“It’s hunting time.”
Turtle Rock Studios’ Evolve game makes an amazing work and you will immediately feel that sound of thunder when you and three friends track down a huge monster in some muddy corner of the planet Shear. And if you feel like you need something new, you can even be the monster making that sound when you are trying to best four human controlled hunters. This is a rich and beautiful experience that sometimes gets ruined by a few things.
Much has been said about the game and the beta and we all know the basics already: We have four classes: Support, Trapper, Healer, and Assault. You can support your team with shields, turrets or vision or you can trap the monster to deny him the escape. You can heal your team because, you know, everyone likes to win or you can also deal damage. Simple, right?
Right now on release date, you can also select 3 different characters for each profession. Perhaps you don’t want to use your assault rifle to deal damage and you are more into shotguns instead. Or you are better off with your shinny flamethrower while your trapper keeps the beast nice and still. Every single character for every single profession will have a different gameplay with a new set of skills that will make you try different team combinations, and that is something that has been done properly. Your beast to hunt will also vary so, there is that. You need to dress for the occasion.
It is truly amazing to become the monster. It’s large and becomes larger as you evolve and improve your skills, and is elusive thanks to some stealth abilities that will allow you to eat and hunt safely. You are able to traverse the map with greater ease than the hunters and that is a fresh feeling if you are tired of being the hunter. You will appreciate the lack of a Jet Pack to jump between mountains. But this has a price: footprints and flustered birds provide markers for the monster’s location as the humans try to get eyes on it. And suddenly, it’s on. The Assault, Medic, Support, and Trapper hunters are there trying to get you down.
There is something really bad about being the beast, though: The third-person perspective doesn’t help. Playing as a hunter has the look of a first-person shooter you feel distant from the action. There are remarkable moments when you are a fully evolved beast ready to bring hell, but fighting the humans feels confusing.
Gameplay aside, there are a few issues with the game. Turtle Rock put too much faith on a new franchise making it online only. They seem to have used the lack of single player modes or campaigns to deliver a horrible AI. If someone disconnects from the game, you will usually have a really dumb bot for a partner running in circles and doing nothing. And that is the best case scenario: if the Beast disconnects, there is a huge chance you will be fighting a huge beast that gets stuck with tiny walls and rocks or simply stands still. Frozen.
There is another big issue that talks about how much faith the developer studio had on the title: The DLCs. We are talking about a game that had DLCs announced 13 months before the release date. We are talking about a game that had DLCs announced before even a damn screenshot of the game were shown. We are talking about a game that had DLCs ready to sell on Day 1 after release. What. The. Hell. We are talking about a game that is charging you $5.99 for a skin that is simple a color change. And we are talking about a game that will sell you more characters because, you know, $60 for a regular version without much content, $80 for a deluxe edition or even $100 for the premium version will not help cover the development costs.
Let me give you a business tip: we are in a world where people pay for convenience. If one of the first things you have to show about your game is a screenshot to compare what different versions of different platforms will have and what not, you are in trouble. If you are bold enough to deliver a new franchise with a $100 premium version that doesn’t include things you can buy as DLCs on day 1, you are in big trouble.
Evolve as it’s released this week is not the Evolve that will exist in just a few months. Turtle Rock and 2K already have a fourth monster, new maps and hunters, and more stuff coming this way. But yes, you will have to pay for them.