To say that people are hyped for Evolve would be an understatement. The game regularly attracts queues of several hours at expos, and it was with this knowledge that I headed straight to the game’s booth when doors opened at EGX 2014. Having now played the game, I’m more than a little confused: why are people so excited for this mediocrity?
I had a 5 player multiplayer demo on the Xbox One – four were Hunters, and one was the Monster. Before things kicked off, we decided who was who, and picked our classes – I went for Assault. After a brief introduction, things were away.
Immediately evident was the game’s lack of graphical prowess. It’s perfectly fine, yes, but it’s by no means gorgeous, and it certainly doesn’t push the boundaries much. More worrying than this was the lack of direction within the game. The first few minutes were spent aimlessly wondering around – attempting to look for the Monster’s tracks, but having no indication of where to look. Knowing that we needed to get up a cliff, but not managing to figure out how to scale it. It wasn’t the best start. It became very clear that voice communication was key, but with a group of strangers this isn’t the easiest or most natural thing.
After a while, we could see some birds flying away – indicating that the Monster was nearby. In an exhilarating twist of events, I spotted a large object dart across in the distance: we’d found it. The whole team began to chase it, and after a few missteps we stumbled across the gargantuan creature. It’s fairly intimidating to come up against, but it soon turned out that its only real power was aesthetics. Thanks to the classes’ unique abilities, taking it out was easy – anticlimactic, almost. The Trapper contained the flying creature, whilst myself and the Support laid on the fire. A bit of dodging, and a bit of healing from the Medic and we soon had it down. This was the biggest disappointment for me. There wasn’t any real challenge, and it’s difficult to see how the Monster could ever win. Although it’s certainly a powerful creature, even a teensy bit of teamwork was more than enough to defeat it, and this balance seems wrong. The beauty of the Left 4 Dead game modes on which Evolve is based is that both zombies and humans had an equal chance of winning, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Asymmetric multiplayer can be really fun, but when implemented like this it leaves one side frustrated, and the other a little bored.
Perhaps Evolve can…evolve into something better between now and release. But for now, I’d caution you to temper your expectations. It’s a perfectly competent game, and it is enjoyable. But it’s not the revolutionary spectacle I was hoping for and expecting.