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First Impressions – Evolve

Turtle Rock Studios has been rather quiet since they dropped two big hits on us in the form of Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. But now they’re back with one of the most unique and original multiplayer shooters you can find. The entire Free For All staff has had a chance to spend a little time with the game now, and we’re here to tell you what we think! So without further ado…

Evolve 3

 

Evan Swafford

It’s rare that a game lives up to the lofty expectations that I have built up in my head like I did with Evolve. Yet somehow, Evolve has met and exceeded them. It offers one of the best multiplayer experiences that I have ever had. I think what surprised me the most is how smart it is. The level design is brilliant. The lush jungle environment provides the perfect setting as it offers plenty of cover and obstacles, as well as a verticality to the gameplay that is crucial to the gameplay. Never has teamwork been made so important in a FPS. Each class of hunter works in perfect harmony with the other, and when you communicate, you become a devastating team and the fun multiplies exponentially.

What I love most about the game is its balance and accessibility. The wildlife offers both crucial advantages and disadvantages whether you are the monster or the hunter, and it constantly keeps you on your toes. This game can literally be played by anyone, as the control scheme is easy to pick up and well explained. There is a character for everyone too. With three monsters available, and more on the way, and four classes of hunters with three characters each, every type of player will find that a certain character in each class feels natural for their style of gameplay. And unlike most FPS’s, players that pick up the game a month after it has been out will not be at a great disadvantage against more experienced players. Whether you are a highly skilled monster or hunter, you never feel as though a win is a for sure thing. I have played with the exact same team against the exact same player controlling the exact same monster in back to back games. We were destroyed the first match and dominated the second. Whether it’s a different level, a more strategic fighting spot, or the wildlife steps in, there is something that will always change the dynamic. And that is the sign of a truly great game. And that is exactly what Evolve is.

The only complaints that I have are that when you want to play with a party against other online players in a single match, you are limited to only one game mode for now. Also, there are still some server and matchmaking issues. But I am sure that they will continue to improve over time and that matchmaking and game modes will be tweaked. The flaws are easily overlooked however, as the positives and the pure fun MASSIVELY outweigh them. This is a game that I plan on playing for a long time to come.

 Trey Elliott

I’m not one for multiplayer first-person shooters. I have never done much with Call of Duty other than the single-player campaign, and other first-person games tend to be big exceptions if I love them (i.e. Far cry 4). So initially I wasn’t super excited for Evolve. That is, until I got my hands on it last September at GameStop’s Expo 2014. It only took one match to know that this game was something special, and now that’s it’s finally here, I’m happy to say I think I was quite right! This game has two sides, the hunters and the monster, and both present very unique styles of play. I have only played as the monster a handful of times, and while I think the design is superb, I can’t say I’m a fan of playing it myself.

What I am a fan of though, is playing as the hunters. I have played mostly the Assault and Medic classes, though I’ve dabbled with all four. What really made me fall in love with the game is the teamwork aspect. I don’t think I have ever played a game that so heavily relies on teamwork and communication. The feeling of success you get after using planning and strategy effectively to neutralize the monster is like little else I’ve experienced.

Add to all of this a solid lineup of characters, abilities, and weapons, and you get a game with a great hook and a ton of content, all for the low, low price of $60. Don’t believe everything you hear about the game’s DLC issues. Most are optional, cosmetic skins, and the few that aren’t, are priced at a good value. Do yourself a favor and get this game and a few reliable friends, you won’t regret it!

Evolve 1

Chuck Nalley

I have been excited about Evolve ever since it was announced early in 2014. The style of the game overall, mixed with the intriguing 4v1 combat, made for some potentially exciting gameplay. I was also super excited since I loved the previous series of games from Turtle Rock Studios, Left 4 Dead, this seemed like a killer combination and a lock for most anticipated for 2014. Well, the game was pushed to 2015 and I was kind of nervous. Then, after playing the “Big Alpha”, there was so many server issues that it was hard to play at all. Then the Beta came out…awww, snap! It was fun, fast paced and matches were easy to get into. I was back on board.

The good in this game is all to easy to point out. The action is just nonstop fun; from the moment your Hunter team or Monster touches down, it’s balls to the wall. The real hook here is to either get to the Monster before he gets to Stage 2 or vice versa. Every time the Monster gains a level, it is WAY harder to kill. Pro Tip: If you’re the Monster and get trapped, it is better to flee than fight it you’re getting worked…listen to the Trapper say “Arena’s coming down” and haul arse! Something that I was worried about was the balancing between Monster vs Hunters and the Hunter classes themselves. However, Turtle Rock outdid themselves here. Global stats have the matches at about even in regards to Hunters vs Monsters, which is saying something. In the alpha and beta, no one (and I mean NO ONE) wanted to play as the medic; she had no way to defend herself and she was always the first to fall. Now, I love being the medic. SO much depends on having a good medic on your team; its high pressure, but very rewarding. Speaking of high pressure, every moment as the Monster (whether you’re the high attack/high defend Goliath, the elusive but deadly Kraken or the ethereal Wraith) is super tense. However, when you squish that last Hunter…it doesn’t get much better!

The bad isn’t as prevalent, but are present nonetheless. The biggest one is the matchmaking. There are still problems here and there shouldn’t be with all the testing that went on. With a game that is 99% online…well, let’s just say that these (albeit minor) problems need to be corrected promptly. Also, the AI on the Solo stuff is a nightmare; it takes everything I have to even be competitive as either the Monster or with the Hunters. The enemy is just so damn efficient! Lastly, the wildlife. Good lord. The wildlife in this game is just as bad, or worse in some situations, as the Monster. I can’t tell you, in just a week, how many times my team has been utterly destroyed by the environment and not even see the Monster…it’s infuriating but can be used to the Monster’s advantage if you’re smart enough.

Overall, this game is great. The vast amount of nuances and strategies is to a scale that rarely, if ever, been seen in a console game. The experience is crazy fun and the post game smack talk is an absolute blast. I’m hoping, but not expecting, that the online community stays strong enough to last through the delay in DLC content…it would be a shame if people stopped playing this game in a month (cough*Titanfall*cough). B<cough). regardless,=”” <span=”” class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=”” data-mce-bogus=”1″>uy this game and have a blast!

Josh Barnett

Evolve is an extremely addictive asymmetric multiplayer shooter that focuses heavily on cooperation and communication. While it’s incredibly fun, it does have its flaws. The game throws so much information at players that it’s easy to be consistently overwhelmed and frustrated. It’s easy to get turned around in the world and the HUD has issues where it can sometimes become prone to being confusing.

There are balancing issues when playing against specific monsters that have large advantages at a base level over its human counterparts, and the environment can be more of a hindrance than a playground. But in the end, when you’re playing with friends, it’s hard to match the enjoyment and satisfaction of everyone playing their roles properly and combining to take out an opponent as a team.

Evolve 2

Torrey Barnett

I haven’t gotten to play as much of this game as I’d like to, that being said, the short amount of time I have spent with the game has been phenomenal. The game does co-op perfectly and the gameplay is balanced very well. With their stellar plan for DLC (releasing maps for free, hunters and monsters extra and not everyone has to have the DLC) I’m looking forward to seeing the gameplay evolve with the introduction of new elements in the future.

Andrew Boone

Evolve is a tough game to call. On the one hand, despite a plethora of game modes and character variation, some people will find the game gets repetitive quickly, but others will find that what the game does, it does very well indeed. If you’re looking for a competitive game to sink your teeth into and start climbing leaderboards, then Evolve will be a feast for you; but if you’re after gripping plotlines and gameplay variation, then you may find the plate a little scarce. The graphics are beautiful, dark and brooding, and varied between the environments with awesome weather effects and smooth frame rates at all times. The game’s audio is also an absolute delight, varying between tense and gripping tracks to bombastic and powerful as required. Also, when a Stage 3 Goliath hurls a boulder or leap-smashes the hunters, you don’t just hear it, you feel it.

Evolve really is one of those games that I can give my opinion on, but it feels entirely subjective and may be entirely different for you. For me though, the gameplay and sense of teamwork with myself and my friends puts this game in a league of its own.

 

About Trey Elliott

Trey Elliott
Trey is a video game enthusiast, movie junkie, and cultivator of one fantastic beard. He loves to write original Gregorian chants, play the spoon harp, and speak of whatever comes to mind on the Free For All podcast.