After Turtle Rock handed Left 4 Dead over to Valve, (who now own the L4D IP) the developer needed a new idea that would still play to their multiplayer strengths. Evolve was born. A game that will perform at its peak when one player takes the role of its main antagonist – a dragon/demon that’s hell-bent on destroying anyone or anything in its path.
The biggest question of all isn’t how the hunters play. It isn’t even how the next-gen engine runs on consoles…it’s all to do with that monster. How on earth do you create an enemy that a player isn’t only going to want to try out, but keep playing as?
Evolve will require one player to take on the role of the beast for a rounds entirety. No player choice re-spawns (like L4D’s Hunters, Smokers, Boomers etc.). If you die, the round is over. This is the very reason why we’ve been so intrigued with Evolve’s new IP.
Playing as the monster, you begin the tutorial deep within wild terrain. You’ll be at a basic stage at this point, as you’ll need to kill and feed on the wildlife to build and replenish armour (hunters will rip you apart if you go into battle unprepared). Basic training will have you leap and climb from various surfaces.
Balance is the key to a game like Evolve. Despite the sheer size of the beast, it’s need to feed and progression can work against it. Feed too often and birds will try and nudge-in on the feed, alerting hunters to your position (striping you of valuable time to armour and level-up). Carelessly stomp your way around and hunters will easily able to track your prints through the terrain.
The first offensive ability you’ll be introduced to, is the leap attack. It not only causes major damage from afar, it looks freakin’ awesome! (especially when performed from elevated positions). You’ll have four abilities to your arsenal. Rock Throw, Leap Attack, Fire (dragon-style!) and the Lunge. All designed to make you lethal, no matter what your surroundings!
Each ability requires recharging after use but combination is possible as there is no charge between overall ability use. This not only makes close-encounters devastating for hunter players, but forces them to work together to take you down. They’ll be no match for you split-up!
With each feed and armour replenish, you’ll notice a blue dial gradually fill-up. Once this reaches its max, your monster will ‘Evolve’ (level-up) and you can choose to spend points to strengthen each of your abilities.
Our time with Evolve’s monster was a really enjoyable one. I honesty didn’t expect to want to play as the beast at all (especially once I’d watched that awesome intro) but the fluid controls and devastating abilities (that are as fun to watch as they are to perform) give Evolve a running head-start over many other co-op games.
Turtle Rock certainly seem to have created a worthy follow-up to Lead 4 Dead. The studio are now becoming renowned for amazing co-op game experiences. We can’t wait to see how this game develops over the coming months.