e3 2014
I Am a Monster - Hands on With Evolve

Greg Tito | 22 May 2014 12:00
e3 2014 - RSS 2.0
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Luckily, I was able to grow - literally getting a bigger model and beefing up Goliath's attacks and armor in addition to the ability upgrades. Let those scrappers come to me. Well, they did. The bastards tried to corner me with an ability called Arena, which raised a blue forcefield dome that Goliath couldn't move through. They trapped me in it, but I quickly rounded on the group, sprayed fire, charged, and made melee attacks like a crazy monster. I took out a few, but the medic rezzed them. Then I killed 'em again. Eventually, they ran off to regroup. I ate the corpses they left behind.

I am a monster.

A little about the hunters. Turtle Rock announced four new characters at the event: Hyde is an assault guy with a flame thrower. Maggie is a female trapper with a trapjaw for a pet - Daisy can track the monster and is a general nuisance. Bucket is a robot, and he supports the team with sentry guns and a fly head UAV that's very useful for tagging the monster and putting his location on everyone's minimap. Finally, there's Lazarus, who as the medic is a big jerk. He has the Lazarus device, which can revive downed hunters immediately to get them into the fight.

In general, I didn't care for playing as the hunters. To be successful, you have to work together and communicate almost incessantly. "He's over there! I'm down! I need healing!" I just don't like talking to people that much. Not only that, but the hunters' mobility is severely restricted. In the map we played, Goliath can jump and climb almost anywhere, as I said, but the hunters were constantly getting stuck in dead ends and had to find the right ramp to get where they needed to go. Granted, better map knowledge would alleviate most of that, but my first impression was that playing as a hunter sucks, at least for my play style.

But that's what's cool about Evolve. It supports all kinds of players, from the people who like coop and raiding in groups to the monstrous loners like me. The core element of the 4v1 gameplay is solid. I kinda love how the three stages of the monster evolving clearly denote the three stages of the game from opening, midgame to endgame. The power shifts immensely from the hunters having an early advantage while the monster grows strong over the course of the match, creating a pleasing balance.

A Turtle Rock representative said the team has been playing the game internally for more than three years and I believe it. Even though it crashed a few times, it's an incredibly polished gameplay that bridges so many different genres from co-op shooters such as Left for Dead to MOBAs and MMOs. Anecdotally, many of the other groups at the event really seemed to have dramatic moments. I heard cheers and groans from all over the room, just over the course of a half hour. If you can get staid editors to elicit any kind of emotion at these kinds of events, you know you are doing something right.

Look for Evolve to come out October 21 for the PC, the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.

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