Based on the first phase I was honestly going to pass the game up. It was a mess, and what little I did get to play wasn’t working too well. With the second, well everything was fixed, and while we still had some restrictions to it, the game was a ton of fun!
The game’s initial description is that this is basically Turtle Rock’s standard Left 4 Dead with a new enemy. You have 4 players face off against a player as a monster, and it sound rather simplistic. I am not a Left 4 Dead fan, but there was something about Evolve keeping so much attention that it kept my interest this long. So I kept giving it a try and I slowly learned why this game is being so praised before it even releases.
The truth is that while the game does sound rather simplistic, it has a lot of complex ideas hidden underneath. Being the monster for example sounds simple. Run around, kill the hunters, wreck havoc, etc… Well actually the game starts teaching you right away that the monster can actually do a lot more than that. You can sneak around, direct the hunters the wrong way, and overall you attempt to get to level 3 before you get captured. The way the game is built makes you feel like you are constantly running and constantly having someone around you, which you are, but you have no idea what is around the corner at any moment. Then when the battle breaks out you need to strategize on the go before you get taken down. It was interesting that the monsters were dynamic and were not straight power house characters that destroyed the hunters.
As hunters things become even more complex. Let’s face facts here, you are not going to be Rambo and take down this beast all by yourself. This normally is a bad sign for me since I don’t normally play with friends, so forcing me on a co-op team normally mans ultimate doom for a title. Yet here I am playing with 3 complete strangers and almost every single game we are cooperating in ways that I couldn’t imagine. If someone has a microphone or you do play with friends, then the fun is even more intense. Yet, when teams don’t work together it becomes clear when a monster obliterates us all.
Then there is the whole back end system to it all. Hunters have 4 classes that are unique to their own. You have the standard fill of medic, support, or whatever, but each one has special perks and abilities to help the team. The better you are at using these, the better the battle will go, and the more you will level up. If you level up enough stuff you earn new and better perks, or different characters with more perks. Even the monster has this upgrade system and it’s super thrilling to simply do support tasks to level up a character.
The only issue I had was that you will clearly be better at certain classes, and the game knows it. I believe the support and assault class will be the most popular class. You get a big gun, and your job is to basically shoot, and there isn’t much more to it. Assault was my class of choice and I only got to play it a few times. I wasn’t too fond of Support because it felt too simplistic to me, yet I kept getting selected for it constantly and it wasn’t my second choice. Medic was rather challenging to me, and I didn’t quite grasp it, so when I was medic we normally lost big. I sadly didn’t get a chance to play as Trapper at all. The problem with getting classes you don’t want is that you won’t know how to play it for a while, and you won’t level up correctly at all. Thus higher level players will easily separate themselves from the pack.
The class as a whole need to work together and this is when things become fun. Everyone helps track the monster in some way and you slowly come across it. Depending on how well your team is tracking will determine how easy it is to take down the monster. If you take too long, it will become too powerful and odds will be against you. I loved the end game lobby that showcases all the hunters and monster on a map and then it showcases how the tracking went. You can see the team working together, or how the monster fooled you.
Overall I do have some worry regarding upcoming DLC for Evolve because I feel the higher ranked monsters were rather overwhelming, and handing them out to players for a fee feels like it will offset the matchmaking. Yet we have been told that won’t happen, so I’m hoping that it doesn’t. All that being said, I went from meh to wanting this game. It seems to have found a way to make Left 4 Dead fun for people like me, and I simply couldn’t stop playing it!
Evolve releases February 10th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. We played the game on the PS4!