|System: PS4*, PC, Xbox One|
|Dev: Turtle Rock Studios|
|Pub: 2K Games|
|Release: February 10, 2015|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Strong Language, Violence|
To fix this, Evolve has included a variety of other modes that change up the formula a bit. In nest mode, the hunters are tasked with destroying all of a monster’s eggs. While this gives the hunters another win condition, it also gives the monster another tool. It can hatch the eggs in order to spawn a minion that will attack the hunters alongside it, making it less of a death wish to attack while unevolved. It also means that the monster has to be more careful about evolving, as it leaves all of its eggs open and vulnerable.
In rescue mode, the hunters have something to protect: fallen colonists that the monster is seeking to eat. This turns the tables and puts the hunters on the defensive, as they use their tools to ward off powerful monster attacks rather than simply trying to kill it.
Defense mode is perhaps the most interesting mode. Here, minions spawn on the map and head toward generators that need to be protected by the hunters. The monster acts as a sort of hero unit, pushing through your defenses and attacking when you are weakest. This is one of the most fun game modes, but also one of the modes that's least like the game’s original conception.
Finally, there is evacuation mode, which is in my opinion the most fun mode in the game. This is essentially Evolve's “story” mode, though it’s still all multiplayer and online. Here, you are tasked with playing a number of different maps in a number of different modes. Each time you win a match, you get a perk for the next match that aids your side, and the whole game is rapidly balanced and rebalanced between matches in order to even things up. As a result, you’ll see a lot of map variation and plenty of interesting gimmicks that you wouldn’t see in normal match play. At times it feels like whatever algorithm that is balancing the game has no idea what it’s doing, but the fact that each match you play feels attached to the last is very enjoyable. Just be sure you have a lot of time to blow on playing five matches at once.
Then again, even if you have to leave it’s not the worst thing in the world, because Evolve has bots. Yes, bots! You know, that thing that we used to have in shooters that somehow went the way of the dinosaur when everything went online? Just like in the Left 4 Dead games, if a player drops mid-match, they will just be replaced by a bot, meaning you aren’t immediately dead in the water. The bots are actually pretty good, all things considered, and while you’d rather have an experienced player on your side, having your medic or your assault class replaced by a bot isn’t the worst thing in the world.
But with the lack of any real single-player campaign and only a few characters and monsters to choose from, Evolve absolutely leans on its online play, which means it also leans on you being able to find a group that you can play with normally. Pickup matches work fine, but you’ll run into the same things that plagued pickup matches in other co-op games, from drops to trolling to flat-out toxic behavior. With a dedicated group of friends, though, monster hunting is an absolute treat.
It’s also worth mentioning the DLC considering it was such a scandal recently. Yes, 2K Games is charging way too much for DLC, and yes, you are probably going to want to purchase this DLC just to increase the number of options you have available. But the game is actually fun without the DLC and does stand on its own merit. Chalk this up to a bad business decision for an actually good game, and don’t let the DLC scandals turn you off.
Overall, I’ve had fun with Evolve for the time I’ve had it so far, and I’ll probably have a lot more fun as time goes on, as much or more fun than I had with the Left 4 Dead series. If you are looking for a new shooter that is like nothing else on the market right now, it’s definitely worth giving Evolve a shot.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: February 10, 2015