Here we are, post E3 and if you keep track of video games…it was like Santa came down and showed us all that Christmas is coming. For most of us Christmas is coming next year….but we’ll leave that alone for now.
One of the fresh presents coming this year happens to be one of my favorite experiences of this years E3. Evolve. Now if you don’t know much about the game, here’s a quick low-down:
From Turtle Rock Studios, creators of Left 4 Dead, comes Evolve, the next generation of multiplayer shooters where four Hunters face off against a single, player-controlled Monster in adrenaline-pumping 4v1 matches. Play as the Monster to use savage abilities and an animalistic sense to kill your human enemies, or choose one of four Hunter classes (Assault, Trapper, Medic and Support) and team up to take down the beast on the planet Shear, where flora and fauna act as an adversary to man and monster alike. Level up to unlock new Hunter or Monster characters as well as upgrades, skins, and perks. Earn your infamy on the leaderboards and become the apex predator.
The guys at 2k definitely brought their A game to E3 this year. Pax East was an appetizer and for many, the first time you were able to get your hands on the game and see it with your own two eyes. In Los Angeles this year, the monster statue came back and their press area this time around was sizable. They have you sign in and welcome you to the experience by sitting you in a room with the other players and showing you a quick little demo video showcasing each of the new hunters and their abilities. And then comes the brand new video for the Kraken.
I know….pretty awesome. If I had been able to wait just a bit longer I was told that I could play as that monstrosity. However I was pressed for time and decided to jump in as on of the hunters. And I was not disappointed. They sat me down on a seat made to look like a rock (get it…Turtle Rock studios) and gave me the Xbox One controller (hooked up and calibrated to a high-end pc) and finally let me at it. I put the 7.1 surround sound headphones on and bid adieu to the outside world.
I was the new Trapper, Maggie with her trusty pet. As soon as the game started you get an IMMEDIATE sense of urgency. You need to find this monster fast before it gets the chance to evolve and totally annihilate your entire team. One of the main things the developers said was that when in doubt of where the monster was…follow Maggie’s pet. Even if footprints are non existent (The monster will leave behind a trail unless they choose to go into stealth mode, where the hunters can no longer view its prints), the pet will be able to follow the monsters sent and lead the hunters to the Kraken.
As the trapper my main weapons were a SMG like gun and my Harpoon weapon. When dealing with a monster that can fly, use a tendril sweep, and has electric and vortex attacks, the harpoon weapon is absolutely necessary. Unlike other classes the trapper has one focus…find and contain the monster. Your weapon does significant damage but your specific job, as I saw it, was to hunker down and make sure your team had something to shoot at.
Despite it being my first time having hands on with Evolve, I did very well for myself. First of all let me get some of the scrutinizing things out of the way. The environment…is large. It was a compound set within a swampland forrest and traversal is key to finding the monster quickly. You have to get used to your jetpack and surroundings as soon as possible. The graphics were gorgeous and never let up. The frame rate was perfect for such a action heavy game. All in all the entire experience as a game, was inspiring.
While I didn’t stay with my team the ENTIRE TIME ( they ran off and I was focused on following the pet), I don’t think you get a better sense of teamwork in any game I’ve ever played. You work as a unit or you die and you need to develop a strategy if you even hope to take the monster down. My strategy was focused as a player and not really a team, unfortunately mostly because I was completely new to the game and essentially had no time to develop a strategy. Basically I threw down my dome-shield, made sure the monster could not fly away, harpooned it in one place, and shot it to pieces.
As a monster your tactics are worlds different and unfortunately I was unable to experience them first hand but from what I’ve seen you do get a head start as to get your bearings and start to hunt down animals which you have acute senses to track. You hide and feed until you’re strong enough to attack the hunters. This time around with the Kraken, you can fly. So it’s less a battle of ground traversal and more an arial battle. From what I’m told playing the monster can be the highlight of the game.
Bottom line: is that the game doesn’t necessarily re-invent the wheel when it comes to gameplay (guns and jetpacks have been around for a long while now) but the amount of polish it puts on that wheel…is blinding. This game just gets multiplayer right and even puts its own unique spin on it. For so many franchises that put out sequel after sequel, having something brand-spanking-new that looks and feels so good is something to get excited about. My team won the game, took down the monster, and as a little added bonus the developers awarded me the MVP of the group for doing a great job playing my class (I’m not new to shooters.)
My E3 experience with Evolve gets a 8.75 out of 10.
With the current game drought we’re all experiencing, when Evolve gets released on October 21st of this year…I’ll be extremely happy to turn on my PS4 again.
Look for more E3 news and hands on reviews as the week continues and stay tuned for more general gaming news from us here at Aggressive Comix.