Preview: Evolve

Evolve looks great from it’s trailers and takes a unique approach to games that has rarely been seen before, pitting four human classes against one gigantic monster. Time will tell if the game manages to survive the hype and provides a multiplayer experience worth plonking $80 for, but the preview on hand at EB Expo was a great experience.

Team work is a major focus here, playing as one of the four hunters you are designated one role and expected to stick to it if you wish to complete your goal successfully. A Medic obviously heals the team, Assault deals the most damage to the monster, Support lays down support to the Assault class and the Hunter tracks down the monster. I was playing the Hunter for this demonstration as we tracked down the Kraken. I could lay down multiple sound spikes for the monster to trip for us to locate him and once located I could even create a small arena dome which forces the monster into a fight. I should mention that there are different variants of each class including the monsters.

When we spawned the monster was already at a few seconds advantage, trying his best to stealthy sneak around and feast on the local wild life to level up to this ultimate goal of level 3, if the monster does manage to level up to that stage, brace yourself as the fight is coming too you.

The controls felt tight and responsive which is to be expected from Turtle Rock Studios. But what really blew me out of the water was the incredibly rich world you track the monster in. We explored a dark forest that was not only vast and wide but incredibly vertical in size, the team had to manage their rechargeable jet packs well to navigate this map. There were subtle cues to the environment as to where the monster had been such as if he had startled some birds, foot prints but also the corpses of the wildlife he feasted on to evolve into a much more stronger adversary.

The monster you hunt isn’t your only danger in this world. The local fauna is just as deadly, hiding in ponds, bushes even inside human built environments just waiting to get their next meal, you! Killing select fauna can also reward the players with upgrades and weapons, I was told by my host.

Team work really is essential, I cannot stress this enough. We had finally tracked down our monster and I engaged the mobile area forcing the fight at his stage 2 of 3 progression. We were progressively dealing damage to the monstrosity as our medic kept us fighting fit after receiving multiple devastating attacks from the monster. All of a sudden the monster disappeared, the game had bugged out and forced the monster to straight up escape from my arena, requiring a restart and an extended hands on session.

When we got back into things, it was the same old pattern, track down the monster and annihilate it. As a team we had got our bearings and this time tracked down the monster exceptionally quick at his stage one form. As we began the battle we were asked to stop as once again the game had bugged but for us the monster was still on screen. I took this opportunity to get up close with the monster and really study the way the Kraken looked. The amount of vivid detail in this being is fantastic. Every small wrinkle in what I can only assume leathery skin was present and every tentacles knuckle was captured perfectly. I really should have taken the chance to decimate my oppositions health bar because all of a sudden it sprung back to life and managed to escape. Leveling up to its maximum and then eliminating us hunters one by one as we futility tried to defend a safe point,  with that the  demo ended.

I was really excited going into this game and got to the point where prior to the demo starting I may have even been a touch nervous. Although the game bugged out on me twice, it didn’t affect my stance on this game, I still really enjoyed the experience. The strategy, the team work, the dangers of the world, the uniqueness to it all and most importantly how quickly the predator can become the prey. I am looking forward to this game and quite honestly expecting some big things with an outstanding array of DLC post release. Evolve launches Feb 10th 2015.