By Dennis "CallMeBackdraft" Aspers on February 28, 2015
Which part will you play in the battle that is waged on the planet Shear? Will you hunt or become the hunted? Choose your side and join the hunt.
That is the choice you have to make each time you are going to play a game of Evolve, a game developed by Turtle Rock studios and published by 2K. Will you enlist in a team of hardcore monster hunters, or play as one of three available monsters. Whatever your choice will be, you better make sure you learn, use and abuse tactics to slay your opponent(s).
If you choose to be one of the hunters, you are immediately confronted with a second choice you'll have to make; what role will you take within the team. Will you be on assault duty, carrying around the big guns, or a medic whose main objective is to keep his or her teammates alive? Will you be the trapper who is the absolute best at tracking monsters and pinning them down, or will you run around as support and help teammates hit harder, escape danger, and rain down death on the Monster.
When playing as one of the hunters you soon find out it is really important to stick together and especially work together; your team is really only as strong as its weakest link. Next to teamwork, speed is also important; find, trap and kill the monster as fast as possible, if you want to have any chance of survival. This is mainly because of the fact that (in most game modes) when a monster gets time to hunt for wildlife, it will quickly build up armor and evolve. The more evolved a monster is, the harder it hits and all the more difficult it is to slay.
If you choose to be a monster, at first you'll have only one monster at your disposal: the Goliath. After gaining one star for all of the Goliaths abilities you can also choose the Kraken. And last but not least; if you complete the same for the kraken as for the goliath, you will have the option to play as the Wraith. For a monster it is important to evolve all the way up to stage three as fast as possible, without drawing unwanted attention to yourself. This is mainly achieved by feeding on the wildlife roaming around on the planet. One word of advice though, use stealth as much as possible whilst working your way up to stage 3, in stage 1 and 2, your abilities are limited as is your health and strength. So use tricks like first running one way and then sneaking away in the other. The sneaking part is as equally, if not more important as the running, because when you (as the monster) are sneaking, you won't scare birds or leave tracks.
Letís take a look at the monsters and learn about their strengths and weaknesses. This could just help you choose more wisely when deciding which monster to play as:
Of the three available monsters the Goliath is considered to be the most balanced in terms of damage and maneuverability. Compared to the other two monsters Goliath has the ability to pack on the most armor and is normally used in combat as something of a close combat bruiser, absorbing tons of damage with his armor while dishing out damage at close range with melee attacks and special abilities.
This mighty beast is most affective at long range. Of the three monsters available, the Kraken has access to the most long range attacks that donít move him closer to his target when used. Also, while he does have access to more armor than the Wraith, he does not have the ability to pack on the same amount of armor as Goliath, meaning he shouldnít be used to rush into close combat with hunters unless forced to do so.
The Wraith plays very differently than the other two Monsters, preferring stealth and subterfuge to full on attacks. It also has the ability to teleport, often with a hunter in tow, effectively separating them from their pack and making it easier to take them out one at a time.
This spring, a 4th monster will be joining the fray. It is said to be the biggest and baddest of them all and will apparently go by the name of: The Behemoth. And if everything they are saying about this new monster, that name should be right on the nose.
Let's talk game modes; when you start a game you get two choices. Do you want to play a single mission or do you want to play a full on evacuation. If you choose the latter, you will be presented with 5 missions back to back and winning or losing will determine how the next one starts out. Every time you win a match, there is a campaign effect applied to the next map you choose. The effect you get is determined by what type of mission you win and on which map the mission was played. This can range from a team of soldiers fighting on your side to fully automatic base defense turrets. This system works the same if a Monster wins. The effect however, will of course be beneficial for the monster.
Turtle rock states that there are 800.000 variables that when combined, create the effect used, so to discover them all, you will just have to keep playing missions over and over again. But let it be said that this is no penalty, it's actually very enjoyable.
To get a better idea of what this means, take a look at the image below.
Before the start of a mission in evacuation mode, a voting will start to determine which map and what mission will be played next. There are a total of 4 mission types that can be played:
a race for the Monster to eat enough within the environment to evolve to stage 3, and find the power relay on the map to destroy the objective. Throughout this entire scenario, the Hunters and Monster play a game of cat-and-mouse, hoping to kill for a quick victory.
Nest mode has the Monster player protecting its brood, randomly scattered all over the map, while the Hunters are out to scramble some alien eggs. If the Monster is able to get to the eggs, it has the option to hatch one of them into a minion. This minion is a stage 1 Goliath that runs around, drawing the Hunters' attention away from the Monster player. The Hunters win when all the eggs and minions are destroyed, or when they kill the monster. The monster wins if all Hunters are dead.
Injured colonists trying to escape the Monsters are placed randomly on the map. Hunters need to locate, revive and protect them as they make their escape. Monsters need to munch on as many of these colonists as possible and keep them from getting away. Whoever saves (or kills, if you play as the monster) the majority of the colonists, wins.
After carving your way through four matches, it's time for the final showdown! This is it; the last stand. Winner takes all. If youíre playing from the Hunter perspective, youíre desperately trying to defend the Evacuation point while your ship is fueling up for escape. As a Monster, youíre leading hordes of Goliath minions as you attack the Evacuation point in waves. Will the Monsters break through and destroy everything? Or will the colonists get away in time?
While Evolve presents us with a single player mode, we would specify it more as training for multiplayer, there is no real campaign in the classic sense. So donít expect a riveting story that sweeps you off your feet.
The gameplay in Evolve is new and refreshing. Following tracks, dead animals or fleeing birds to find the beasts that are terrorizing the planet or trying to get your monster to stage 3 by eating the wildlife you have just crushed under a rock is a lot of fun. Whether youíre playing as a Hunter or as the Monster really doesnít matter, both are equally satisfying. So gear up, the hunt is on!