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If you haven’t heard of this game, then you’ve probably been living as a monk in a distant cave for the last year. Finally released on February 10th by Turtle Rock Studios (known for their popular games ‘Left 4 Dead’ and ‘Left 4 Dead 2’), this competitive 4v1 co-op shooter was an anxious wait for many eager gamers.

When Evolve was first announced everyone was excited at the prospect of a new PVP twist, where 1 person would get to play a monster whose goal was to ultimately grow bigger, faster, stronger, and then take on 4 other people tracking you. For the hunters who merely needed to track the beast and kill it before it can evolve and overwhelm you it requires a huge amount of teamwork between each other. Ultimately this brought together successful elements of Turtle Rock Studios previous games and merged into a new ambitious project.

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Before its final release, players were offered into the Alpha and Beta of the game which gave just enough of a taste for people to realise this is something certain gamers have been craving. Much like the hype for Destiny and Titanfall I certainly hoped that it would be everything expected, and from both viewing gameplay and trying the game I can certainly see why people have enjoyed this. It offers teamwork to those who enjoy strategy and planning, with the hunters needing to co-operate in order to win and stop the monster. With each member assigned specific roles in order to complete their mission, if one person goes down in a fight (especially the medic) then the rest will surely fall.

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Visuals/Atmosphere:
The game itself has some gorgeous visuals which and the in-game terrain looks great. There’s plenty of places to hide as monster while manoeuvring over the whole terrain to escape / hide from the hunters, or pounce on them from above. The atmosphere within the game is also great. As the hunters you need to constantly mind your surroundings, while constantly tracking the monster the environment will also try and kill you, whether it’s man-eating plants, creatures roaming around, or dangerous swamp monsters, everything wants to kill you. While as the monster you don’t start off by being the baddest thing around, it’s risky to go for the large creatures first as you don’t want to risk losing health, once that’s gone it’s not coming back.

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The more you end up playing the game, the more you will unlock. This can be skins for monsters or hunters, as well as very minor boosts to abilities.

Gameplay:

Monster(3 available, 4th released soon):

As the monster your first aim when the game starts will be to feed and grow. In your first evolution you are incredibly weak and running from the hunters should be a priority, fighting them will only result in almost certain failure. Killing little creatures should provide plenty of food, as they’re scattered across the map, just remember that clumps of birds announce your location if your loud, and you leave tracks wherever you go. Being sneaky is vital to staying alive and hiding from hunters, but if you’re not careful they’ll leave traps, harpoons or turrets around for you.
Certain elite creatures drop ‘buffs’ which can offer improvements, these can range from; movement speed increase, ability cooldown reduction and armour regeneration. So be sure to try and grab these when you can as they last a long period of time.
When evolving you will lose all your armour and be vulnerable for around 10 seconds, so when you do choose to become stage 2/3 make sure it’s away from hunters and in a safe location or you might lose a lot of health, hindering you later on in the game.

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Once you’re stage 2/3 and have full armour then you can begin picking fights. It’s a fantastic feeling of turning the tables from the hunted to the hunter, if you manage to down a hunter, they will receive a downed mark, 2 more of these and they won’t be able to be revived from team-mates (or you can choose to hammer them when they’re downed and kill them immediately’. Once triggered a 2 minute timer will appear until hunters re-spawn, in those 2 minutes take full advantage to get the other hunters or finish the main objective. 

The different monsters range from; Goliath, Wraith and Kracken, as well as the soon to be released Behemoth.

Hunters (12 available):
Medic:
The name speaks for itself, you need to heal the team and make sure they stay alive. Alongside a heal you also have a sniper rifle which will place weaknesses on the monster where you hit them. Finally, remember, you will usually be the first target.

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Assault:
You are the big damage dealer, your job will be to hurt the monster, plain and simple. Each different assault has their own weapons and abilities but they all have a personal shield to defend themselves.

Trapper:
As the trapper you need to catch the monster and stop them, primarily you will need to set up a trapper arena and capture the monster inside it, this is the best time to damage the monster and prevent it from going anywhere. Also you will need to place harpoon mines in order to slow down the monster.

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Support:
Similarly to the Assault you also deal plenty of damage, but you should also prioritise on giving your team-mates a shield to prevent them from taking further damage, as well as a cloaking system which allows anyone around you to turn invisible.

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All of the hunters AND monsters are incredibly fun in their own right, you either feel very important to a team or a very strong individual. This is great as it allows you to switch roles whenever you want to to keep the game fluid and enjoyable. The only downside to this is the constant repetition of playing the same few people over and over again until you’re able to unlock more. E.g. you can’t access Kracken until you have done enough damage with Goliaths abilities and reached the first ‘star’ level in each area.

The gameplay itself can become a bit stale after a while, when you constantly do the same thing over and over it becomes boring quickly, after asking a few players what they think of the game, they absolutely love it for everything it is, however can’t play it for extended periods of time as it gets too dull. Luckily games can last anywhere between 3-4 minutes to around 20 depending on skill level.

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Overall

Evolve is an undeniably great game, with some great visuals and strong gameplay. It was a very hyped game, but gamers were met with constant updates and improvements keeping the hunger for it. The game-play is enjoyable and fun, with a new flare for multiplayer and teamwork. I do hope that the game doesn’t become a large DLC-fest when you want to pay for skins or looks. Unfortunately the co-op also becomes stale after repeatedly playing the game as it becomes the same in every mode, this could stop players enjoying the game or even wanting to try it. Even with the different characters and monsters it might not make a difference once you’ve tried them all.

£34.99 / $59.99 – Standard Edition
£46.99 – Deluxe edition
£58.99 – Monster Race edition

7.5 / 10

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