I’ve been hugely looking forward to Evolve. The premise of it fills me with sheer glee and it has been so long since I’ve played a multiplayer game that both required teammates and yet did not infuriate me due to lacklustre gameplay. So hopping into the Evolve booth at EGX 2014 you can imagine how excited I was to finally get my hands on the latest build of this highly anticipated 4v1 shooter. Was I disappointed or were my hopes and dreams realised beyond all compare? Well, here’s the thing…
As expected, no pictures were allowed to be taken in the booth
so here’s some lovely screenshots instead!
The experience itself was shaky at first though down to no fault of the game. After losing a horrifying battle of Rock/Paper/Scissors and thus missing my chance to play as the monster, I then decided to hop into the boots of the Medic class. Everybody likes a healer, right? Right?! Anyway, upon viewing the small selection of characters for my class, I picked one and a minute later we were in the game. Sadly, due to technical issues this session was cut short due to our headsets seemingly not working and people being unable to hear each other. I was not disheartened by this as this is surely a good thing! This clearly exhibits how important communication is to the game and being able to share information with your teammates could seemingly be make or break in Evolve.
Anyway, shortly we found ourselves back where we were, hopping from our transport craft down to the ground below, one of each class consisting of Support, Medic, Assault and Trapper. We soon began our hunt for the Goliath, manned by a fifth participant. We all stuck closely together and looked to notifications highlighting areas where birds were startled, these acted as prompts stating that the Goliath must be near here to have startled the birds. We darted point to point, occasionally getting glimpses of the beast but our efforts were fruitless. We soon discovered that branching out a little was key to this, as we needed to ensure we were within safe distance of each other but covering enough ground to try and stop the Goliath from consuming and gaining strength from areas of the level.
The Goliath truly becomes a horrifying beast as it evolves…
…and we only got to Stage 3!
This went on for several minutes, a game of cat and mouse that was not as exciting as I’d hoped. Running and dashing and even jet packing around the rather large area was somewhat fun to do once you got the knack of certain jump points but these extended periods of no combat made the game grow a little weary startlingly quickly. Occasional “it’s over here” or “I’ve found it, it’s near me!” were blurted occasionally but by the time we had regrouped to that position the creature was nowhere to be seen. It’s entirely possible that we simply weren’t making the most of our classes such as the Trapper who was able to throw down a large energy dome to trap the monster within, but we were all doing our best with what little time we had.
The creature grew in strength to its second stage but the chasing and running and jumping continued. The most excitement at this point beyond the shouting and panicking of jittery teammates were the hazardous wildlife, strange pack animals that sought to attack us on sight but were easily dispatched. It was when the Goliath grew to stage three that things got truly interesting. My HUD lit up with a location named Power Relay and it became apparent that we had to defend this. Finally – I thought, this way we would all be stuck in one location, a rather large room with plenty of space to run around and take shots at anything that came our way. This was the most tense period of the game as all of us humans frantically relocated to this objective and waited for the creature to makes its move. We started poking our heads out into the open, trying to spot it coming but were unlucky in this cheeky endeavour. That was until I heard “It’s here! It’s here!” and soon we found ourselves in this room with the Goliath now considerably bigger than in its previous stages. Bullets were sprayed, requests for aid bellowed through my headset as I tried frantically to remember the controls and abilities of the Medic.
Hunters without beards and/or cigars need not apply.
Then came my time to shine. “I’m down! Medic! MEDIC!” our Support shouted as the beast had incapacitated her. I leapt down from my position, popping shots at the beast to create weakened areas on it to be shot at by my allies and then began sprinting to my downed comrade. I whooped out my healing equipment…and then sat there oblivious on how to use it. This, it seemed would have been the perfect time to use the Medic’s ability to cloak as me standing there oblivious to what I was doing attracted the attention of the Goliath whom saw the prime target. You see, the Medic is able to revive incapacitated humans, which no other class can do. Upon seeing me standing there, clueless as finger-less monkey with a banana, the player controlling the Goliath realised that with the Support down and the Medic seemingly fumbling about that this was his time to strike the killing blow to our team.
Moments later, I was downed. Literally, feet away from the Support character I was supposed to be reviving. Thankfully, a strange, friendly, dog-like reptile beast that seemingly dropped with us at the start of the level ran over to me and started licking me like an adorable, hideous, loveably rascal. Then before I knew it, I was revived! This was surely my time of redemption, to pick up the member of my team and help us charge on to…oh no wait, I’m downed again. Then before I knew it, it was game over, as I had been killed for good along with my Support ally. It seems that knowing which human is which class is a major, major bonus for the Goliath as knowing to take down the Medic first is an almost sure-fire way to doom the rest of the team should they make any mistakes beyond the Medic’s embarrassing demise.
My apologies to the Support character I tried to save and so terribly
failed in doing so.
My time with Evolve was brief. Some of it was enjoyable, some of it not so much. The concept as it stands still sounds appealing as far as a fresh and exciting multiplayer game goes and the art-style of the game is nothing short of perfect for me, with the humans giving of a military squad vibe not unlike those seen in the Predator or Aliens movies, which would not be bad inspiration by any means! Evolve is not yet finished and so I’m hoping that there’s still some things to be taken into consideration such as keeping things exciting initially as the hunters look for the monster in the early game. Other considerations to take into account would be minor things that I would no less expect in a final version of the game such as class tutorials/explanations so I’ll not go on too much about this. Overall, Evolve does have the potential to be a truly exciting, high-octane multiplayer game for both players wanting to work together and those wanting to disperse and destroy. Here’s to hoping that the true pace can start a little sooner in the final game and that there are a lot less hopeless Medics out there, like me.