Beautifully immersive multiplayer monster-hunting fun in ‘Evolve’

One of the many monster hunters you can play for hours as you play “Evolve.” (Photo provided by evolvegame.com)
One of the many monster hunters you can play for hours as you play “Evolve.” (Photo provided by evolvegame.com)

In an industry oversaturated with first-person multiplayer shooters, “Evolve” manages to be different. While games like “Titanfall,” “Advanced Warefare,” “Destiny” and “Battlefield Hardline” all have unique aspects that differentiate them, “Evolve” is completely original. A first-person shooter that, for the most part, is only multiplayer, “Evolve” provides entertainment for countless hours.

“Evolve” is a 4v1 multiplayer shooter, with no single player campaign but can be played offline with bots. The four players take the role of the hunters, each one playing as a different class and working together to take on the monster. The other player is the monster, a great beast of the planet Shear that hunts wildlife in order to level up gaining new abilities and additional health. This 4v1 gameplay occurs over a couple different game modes, but ultimately the weakness of “Evolve” is its limited pool of gameplay variety.

Each game mode is like nothing done before in other multiplayer shooters, and this intangible property of something truly unique is greatest strength of “Evolve.” The game modes truly change player strategy as well as make certain characters and abilities more or less viable; players are forced to change their style when going into Hunt as compared to Defend helping to keep the game feeling fresh after hours of play.

From gameplay and character creation to world creation, “Evolve” is a well-polished and addicting game. If it wasn’t for the lack of game mode variety, “Evolve” would be one of this year’s best titles. “Evolve” uses the CryEngine (as seen in “Crysis or Ryse: Son of Rome”) to create beautifully detailed landscapes. Visually impressive, “Evolve” is highly immersive for the hunters as they track the monster through forest or desert. The variety in level design is refreshing, though similar map types tend to blend together; jumping from a forest to a blizzard keep matches feeling unique, but when you play one desert map after another it’s hard to really distinguish the differences.

The wildlife of “Evolve” have unique characteristics, are highly detailed and well designed, and are controlled with some of the best AI mechanics in video games. “Evolve” wildlife will respond to the player differently based on whether they are hunter or monster, and based on what level the monster is. The best aspect of this world though is that as the monster roams through it, it leaves permanent damage upon it; the monster will alert birds, send animals running, leave tracks, destroy plant life and create a host of visual cues as to its locations. This interconnectivity with a beautiful world creates a deeper level of engagement than just playing a cinematic experience with no world interaction.

The player controls the monster in third person, creating a natural separation to the immersive experience found with the hunters, but still manages to be just as enjoyable. Controlling the monster is an empowering experience that is most akin to being in control of a video game boss. Every monster is incredibly detailed with a host of unique and interesting powers, and at the moment only the Wraith seems to be truly overpowered.

Each class has three different hunters, and while each hunter in a class contains an identical ability, the other three abilities are entirely unique. While you begin the game with a basic group of four hunters and one monster, the characters unlocked through gameplay are no stronger or more viable than the starting group. The weapons and abilities in “Evolve” vary from regular shooter rifles and SMGs to more interesting rail cannons and arc rifles. In order to defeat the most competent monster players, the hunter has to successfully use all of their abilities, as they all have purpose and importance.

“Evolve” is a game that is incredibly fun and addicting to play; the multiplayer shooter gamers will find all of the tight controls and incredible graphics that they look for in a title, but with a collection of fresh game modes. Playing as the monster is an empowering experience, while taking it down provides a sense of accomplishment rarely found in multiplayer games. Players will find themselves spending hours testing all of “Evolve”’s different characters, but will probably be disappointed in the limited amount of game variety provided at launch. Four new hunters are on the way, along with a fourth monster (the Behemoth) so hopefully this means additional game modes will soon grace “Evolve.” But until then, let the hunt begin.

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