I came, I saw, I conquered in Evolve. Evolve is an experience some may want to skip out on, with its odd DLC and Pre-Order structure, it may feel like an incomplete game to some. Evolve has had a lot of hate thrown at it in the Past few days, none of which have anything to do with the actual gameplay of Evolve. DLC this and DLC that, Pre-Order now and get X for free. Evolve definitely took the VERY low road when it came to Pre-Order DLC and DLC, but it doesn’t make it a necessarily bad game. Evolve is actually pretty fun, given that you have friends to play with and the monster isn’t a complete moron. That is Evolve’s biggest perk and flaw at the same time, as a consumer who has friends and plays games with them, I also deeply hate those friends at times and blow off steam by blowing them off on Steam, Evolve won’t be one of the games I play without them and if you don’t have friends who play Evolve, your experience may be slightly gimped.
In Evolve you play as either a monster or a group of them. AKA Hunters! Joking, but you probably understood my joke. Anyway, the monster is basically the perfect beast that is reeking havoc on the planet Shear, the hunters are sent to stop it from killing the entire World basically. There are several different match types, from standard hunting matches to the more complicated and time consuming Evacuation mode. Evacuation is where it is at, but right now we’re talking about the game as a whole. Anyway, Evolve is Hunters Vs. Monster(s), where the Hunters hunt and the Monster monst or, well, the monster hunts as well. In Evolve the Monster needs to FEED on surrounding wildlife to gain armor and level up. The more he levels, the stronger he gets. The biggest issue might be that you can kill him REALLY fast and easily if he makes one mistake at the start of the game. The monster also needs to be really confident as well, because if the Trapper throws their arena up, he needs to seek & destroy. The game in the beginning relies heavily on the Monster’s ability to seek out prey and avoid the Hunters. If the Monster makes a misstep or a miscalculation within the first 5 minutes, sadly the game will be a very quick one.
Well, you you know what the Trapper does, (s)he traps, what a twist! The game has the 4 classes, you choose preference before matchmaking. The classes are fairly straight forward, the Medic heals, the Support supports, and the Assault class assaults. It is all fairly straightforward in that respect, every class has a very specific thing about them, no matter which character you pick. Trappers have their Arena, which sets up a force field and forces the fight, Medics have Healing Burst which is exactly what it sounds like, Support has a Cloak for tight situations, and Assault has a personal field to prolong his inevitable death. What is unique about the classes are the characters you unlock, the medic Val has her armor-piercing sniper rifle healing gun, but the Medic Lazarus likes to spice it up with his silenced sniper and Lazarus Device, which resurrects dead hunters. Neither is truly better than the other and it is all about your playstyle. As is the monster you decide, as the Goliath is not all there is to be, that would be boring. The Monster has a few choices, but to be honest, with how the DLC and Pre-Order DLC is set up, I am not sure what the average buyer has and what I have, very weird way to go about it. It is great that the Hunters/Monsters all feel unique in their own way though and that without one of them the hunt gets harder. You really need all of the classes to really stick it to the monster.
The game has several modes and they are rather different. We’ve got Quick play (Basically random), Evacuation (longer version of random), Rescue, Hunt, Defend, and Nest. Evacuation is 5 Dynamic matches that goes based off of the winners of the prior round. If the Hunters win they get some sort of perk and decide the next round, like I played and won as the Hunters on the map Aviary, next round we had more birds to help spot the Monster. The dynamic situation is very interesting and puts some stakes in to winning VS. just winning, what’s odd is that they don’t feel really balanced. Hunters, we get the birds, the monster some times gets an extra beast with him, the birds aren’t that great though, the beast is. Evacuation’s little perk system could be revised to make it a little more balanced. Evacuation is the way to go, but the average match can be… well, I’ve noticed there is no average match. I’ve had games lasting in the upper 20’s to literally less than 3 minutes, it all depends, but Evacuation can be a time consuming mode, but in a good way. If a match stretches beyond 20 minutes though, it kind of becomes a snooze fest and your tactics never quite EVOLVE (See that?) it really does feel like the same thing different map, that being the Hunters practically aimlessly wander around and hope to just bump in to the monster.
The story is fairly simple, it doesn’t have any spectacular twists, really it doesn’t exist that much in the game. We see the little origin story of the whole game, which is that the hunters are being gathered to take down a monster harassing and murdering colonies on the planet. That’s really all I can say about the story though, it really doesn’t play that big of a role, which is sad. Evolve is all about its online though and while that isn’t too bad, I feel like a title in 2015 that is fully priced at $60 (an upwards of $100+ with DLC) should have both singleplayer and multiplayer or at least try to do what Titanfall did, except do it properly. I just find it odd that Evolve has minimal story, even Left 4 Dead had more story and it made the game all the more interesting. Truthfully the only thing really interesting about Evolve’s story is the banter pre-game between the Hunters and even that gets somewhat old. I can’t really discredit Evolve for this though, it wasn’t like we expected some extravagant storyline with so many twists and turns, it wasn’t like I expected to discover that all this time… it was we who were the Monster! That would be mind blowing though, for what it is though Evolve’s story is something I am actually interested in, but I feel teased.
Evolve does have some pretty looking visuals though, its performance issues though kill it off for me. As an AMD user, I cringe at the very sight of the Nvidia logo, the way its meant to be played. Also known as, if you have AMD good luck! I hate that Evolve has this issue, but running with my 7970, I have performance issues even on medium settings. I’ve noticed they are completely random and only at the beginning of the match USUALLY, but Evolve for me has dipped far too much and far too often. What’s even worse than Evolve’s performance on my end are the loading screens, which have apparently been fixed, but I am not entirely sure. I do know that during my time, I could get up, make a sandwich, procure myself a beverage, get back, and start on the two and Evolve MIGHT be finished loading the map, like what? Evolve is a beautiful game though, it just doesn’t perform like one. I mean, the hunters are all unique, the monster skins are as well, and the maps for the most part are fantastic, it actually feels like a somewhat realistic planet as well. The maps are well designed and the details are fairly good. The game has some good visuals, I just don’t feel passionate about them, certainly not passionate enough to shout it on rooftops or the top of a mountain, they are great, just not groundbreaking. What is worthy of that attention in Evolve is the audio, which is spectacular. It is one thing that adds to the atmosphere so much and it is done so well, hearing the echo of animals running, the monster leaping, or even just birds flying away. Evolve’s planet, Shear, feels very much so alive and that is thanks to all of these elements combined together. It seems like a lot of games forget how important audio is, but for Evolve they did not and Shear feels alive and well, also kind of scary. If you have surround sound, crank that baby up, wake up your neighbors, the noise violation will be worth it just to truly hear Evolve.