Could this be the next Evolution in Multiplayer Gaming?
From the team that brought you Left 4 Dead…
That’s all I need to hear to be excited. Turtle Rock breathed new life into cooperative multiplayer with the Left 4 Dead series and I personally have spent hours upon hours with friends gleefully slaying zombies, tanks, and witches. Evolve takes the concept of using teamwork to survive, but this time instead of 4 friends fighting hordes of zombies you have one enemy to kill. And your friend isn’t going down without a fight.
Each map is a hug alien world, with dynamic weather and lifeforms all its own. Think Pandora from Avatar in terms of the varied and randomly spawned creatures that inhabit the land, water, and air. These animals aren’t merely decoration though. They are one of the many tools you use to track down the monster. Wildlife can and will attack you, killing them can net you perks that boost your attack or speed for a time. The catch is that the monster can eat the carcasses – which provides it with armor and powers it towards its next evolution.
The level design emphasizes verticality and varied terrain. All the characters are equipped with a jetpack which allows you to boost for limited periods of time. Using them to maintain multiple angles of attack and staying mobile is key to a hunter victory.
There are different monsters to choose from. We fought Goliath – a Godzilla style lizard with sweeping fire breath and an area of effect pounce. He had high defense, could cover large distances, and hit like a Mac truck. Of course there were the razor sharp claws and rocks being flung to watch out for as well. The other revealed monster was a Cthulhu like beast called the Kraken who brings the lightning and can fly to keep the hunters at bay.
Each player controls a different class with their own unique abilities and personality. I played the Hunter – a class which specializes in tracking and trapping the monster – and looks exactly like the safari guy from Jumanji. Other classes are Assault, Medic, and Support. When the full game is released, each class will have multiple characters to choose from which come with different equipment and abilities. My Hunter Griffin came equipped with
- Sound spikes – plant these in the ground to track or alert you of sneaking monsters
- Harpoon – hold the monster back and keep him from flying or fleeing
- Force Field – sets up a containment area for a short time. Remember – you’re trapped with it as much as it is with you
- Submachine gun – Pew pew pew damage bullets
Teamwork is vital, and thankfully there were mics built into our headsets to allow us to communicate… or swear as the case may be.
If a teammate is knocked down, there is a limited time that he can be revived before he dies. When he revives he comes back with 25% less health though, and after two knockdowns it means instant death.
The Game is Afoot!
After hunting for a few minutes – I said the levels were big – a swarm of birds flew into the air in the distance. A waypoint showed us towards our first lead and the hunt began. It was a perilous trek, and when we got there the monster was gone. It’s fresh footprints glowed blue in our HUD helping us track the beast. We came upon the beast feasting on some wildlife, already in its second evolution. We opened fire and it turned and breathed fire directly at us. The thing hit like a truck and we had barely put a dent in it.
After a few minutes of battle the beast turned and ran into an abandoned industrial tunnel running through the mountain. I deployed my force field just in time as he slammed against the wall and turned bellowing a shout of rage. His pouncing attack had a large AOE and was very deadly in the close quarters. We kept moving and stayed mobile. He struggled to run away as the force field dropped but my harpoon gun held him in place as my teammates unloaded everything they had onto the beast.
After an epic battle in the tunnel with several knockdowns we finally cornered the beast and it fell. I was grinning ear to ear, adrenaline pumping through my veins, and congratulated my teammates – strangers before we sat down – but now comrades in arms. I waited for close to an hour the next day for the chance to take down some friends as the monster. I haven’t done that with a group of friends since we waited in line to play the Rock Band demo at Best Buy 7 years ago.