- + Diverse range of characters
- + Great Graphics
- + Fun weapons
- - Maps could be more diverse
- - Need a mic’d up team in an ideal situation
- - Single-player mode lacks enough pull
Want to look beyond the score? Read the full written review below…
After playing Evolve at both Gamescom and Eurogamer back in 2014, the thrill of the hunt left me with a huge amount of excitement heading towards release. The asymmetrical gameplay was something fairly new to me, and only being allowed to play two rounds as a hunter, left me wondering what lay in store for me once I got my hands on the final product.
Success in Evolve is entirely dependent on you having a reliable team, as well as great communication skills. Playing at Gamescom and Eurogamer, this was pretty simple, as everyone was wearing a headset and we were actively encouraged by the developers to communicate. In practice, though, it’s not quite as simple. More often than not I was playing with total strangers, and it proved more challenging to interact with all of the hunters, since most other players weren’t able to communicate and didn’t have a mic. This can make a usually simple task quite difficult, due to the fact that teamwork is key. It’s near-impossible for one of the hunters to combat the monster all by themselves, and since each hunter has a key role to play, working together is vital and can often produce rewarding results.
I highly recommend you familiarise yourself with each hunter, especially during the tutorial. From the beginning you’re set in the shoes (paws?) of Goliath, and after experiencing gameplay from the monster’s perspective I found it a great amount of fun, despite my fumbling with the controls. I didn’t realise there were so many moves each monster could carry out, such as fire breath and leap smashes with Goliath, and abduction and warp blasts when playing as Wraith. I was quite surprised by the fluidity of the monsters, given their size, and I feel there’s enough variation between the current three available to keep people going before the release of the fourth and fifth creations through DLC.
Even with their size, if you’re playing solo as the ‘boss’, stealth is a big part in the beginning moments of a match. The more space you put between you and the hunters the better, and it helps if you crouch low to keep quiet and keep from scaring birds. Many times I’d start a match, only to then immediately make my position known by scaring some wild life, this gives the hunters a huge advantage as they know your position from the start of the game. Personally my favourite monster to play as was Kraken, simply due to the Aftershock and Vortex powers it could release – these are really effective against then hunters. You also get nine bars of health if you manage to reach stage three, more than Wraith, but not quite as many as goliath, which has a monstrous ten health bars and ten armour bars at each evolution.
Although I enjoyed being a monster, I much prefer playing as part of a team and taking lead in the hunt. That being said, as long as I’m not the medic, I know my team are probably in much better hands. I’m more into killing than protecting, and I occasionally forgot to heal my teammates when they needed it most, sorry guys. The Trapper is my favourite hunter class and Maggie stands out the most in my eyes. Being joined alongside her pet Trapjaw Daisy, I found it the easiest and quickest option when it came to finding our prey. With a keen sense of smell, as soon as Daisy drops onto a map, she runs off and leads us to the monster, which is very helpful when there aren’t any footprints to follow. Having mostly played as Maggie, it was hard not to be fearful of Daisy’s safety. Since she also has the ability to revive fallen teammates, you can be sure that a well-trained monster is going to pick her off first. Although this may be a tactical move by the enemy, especially if Daisy is alone, there’s no denying that if her team are around, the monster’s solitary rage towards the Trapjaw will result in a severe lack of defence opposite incoming attacks.
The mobile arena is one of the most important things about being a Trapper, as this cages the monster in a force field for a short period of time. The one problem is the whole minute it can take to regenerate, which can be very frustrating if you have the monster in sight. In at a close favourite, I also thoroughly enjoyed Assault, since I love getting up close n’ personal and dealing devastating attacks. The powerful weapons such as rocket launchers and shotguns allowed me to achieve a great deal of damage to the monster, but I felt like this class is incredibly reliant on the other hunters. Most of the time you’re going to be face-to-face with the monster, so you’ll need a reliable medic by your side, as well as the help of the Support class to help cloak and shield you. I got extremely frustrated in one particular match, as both the medic and support decided to go their separate ways, inevitably letting both myself and the Trapper who had stayed, face our inevitable deaths. Safe to say, the Monster won that round.
Even if you do have a highly experienced team with you, that doesn’t always mean everything will go to plan. The wildlife present across each map can present just as much danger compared to the monster, with the chomp plant being my biggest hindrance. When I’m focusing on trapping or killing a monster, I’m not always aware of my surroundings. This isn’t particularly smart once the venus-flytrap-inspired chomp plant has you locked in its jaws. The key is to stick together, since inexperienced players will quickly find themselves down and out before even reaching the monster. I loved the diversity the wildlife presented, since it wasn’t alway the monster I had to look out for.
With such great gameplay mechanics, it’s a shame to see the maps let the game down a bit. Although they all look fantastic, there’s currently not that much variety to be found between them, except around the generator area. Most of the time it’s jungle terrain, and it can be pretty difficult to distinguish one map from the next, due to the dark colour scheme. This isn’t a huge let down for me, as I was much more excited to explore the different hunter classes but it’s still an area which could have been a bit more varied. However, I hold out hope that we’ll be introduced to some stunning maps with future DLC, and the best part is that they’ll all be free.
As a game that focuses its heart and soul for online firefights, I hardly checked out its offline story campaign. Though if you want to unlock new characters this is probably the place to do it, as you need to carry out certain actions that, if not completed, may end up hindering your progress online. I’ve also found it quite useful to practice in a certain class, instead of going out into a ‘real’ game, and messing it up for the whole of your team. Because of the asymmetrical focus that Evolve is promoting, the single-player mode is definitely not the main driving force for people buying the game.
Evolve heavily relies on cooperation between team members and knowing the skill sets of your characters before using them in a competitive game. Practice is key here, and I would highly recommend playing through the tutorials of each character to give yourself a better grounding. Presenting great gameplay and potentially huge future through online expansion, I already know plenty of my time is going to be spent on the hunt. If only I had more friends to play with, then perhaps I might truly unlock my potential.
*The PS4 copy of Evolve was provided to Start Replay by 2K, whereas an Xbox One copy was provided by Xbox.