Sep 19, 2014

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Evolve Demo – Pax 2014

Evolve Demo – Pax 2014

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Evolve was one of the demos that we were able to get our hands on at this year’s Pax Prime. For those of you that don’t know, Evolve is an assymetrical cooperative/competitive online multiplayer game that pits four players against one.  Four players take on the role of the hunter while one player takes on the role of the monster.

On the side of the hunters, I was able to choose from four different classes: Assault, Support, Trapper, and Medic. Each class is assigned unique abilities that are suitable for their roles. The Assault class is your basic tank and is afforded abilities capable of dealing major damage. The Support class can deal a considerable amount of damage as well, but Support is also equipped with a shield generator that allows you to shield other players from damage. The Trapper’s equipment allows him/her not only to damage the enemy but also to point out the enemy when he/she is out of sight. Finally, the Medic’s role is basically healing.  While all players are capable of reviving downed party members, only the Medic is capable of healing other players who have taken any damage. Because of the specialization of these roles, it becomes a requirement for you to coordinate with the other hunters in order to succeed in hunting the prey. However, the Monster isn’t the only thing that hunters need to beware of in the game. The maps are teeming with all other types of wildlife and while some will stay out of your way, some will help you while others will hurt you.

On the other side is the Monster, and it’s safe to say that the monster’s abilities are all of the hunter’s abilities rolled up into one. That being said, starting out as the Monster, the goal is to level up to put yourself in a better position to take on your hunters. To do this, the monster must eat the other monsters present in the environment. Doing this and using the environment to your advantage is the only way to victory for the Monster.

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The environments the matches took place in were stunning.  I found them to be one of the demo’s strong points.  Each map is rendered with such detail that it’s easy to get lost in them; leaves sway in the wind and, when it rains, droplets occasionally appear.  As beautiful as the environments were, there is also a method to them.  In a game of hunters vs. hunter, environment is everything.  Huge trees and spires of rock as well as caves and dense grass make it easy for any hunter of any size to hide.

I was able to play through three matches, all on the side of the hunters.  Taking on the role of the support for these first two matches, it was my job to generate a shield for the Assault so that he could do as much damage as possible.  The first two times we lost which was due the Monster using the environment effectively.  The first match the player taking the role of the Monster was able to use the environment quite effectively.   The second match, in which the player chose to be the Kraken, was closer.  For most of the match, we had the Kraken on the run.  However, in the end, the Kraken used a cave to reduce our number down to two making us easy pickings.  The last match in which we hunters one felt like a more cooperative effort.  We were able to reduce the Monster’s health little by little and were able to “corner” it to take it out.

All in all, Evolve seems to shaping up to be a unique and fun experience.  From the onset, players are thrust into that hunter vs. prey mentality.  In a market dominated such franchises such Call of Duty and Battlefield, Evolve sets itself apart through its asymmetric cooperative/competitive gameplay.  Through playing this game, it felt like a true innovation in the world of competitive first person shooters.  I know that at least I have never played anything like it and it feels like the guys at 2K and Turtle Rock Studios have struck gold with this title.  Definitely a must play for anyone looking for a new experience in the first-person competitive shooter genre.  Evolve launches February 15, 2015 on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.  For more information, check our interview with Turtle Rock Studios’ Co-Founder and Creative Director, Phil Robb.

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