If you haven’t heard of Evolve, I wouldn’t really blame you. Developed by Turtle Rock Studios, Evolve released all the way back in 2015 for PC and last-gen consoles and was summarily lost in the conversation that surrounded many of the big-hitters which released that year including The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Metal Gear Solid V, Rocket League and Fallout 4, to name just a few. One of the first asymmetrical online multiplayer efforts on the market, Evolve was an innovative PvPvE FPS that was way ahead of its time and certainly deserved a better fate than being delisted from basically every digital front it was originally featured on. Here’s why.
What Was Evolve All About?
Evolve was an online multiplayer first-person shooter that whisked players off to an alien planet and forced them into a fight for survival as either a gargantuan Monster seeking dominance, or a one of a team of Hunters that have been dispatched to slay said big beastie. It was a straightforward concept for sure, but Evolve integrated enough sophistication and depth into that design bedrock to make its PvPvE FPS shenanigans feel truly exceptional.
One Of The Earliest Implementations Of The Hero System
More than a full year before Overwatch would make its world-dominating debut, Evolve assembled a full and varied line-up of hero characters for players to get their teeth into. Not only do Hunters find their hero roster spread across four different class types – Assault, Medic, Support and Trapper, but there are also variations of those roles which when taken together with a range of special abilities that are unique to each Hunter, truly makes each of them feel unique. The Monsters too also feel utterly bespoke, with a vast range of different strengths and weaknesses, defensive and aggression roles, special attacks and so on to really differentiate one from the other. Sure, while Evolve did launch with a fair share of balancing issues in the early going (which hero shooter hasn’t?), the team at Turtle Rock Studios did a good enough job over the long-term making each class feel rewarding and suitably fair.
Evolve Made The Hunters Feel And Play Like Hunters
As Hunters the idea is to track down the Monster before it consumes enough of the local wildlife to reach stage three, at which point it’ll gain exponentially in strength, stamina and acquire a range of devastating new abilities. Put simply, trying to kill a stage three Monster is an almost impossible feat and so the Hunters must do everything in their power to make sure matters don’t escalate to such a degree in the first place. As the Hunter team, tracking down the Monster before this happens isn’t so straightforward as just cutting across the map until you find them, instead Evolve makes you work for your quarry and in doing so leverages a number of real-life hunting aspects to satisfyingly bring this side of the game to life.
Luckily, a talented team of Hunters has ample opportunity to prevent the Monster from reaching stage three. From massive footprints in the soil, to leftover half-eaten carcasses, distant sounds and the sight of a flock of birds being disturbed, there is no shortage of methods that Hunters can use to track down their monstrous opposition. Certainly doing so, especially against an experienced Monster player, remains one of the most satisfying moments you can savour in an online multiplayer game.
Playing As The Monster Surprisingly Combines Stealth And Strategy To Great Effect
As the Monster, the dynamic changes entirely. Rather than rushing to confront your foes when you’ll be at your weakest, sharp-minded Monster players will want to put as much distance between them and the Hunters as possible, all the while chewing up as many smaller creatures as possible to fortify your strength ahead of a transformation to the next stage of your evolution. Doing this however is much easier said than done, as you’ll need to be able to read the movements of the Hunters as well as avoiding a range of natural hazards in the environment which might give away your position, or worse still, gravely injure your fresh-faced beast. Of course the reward to successfully pulling off all this balancing act is that you gain access to the Monster’s third stage, whereupon the dynamic shifts again and now it’s the Hunters that are forced to flee from you, as your seemingly unstoppable monstrous form rampages through the map in search of a definitive victory.
A World That Constantly Wants To Kill You
In a fashion similar to the also excellent PvPvE offering Hunt: Showdown, Evolve’s battles and Monster hunts unfold in a world filled with all manner of flora and fauna that would love nothing more than to usher you toward a fatal end. While the Hunters and the Monster have plenty to keep each other busy simply owing to their mutual hatred for one another, it would be folly to ignore the omnipresent threat that the alien planet of Shear presents to both parties.
Though there are plenty of non-threatening creatures that can be found across the surface of Shear (and it’s often these critters which prove to be a reliable meal for fledgling Monsters), everything else will have your face off in short order given half the chance. From the massive armoured Megamouth to the crocodile-like Cephalodon, danger exists everywhere for both the Hunters and the Monster. Even at stage three, while the absolutely colossal Levithaian won’t be able to kill the monster outright (even though it matches most stage three monsters in size), its vast health reserves mean that during an intense fight with a group of veteran Hunters, such a beast could prove to be a fatal distraction.
Evolve’s Evacuation Mode Is A Tug Of War Scenario Without Equal
Though Evolve is plenty enjoyable in its default hunt game mode, it’s really the Evacuation mode that stands out as one of the best things about the Turtle Rock Studios developed effort. In Evacuation, there are five matches that are joined together with cinematic cutscenes which dynamically tell a story depending on which side wins which match and which side, Hunters or the Monster, is ultimately victorious.
In Evacuation mode individual wins and losses in each match also mean more than just alternating cinematic flourishes, since the winning side will gain a unique advantage that they’ll take with them into the next match. If the Monster wins a match for example, it might gain thicker armour in the next round, whereas if the Hunters gain a victory, they might get access to automated turrets which will help them pile the hurt onto the Monster in the next battle.
Regardless of how the first four rounds in Evacuation go, every fifth and final round eschews the usual hunt style gameplay in favour of a defensive round where the Hunters and Monster are forced into a final death struggle. Here, the Hunters must defend the last standing human base on Shear and also keep themselves alive into the bargain, while the Monster must destroy absolutely everything and everyone in order to succeed. It really is fantastic stuff, not least because depending on the ebb and flow of the individual rounds, each game of Evacuation feels like a mini story campaign in its own right.
Article source https://www.greenmangaming.com/blog/why-evolve-deserved-a-better-fate/