Earlier this month, Turtle Rock Studios and 2K Games released an Xbox One exclusive beta for their upcoming Evolve video game. This unique 4v1 first-person shooter generated several mixed reviews from both fans and critics alike shortly after the Big Alpha launched late last year.
After spending more time with the game, I now feel the need to chime in with my experiences and give you all a better idea of what to expect from the final product. Before I get started however, here is a quick overview of Evolve and why this title is a big deal in many people’s eyes.
For those who are unaware, Evolve is a new IP created by the same studio that brought us Left 4 Dead. The concept revolves around a team of hunters who square off against an ever-evolving race of vicious alien monsters.
The structure of the game is setup to accommodate up to four player-controlled hunters and one player-controlled monster across various cooperative and competitive multiplayer matchups. Players are able to pick which class they want most based on a 1-5 scale and are randomly assigned one of those classes before each matchup. Below is a quick description of each hunter and monster type to further emphasize all roles:
Assault –Hunters that specialize in dealing out the most damage with powerful weapons and shielding abilities.
Trapper – Hunters that primarily focus on tracking down and trapping the Monster.
Medic – Hunters who are responsible for keeping the team alive.
Support – Hunters who aid the rest of the team with a variety of tools and technology.
Monster – Four distinct creatures that use calculated attacks and evolve from one round to the next.
The open beta I participated in included a short tutorial and a campaign mode called Evacuation. Here are a few of my thoughts on these newly revealed features.
The Evolve tutorial mode revolved around me playing as a Goliath and quickly learning why the monster is essentially the most powerful faction in the game. I was able to destroy the environment and devour every single animal that got in my way. Participating in these activities is the easiest way to evolve the monster and unlock additional abilities along the way. Eventually this tutorial ended with me confronting the team of hunters and slaughtering them effortlessly one by one.
In theory, most games today lack a decent tutorial mode and this is at least one area that won’t be an issue for Evolve. On the flipside, this particular tutorial showcased just how deadly and overpowering monsters can be. This will easily cause favoritism among those who aim to pick the best class and may not necessarily make the prospects of playing as hunters quite as appealing in the long run.
Evacuation is best described as a dynamic campaign mode where the story is shaped around how players perform across 5 mission intervals. This mode can be played either cooperatively with friends or by one player with computer controlled teammates. Excelling in these matches usually allows players to progress their character mastery skills and unlock new perks and skins of different hunters.
After spending a great deal of time with this mode, there are a few glaring issues that came to mind. For starters, to achieve the best results fully requires that your teammates be on the same skill level as you. In most of my matchups, my teammates were horrible and this led to us losing 9 times out 10 in our skirmishes with the monster. It should be noted time and time again that teamwork is essential in games like these and fans should take note of this before deciding to spend their hard earned money on this title.
The other major concern that I have for the game right now is the lack of content and replayability factor once this mode is complete. While it’s worth noting that the game has four different game modes besides this one, there are only three unlockable hunter skins per class and four monster types (one of which is a preorder bonus right now). This means that the game runs the risk of getting old fairly quickly if the developers don’t release enough content to keep it fresh after launch.
Turtle Rock Studios decision to release this open beta was a good idea because it finally showed us more of what Evolve has to offer. While both the gameplay and art style are engaging, the issue of longevity and need for skillful players simply cannot be stated enough.
In many ways, this game feels like this year’s version of Titanfall and that isn’t necessarily a good thing. At the end of the day, the amount of content in this game and how it’s supported after launch will ultimately determine how long it lasts in gamer’s minds. Stay tuned for our full review of the game in the weeks ahead.
Evolve launches worldwide on February 10th for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.