The hunt is on in Turtle Rock’s innovative co-operative rumble in the jungle.
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed) / Playstation 4 / PC
EXPECTATIONS have been high for Evolve ever since it was unveiled last February. With the pedigree of developers Turtle Rock - the team behind the excellent Left 4 Dead games - and a killer concept that squares four hunters against a gargantuan monster, also controlled by a player, it proposed an intriguing evolution of co-operative shooter genre. With the final product now on retail shelves, the result is an exciting title that offers a surprisingly nuanced mix of strategies and tactics to consider.
The shooter tag that has been attached to Evolve is slightly misrepresentative of its core gameplay. It is the hunt to find the beast in the dense alien jungle that is the heart of the experience. To this end, Turtle Rock adapt and improve on the Left 4 Dead squad system, allowing players to choose from a variety of roles which includes the assault soldier, the medic and the support member.
Gunplay isn’t the be all and end all in Evolve - it does other things better
Yet the fourth offering - the trapper - is in some ways the most fun. Instead of firing round after round into the beast, their job is to establish its location and hopefully, hinder its movements. With the likes sonic spikes and tracking darts at your disposal after a few hours’ play, finding the monster becomes just as enjoyable as slaying it. That is not to say that the gunplay is not fulfilling in Evolve, but it does other things better.
Indeed, the trailers and previews of the game overestimate the importance of weaponry. What is much more important is assessing the various complementary skills at your party’s disposal and ensuring they are deployed at the right time. Whereas the medic might have a peripheral role in other games, they are essential in Evolve. This is a game where interdependence is vital; with a communicative team, it is a fine example of how to build a good co-operative engine.
Playing as the monster feels strangely underwhelming but overall this is an imaginative title
The blend is not perfect. Playing the monster lacks the sense of power and destruction you might reasonably expect, while the clever idea of evolving your creature by killing and devouring wildlife is dull and repetitive in practice. Some games, meanwhile, see the hunt go on for too long, crossing the line from suspense to boredom. But with some tweaking and a few new modes, this is an imaginative and entertaining game that can enjoy a longer lifespan than some of its detractors suggest.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
Don’t rely on the monster’s tracks alone when trying to hunt it down. They sometimes backtrack on themselves and hide, waiting to pounce.
Hunters should use jetpacks sparingly, but a well timed burst or dash can allow you to evade a potentially devastating attack.
As the monster, try not to disturb flocks of birds that could give away your location. Take them down with your fire breath ability.