Published on November 4th, 2014 | by Westin
Will We be buying Evolve after playing the Big Alpha?
Your heart is pounding. You know the hunters are on your trail, but you’re not sure how close they are. You frantically grab any nearby creature to eat and hope to God you’ll evolve to Stage 2 within the next minute. It happens. You begin to evolve, leveling up some of your abilities and then waiting for the evolution to complete.
Your fear has subsided, but before you get the chance to enjoy, it the hunters are on you. The Trapper puts up an arena and you find yourself trapped. You frantically leap and charge at the hunters knowing that you just have to hold out for a short time. The arena goes down and you charge and jump your way out of the fight. Before you know it, you’ve eaten your way to Stage 3 and no longer do you feel the fear of weakness. You feel the almighty power of a fully evolved monster and it’s time to let the hunters know it. Waiting for you at the Power Relay, the final battle begins. There are explosions, traps, and gunfire, all of which are not enough to save them.
You kill them all and roar in victory.
Having played 11 hours of Evolve’s Big Alpha, I feel that I get the gist of how the game works. So rather than going over each aspect of the game and how they work (which you could easily read about and/or watch on YouTube), I’d like to quickly discuss my experience with the Alpha and how it will affect my decision to pick up the game when it is released on February 20, 2015.
Evolve is first and foremost a strategic game. Running-and-gunning (or running and rock throwing) is a sure-fire way to lose quickly. If you don’t like thinking, this may not be for you. However if you do like putting in a little thought, the gameplay and game mechanics are fun.
As you read from my introduction, playing as the monster is both suspenseful and exciting. Evolving via eating is a concept that is satisfying to play out.
Now playing as the hunters is especially fun when each person knows how to best fulfill their class’s role (i.e. Medic, etc). Given all this hunting/hunted mumbo jumbo, I’m ultimately not sure if I’ll be picking up the full game.
My lack of many PC friends means playing with randoms, which of course is never as much fun and secondly, I don’t see myself playing this game for a long period of time. Sure, I’ve enjoyed my short time playing it, but as much as I love roaring in victory, I can’t say that I look forward to a thousand more.
Asynchronous multiplayer games have always been intriguing. Ever since the first Left 4 Dead and its fascinating versus mode, I’ve been looking for games to satisfy this itch.
Turns out there isn’t a whole lot of games out there. When the creators of Left 4 Dead, Turtle Rock Studios, announced Evolve, I was intrigued and skeptical. Would they be able to keep a game about a giant monster and squad of four hunters well balanced and have the squad members actually be interesting to play?
If the “Big Alpha” is any indication, they executed balance better than Left 4 Dead did.
Evolve really shines in its four places classes. Each one is completely distinct from one another and crucial to taking down the monster. These classes are useless without a team working together. Lone wolfing isn’t an option and anyone who does will certainly find themselves dead if they find themselves head to head with the monster.
The main weapons for each class all act differently and their abilities range from crucial to useful. Some of the crucial abilities are the shielding from the support, which makes players invulnerable from monster attacks, and the mobile arena from the hunter, which forces the monster to engage in a fight.
As a monster, it’s all about running away and getting huge! Once the player consumes the appropriate amount of the wildlife it’s time to evolve.
From what I saw, the monster could engage before hitting the maximum evolve rank of three if the conditions were right, but most of the time is spent avoiding hunters and their trappings. One never feels safe playing as the big lumbering beast, which makes for great and balanced gameplay.
The maps are lively, with gorgeously crafted tunnels and other worldly wildlife roaming through them. It genuinely gives the feeling of a living ecosystem, even though there are obvious walled off sections. The game presented is one of the most polished multiplayer games I have seen in a while, even in it’s supposed “alpha” stage. (I’d at least put this in the beta category.)
My concerns come with the game’s diversity. In this demo it seems as though there is only one mode, hunt.
While hunt is an absolute blast, how much fun will it will be 20 hours from now. Sure there are two other characters to unlock for each class and two different monsters to play as, but how long will a player be satisfied after plopping down $60 for a game with one mode in it?
Left 4 Dead had a single player campaign mode with a lot of different maps with story and personality. Once that was completed verses was a fantastic mode to play in.
It just felt like there was more in Left 4 Dead, but a few different game modes would help ease away my concerns, which could easily be patched it.
That being said, it’s been hard to put this game down. The core game may just be strong enough to stand on its own.
If I can find three other people to make this purchase with me, I can easily see this game being worth the price of admission.