Evolve PS4 Review
Publisher: 2K Games Developer: Turtle Rock Studios Genre: FPS, Action Players: 1-5
Age Rating: 16+ Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One
Turtle Rock Studios created something very special with Left 4 Dead. This was a game that encouraged teamwork, and there was just something very satisfying about slaying zombie after zombie with the assistance of up to three other players. The developer had a lot to live up to with their next creation, and Evolve is that game.
Like both Left 4 Dead games, Evolve eschews on the storytelling, and it’s more about getting straight into the action. Evolve also shares a number of other things with Left 4 Dead, one of the greatest series’ of multiplayer games ever released. The game has its spotlight on teamwork, and going off on your own will result in a message popping up on the screen, advising you to stick together, while listening to the team chatter will also help out, even if you or the other players aren’t using a headset. But that’s where the comparisons end, as Evolve also has an identity all of its own.
As opposed to legions of zombies, Evolve actually cuts down on the amount of enemies that you face. You can either play as a hunter or as one of three monsters; so it’s a team of hunters versus a large and powerful monster. Other creatures also roam the maps, and, whether you are playing as one of the hunters or the monster, killing some of them will give you a buff that may very well give you an advantage and help turn the tide of battle in your favour. There’s also more variety and tactical potential in terms of the characters than there is in the Left 4 Dead games.
When it comes to the hunters, Evolve has four different classes, of which are all played via first person view, and boast helpful jetpacks. There’s Assault, Support, Trapper and Medic. The Assault class obviously has you focussing on doing some serious damage with big guns and explosives, the Medic class has you healing others, Support encourages you to shield teammates and whatnot, and the Trapper is responsible for trapping and slowing the monster down. There are four classes of hunters, with three hunters in each class, which means there’s a total of 12 hunters in the base game, which is an impressive amount. Even more impressive is that they aren’t just re-skins, as each individual character has their own equipment and skills. Assault character Markov has a lightning gun, mines and an assault rifle for example, while fellow Assault character Hyde has a flamethrower, minigun and a toxic grenade. It’s certainly interesting to unlock the next character in each class in order to learn what type of equipment they have to their name in the tutorial video, and then to experiment with their toys yourself.
With all the above said about the impressive amount of hunters, it’s actually a bit disappointing that there are only three monsters included in the game. They’re varied, I’ll give them that, although one or two more certainly wouldn’t have gone amiss. Monsters (played via third person view) include Goliath, who can do everything from lobbing rocks to blowing fire, Wraith is able to quickly warp to targets and throw out a decoy clone, and Kraken is able to go airborne, and release electricity and mines from his body. As the hunters, one of these monsters is your main adversary in each match, and taking each of these creatures on is truly like being involved in a spectacular boss fight.
Being that they’re like bosses, monsters have a lot of health, while the hunters have a lot less health. The hunters do have the advantage of respawning after being killed though, just as long as the next dropship drops them back in before the entire team is wiped out, which results in a victory for the monster.
As for content, you’ll have to put a fair bit of time in to unlock it all. The game sensibly encourages you to make use of all of your weapons and abilities, as this in turn eventually unlocks extra hunters, monsters and perks. In terms of the hunters, you only begin with four available for selection, while there’s only one monster available from the outset.
Evolve has a total of four modes. Hunt mode has four hunters seeking out the monster, and then aiming to kill it. The monster can either attempt to go all out to kill all the hunters (leaving footprints and startling birds, which makes it a lot easier for the said hunters to track the beast down) or can opt to play things more carefully and quietly by offing the wildlife, and then eating their corpses, of which eventually allows you to evolve. As the monster, you start on level one, but you can evolve up to two levels more, with the creature becoming larger and more powerful. If you manage to evolve to level three in Hunt mode, it’s then a mad scramble for everyone to get to the power relay. The hunters must then protect it, while the mission of the monster is to do completely the opposite and destroy it. If you team up with players who use their individual skills in the way that they should, and if you are/go against a monster player who knows exactly what they are doing, then this mode can result in a fantastic struggle for the victory. The Nest mode on the other hand has the hunters tasked with destroying six eggs on the map, while the monster obviously protects them. If he wishes, the monster can hatch eggs to release minions to help out, and the hunters only earn the victory if they destroy all the eggs as well as any released minions, while the monster is given the victory by making sure to protect at least one egg, or by killing all the hunters. Then there’s the Rescue mode, in which the hunters have to rescue and extract injured colonists, while the monster attempts to pick them off. Finally, there’s the Defend mode. Defend has hunters defending power generators, while the monster attempts to destroy them to get to the power relay. As this mode throws in an army of monster minions as well, Defend is all out action from almost the beginning of the round, and it’s definitely the most chaotic of all of the modes.
The game includes a dynamic Evacuation campaign mode, of which has you fighting it out across five rounds. Each round represents a new day, and you’ll be playing the above modes, hoping to come out on top. Victories during a round will result in an advantage for you in the next round, which is a nice little touch. Hunters may get help from an AI colonist, or more birds may appear on the map for the monster to disturb for example. As for the monster, he may be given more corpses to feed on, or a minion may join him in the fight.
As I’ve already mentioned, the game can be played with up to five players at once in multiplayer, but unfilled player slots have the AI standing in until a player joins in and takes over control of the hunter or monster. In regard to the AI, I’m glad to say that it is more than capable enough, and AI hunters generally make themselves useful during the times that count, while the monster is oftern both cunning and deadly. And for those wondering, the game can indeed be played in uninterrupted single player in all the modes that can also be played in multiplayer.
Evolve is a piece of gaming brilliance. Teaming up and going against players who know what they are doing, and playing the game in the way it was meant to be played, makes for a wonderful and often memorable experience. The game is intense, exciting, and perfectly balanced, and there’s so much content hidden away that it may take you hours to unlock it all. In conclusion, Evolve is multiplayer gaming at its finest, and another triumph for the talented team at Turtle Rock Studios.