“Evolve” review

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Running through a rain-soaked jungle with my friends, I idly dodging some of the local fauna that is attempting to kill us at every turn. Daisy the Trapjaw is leading us on the trail of the Wraith that has been eluding us for the last ten minutes. Carrion birds and Daisy’s howls have been the only indication we’re going in the right direction.

A flash of light, a howl, and suddenly I’m pulled across the jungle and pinned to a tree by the ravenous, flailing arms of the Wraith. I’m down in seconds, as my team sprints to my position to try and save me. As I lay there, shooting my sidearm at the creature, I see a flamethrower erupt nearby and my medic revives me. I’m back in the fight. I’m ready to hunt again.

“Evolve” is one of those games that is so fun to play with friends and oh so frustrating to play with random players online.

With a learning curve that isn’t too terribly steep, but challenging enough that it makes you feel that there is some need for practice to become truly good at it, “Evolve” really is a game of tactical skill.

Although, there is a dark side to the game. Matchmaking is still, above all, going to be the largest problem in any mulitplayer online game. For “Evolve,” playing against a higher-level monster who has buffs is remarkably unfair for those who are playing at a lower level with less experience and buffs. But, that’s a common complaint.

The classes are varied, and honestly I can see the desire to play certain ones for specific playstyles. I enjoy the support and medic classes the most, but I’ve had games where I’ve felt extremely important to the team as the trapper. Really, this game is about hoping you get the class you want, and then hoping everyone else is good at what they do in turn.

Again, I will stress: This is a game meant to be played with people you know while communicating using headsets. The advantage you get from tactical communication and planning is enormous. Without it, you’re one of four people guessing what the other three will do and hoping the monster doesn’t separate you all.

As the monster, you do feel a sense of being pressed for time. I would recommend playing some single-player games to get yourself comfortable with the mechanics (which wouldn’t be a bad idea for the hunters either). Tactics vary depending on the monster. Goliath has his melee attacks, Leviathan is mainly there for area-of-effect blasts and Wraith is a king at misdirection and stalking.

Each one takes some time to master, but once you get the meta down for how to play them, it’s just a race against the hunters finding you and you evolving before that happens.

Playing as the monster is not a guaranteed win either. If you’re unfamiliar and looking to test the waters against real people, I’d advise against it. You’ll be torn apart.

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This is the least ideal scenario possible. Do not ever stare down a monster by yourself.

Honestly, the most fun that can be had with this game is getting together with friends, picking Evacuation mode and really playing through those five missions as a team.

love the fact that Evacuation has a story that can be affected by who wins each round. “Titanfall” failed at this by making you feel that no matter who won the match, the good guys always came out on top at the end of the story. “Evolve” says, “Guess what?! Monster wins? EVERYBODY DIES!!”

Is “Evolve” perfect? No. Is it better than “Left 4 Dead?” That’s debatable since the  single-player content is decidedly lacking unlike “Left 4 Dead”. Is it fun? Absolutely. Is it fun to play with other people you don’t know? No. No no no.

Getting “Evolve” is a group thing. Get three other friends, pick some nights to play it together and have a blast. Otherwise, you’l find yourself struggling with teammates who don’t really understand the word “team” and being eaten by veteran players who are capitalizing on that fact.

“Evolve” has character to it, though. Personally, that’s what really sold me on the game. It feels unique and hand-crafted, and I always love that touch of uniqueness from developers. The character chatter is fun, the environments are cool and the concept alone is pretty original.

Worth $60? Yeah, sure. Games like this take a long time to make, and games on these new platforms are very expensive to make. If you’re not sure you want the game yet, however, don’t be afraid to wait for a price drop and see if the kinks get worked out. There are still some server troubles and latency issues to be dealt with, but that’s common for an always-online game.

Good hunting, people.