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Evolve (PC) Review

"Will this be the precursor for a growing series or just some one-shot flop?"

True horror is not all jump scares and creepy creatures, it’s subtle, sublime, and unexpected. In this case, Evolve has horror as a hidden element wherein the monster not only offers jump scares and dons a creepy visage but you can rarely predict it. The monster is nearly unpredictable because the human playing it could be the epitome of randomness. This and more makes Evolve fun, engaging, challenging, and just a bit scary.

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Turtle Rock Studios sought to develop a new formula for gameplay which would inspire a unique experience preceding each victory and defeat. They succeeded. Evolve offers hours, even days, of enticement by utilizing the asymmetrical 4v1 equation which remains the core regardless of the game mode. Four ways to play are available for players to go head-to-head against fellow humans and/or AI controlled bots. Each mode is easily summed up as follows: Hunt = 4v1 Deathmatch, Nest = 4v1 + 1 AI “baby” Goliath, Rescue = Escort for hunters or free Monster meals, and Defend = MOBA lite. The matches can be easier or more difficult depending on your choices, your skill, and your teamwork.

For those who find their skills as either a 3rd person action or FPS player to be lacking, prepare to lose. Within Evolve are two ways to control your character, 3rd person action as the monster and FPS for hunters. Not only does this change the game, your chosen role and character alters how you will be helpful or destructive. Currently there exists three Monsters and each differs greatly from its kaiju-like cousins. The hunters attempt to keep things simple, but there is complexity through simplicity. With four roles, Assault, Medic, Support, and Trapper, you will hunt down and attempt to kill a monster through different mechanics. Assault focuses purely on dealing damage, Medic keeps the team alive as much as possible, Support assists by keeping the Monster on edge and maintains the flow of damage in your team’s favor, and Trapper tracks and pins down the Monster when possible. Want more complications?

Within each role are three characters that greatly differ from each other in how they succeed in executing their role. For example, there exists Val, Lazarus, and Caira for Medics. Val heals from close up or at a distance with a healing beam, tranqs to slow and reveal the Monster, and creates weak points via an armor piercing sniper rifle. Lazarus raises the dead back to life, can cloak himself from the Monster’s senses, and is also able to create weak points. Caira wields a dual purpose grenade launcher which can fire napalm grenades or healing grenades, and when the hunting party needs a speed boost she can engage her Acceleration Field which increases movement speed to those around her. All three can heal, all three help the team through different means, and all three are worth unlocking.

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Now the veteran gamer you will assume that you unlock other characters via experience earned, which is earned by simply playing the game. This assumption will prove what happens when you assume, with an emphasis on the first three letters. You unlock characters by completing three goals per character that are akin to achievements, though a few are incredibly simple others are frustratingly annoying. For each Assault character you need to only inflict damage to anything with all three of your weapons. The frustration comes from certain characters such as Maggie. Maggie must follow her faithful companion Daisy, aka Ruva, in order to unlock Griffin, the following Trapper. This may not seem like a chore, but this means blindly following Daisy regardless of where the monster is or where your teammates are going. There is no other way to bypass this irritation.

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Aside from that hurdle, and the usual problems such as issues with connectivity and proper balancing with certain characters, this game is superb. It is truly refreshing when you find that players work together as a team to earn victory or fall as a failed attempt at relying on each other. The monster functions as a solitary creature which must rely on stealth, maneuverability, deception, and its abilities or else it will surely become a bullet ridden corpse. The fact that each game remains enshrouded in mystery as far as how it will play out makes this game incredibly fun, exhilarating, and worth all the cursing in vain you will sputter as you lose, once again, to yet another Wraith.

Rating
8.5
Pros
  • The 4v1 asymmetrical formula makes teamwork and solo play work hand-in-hand.
  • Each character and role differs greatly yet each is fun and exciting.
  • The game may lack any real sense of story for a background but they do feel fleshed out during pre-game banter.
  • The maps feel appropriately sized with well placed routes to allow for escaping as well as chasing.
  • The controls are intuitive and easy to understand, the execution however differs depending on your character.
Cons
  • Unlocking characters via achievement-like goals is irritating and can break the player's focus.
  • Minor, yet not unexpected, connectivity issues can occur.
  • Certain characters, one monster in particular, require balancing.

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