Level Up: Review of Evolve
At some point in his life, any given person has heard stories about monsters, creatures that lurk in the dark or the woods and prey on the unwary with sharp claws and fangs. In many such stories, there is a hero that comes and drives off the monster, and Evolve operates on this exact element. In Evolve, four monster hunters face a single monster in a battle to the death.
In Evolve's setting, humanity has developed space travel, spread, and colonized new worlds. One colonized planet, named Shear, has recently came under attack by unknown alien beasts, which are described as being large, cunning, capable of extremely fast reproduction, and possessing ravenous appetites. A team of hunters has been sent to stave off these beasts as the planet is evacuated. Player performance determines how many colonists can be saved, and whether or not the evacuation shuttles even escape the planet. Sadly, this is the extent of the story. In my opinion, the developers, Turtle Rock Studios, could have and should have done much more with this, as they have a good concept. There is no real story mode, only a series of five matches, playable online or offline, that end in a final mission that determines whether or not the evacuation ship survives. The gameplay in this mode is virtually identical to any other match, the main difference being that the monster is typically controlled by a bot.
In standard multiplayer matches, you can play as either the monster or a hunter. As a monster, your camera is positioned over your shoulder, and your objective is to evade the hunters while feeding on wildlife to grow in power. Once you have eaten enough, you evolve, which increases maximum health, access to upgraded abilities, and raises general damage output. At stage one, you are an easy target for the hunters, at stage two the monster and hunters are fairly evenly matched, while in stage three the monster has a clear advantage and is extremely dangerous.
Different monsters have different abilities, but all monsters are stronger than a lone hunter. Therefore, as a hunter it is essential to stick together. The hunters must track the monster through the wilderness and kill it before it evolves to stage three. There are four hunter classes: assault, trapper, support, and medic. The assault's specialty is dealing damage to the monster and surviving its attacks, while the trapper's purpose is to limit the monster's mobility and ability to escape. The support enhances the other members of the team and can call in an orbital strike in an emergency, while the medic is there to keep the other hunters in good health. Within each class there are a variety of characters, each with his own unique abilities alongside his class ability. Unfortunately, there are only five game modes, most of which are just slightly modified versions of the basic mode, hunt. This lack of diversity paired with no real story mode means that this game gets boring quickly.
This game is graphically satisfactory, as it displays the characters and environments convincingly. The appearances of monsters, hunters, wildlife, and the playing areas are creative and the monsters are rather intimidating. The ambient music, while typically residing in the background, adds to the atmosphere of foreboding when you play a hunter.
Finally, I rateEvolve five out of ten. This is an example of a game that has an excellent concept, but fails to execute it properly. A majority of the story is confined to a single cinematic, which really just serves as an introduction. The gameplay is entertaining but quickly becomes repetitive and loses its charm. I am glad that this game was given out for free to Xbox Live Gold members, as I would have been unhappy paying the full price for a game so lacking in unique content with replay ability.Evolve is available on Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Microsoft Windows.