to win. I do recommend playing with as many friends as you can or going to forums to find others to play with as this game is best with communication. I give Evolve an 8 out of 10.
What do you think of Evolve? What class and character is your favorite and why? Tell us in the comments below, on our Facebook Fan Page or tweet us @MissionStartP
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