In just under two weeks, Evolve will launch around the world. It’s a game that’s received critical acclaim and a ridiculous amount of hype. But not all games are for all people. Here is a rundown of the various game elements and who they might appeal to; hopefully, this helps you decide if it’s the type of thing you might like.
First up, a disclaimer. I have been very open about the fact that this game was not on my radar at all. Then, 2K were kind enough to come all the way down to South Africa and let a select group of journalists play the game in its early build. I snuck my way in (Geoff was supposed to be the only one of us going) and had an absolute ball with the game – it’s not my usual genre but I just can’t get enough. So, while I’m a fan and have enjoyed my numerous hands-on opportunities, I do recognize it’s not for everyone. Here’s why.
Best for: shooter and multiplayer fans
Worst for: those who can’t cooperate and offline gamers
Evolve is built around asymmetrical multiplayer. With four players facing up against one player-controlled boss/monster, the game are fast paced and exciting. Players are forced to play to their role – the medic is completely different to the assault or support and must be played accordingly or the whole team could fail. Due to the various roles and the need for close cooperation, this aspect of the game only works if all the players communicate. As a result, those people who prefer to play without a headset or listening to the other participants may find this gameplay too social, particularly if you choose to be matched with strangers instead of playing with friends. I have never played with strangers who weren’t journalists at events, and I worry that the game might not work too well with the usual trolls of the internet.
Playing as the monster is a lonely and terrifying experience as you must eat and evolve while knowing that a team of four other players are hunting you throughout the entire game. Additionally, this role has the added pressure that the whole game relies on you – if you’re a lame and useless monster, the match will be over quickly and the whole experience will feel lackluster. If, however, you are hard to find and give the hunters a real challenge, it can be an exciting and desperate scramble for both sides.
Be aware that randomized multiplayer will run through a server which may mean that you’ll experience lag (servers will be overseas). In general, the targets are big enough (have you seen Goliath?) that even with a slight delay you should still have a fun experience with the game. Peer to peer multiplayer is also an option, but you will need someone with a fast enough line to host for everyone, especially if you’re playing with a full contingent of five players.
Best for: lone wolf gamers
Worst for: variety, multiplayer fans
I really enjoy the single player. It is a great way to get a better feel for the game and experiment with various techniques. Plus, the AI is actually really intelligent, and there are options to ramp up the difficulty further if you’re not feeling enough of a challenge. I will never forget playing as the monster and finding that the hunters had set a trap for me involving dead prey and harpoon traps. Definitely something I decided that I wanted to try when playing as the hunters next.
Of course, it isn’t the same experience as playing in multiplayer. You will need to chop and change between the various hunters if you aren’t happy with how the AI is functioning and there isn’t the camaraderie and social fulfillment that can be achieved from playing the game with others. The gameplay itself is still enough fun on its own to be enjoyable, especially thanks to the various modes and maps.
Best for: patient people, those who enjoy the game and play it a lot
Worst for: impatient people, those with a preferred tier 2/3 hunter/monster
When I flew to London, I fell in love with the Wraith. She instantly became my favorite hunter – working perfectly with my preferred play style. Unfortunately, I couldn’t use her when I first loaded up the Beta. Instead, I had to grind through unlocking her by playing enough games with Goliath and then Kraken. It’s not just about playing enough games, though – you have to deal damage with each of the four monster skills in order to eventually unlock the next monster.
The same is true with the hunters. This means that I can’t play with my medic of choice (Caira) until leveling up Val and Lazarus. While playing as the other hunters or monsters is fun, it can be frustrating if that particular one doesn’t fit with your normal play style. I understand that they didn’t want to overwhelm players with all the hunters and monsters at the start, but the skills required to become good with Goliath are extremely different to those necessary for Kraken or Wraith – leveling up the one doesn’t mean that you will actually be good at the next one.
Best for: replayability
Worst for: predictability
No two games of Evolve are the same. Even if players choose the exact same combinations of hunters and monsters (which is unlikely), each map and mode completely changes the gameplay experience. You simply can’t play a game of Rescue mode or Defend in the same way you do Hunt. Each mode requires a different strategy. Add to that the various maps and map effects and you’ve got a varied and replayable game.
Of course, if you’re looking for a game that will offer predictably repeatable gameplay, this is not that game. Sometimes you will find a map that is particularly challenging as monster or hunter, especially when map effects are in play. As a result, some players may feel that there is an unfair advantage or disadvantage or difficult in preparing for that exact experience. This is meant to keep you on your toes, but not all gamers might enjoy that.
Best for: die hard fans, those who want particular hunters/monsters
Worst for: old-school gamers who want to only pay once
DLC is a tricky topic for Evolve. They wanted to offer a variety of hunters and monsters to players. At the same time, they know that as people play the game, they will get used to the options available and get bored. This will lead to them moving on to other games. In order to extend the life of the game, Turtle Rock has extra hunters and monsters up their sleeves, for an added price.
I will not be purchasing the season pass. I have no interest in getting all the hunters and monsters. Instead, I will wait for characters who particularly interest me and sound like fun to play and buy them if I’m that keen. The base 12 hunters and three monsters are already plenty of variety, but if I eventually get tired of them, I will buy those that fit my play style. However, for those who want to play as all the things, of course the full DLC will be worthwhile. I’m just not that person.
Finally, remember to pick a platform to play on where you’l have the maximum opportunities to play with friends. Don’t worry about console wars or PC remaster race – in the end you will want to play with friends and should find the place that will be best to do that. Of course, this might mean that you don’t play on your actual platform of choice, limiting your real zeal for the game. It’s a choice you will have to make.
Last Updated: January 30, 2015