Evolve_Box_Art.jpgA little taste of something old and something new, the squad based co-op doesn’t see a ton of releases, and nothing quite like this short of Monster Hunter itself.  Armed to the teeth with sci-fi tools and weapons, take a team of four and face the biggest darn monster this side of Godzilla.  Asymmetrical, first-person shooting, if you don’t fancy being the humans, be the monster instead.  Hunt and be hunted, with Evolve.

Come visit a lush, verdant alien planet, rich in resources and ripe for human occupation. Unfortunately, we weren’t here first, and the locals (be it plant or animal) aren’t what you call friendly. Become a hunter, part of the squad of four tasked with cleaning out the monster infestation.  Alternatively, be the monster, doing the same to the humans invading your territory. It’s Humans vs. Monsters: time to pick a side.

Evolve is developed by Turtle Rock Studios and published by Take-Two Interactive

Release Date: Feb 10, 2015

Consoles: PC, Xbox One, PS4

Genre: Squad based co-op, First-person shooter

Rating: M

There be Monsters in that forest!

Just defining a game can require an entire sentence these days: this is an asymmetrical, first person, squad based co-op shooter. Be that as it may, it requires all of those words to properly describe Evolve. It comes from developers Turtle Rock Studios, the folks that brought you excellent squad based zombie shooter, Left 4 Dead. There are monsters here—the really big kind. Luckily, you have a squad of hunters, their ranks filled with just the sort of crazy personalities you’d expect hunting giant, meat-eating, humanity-hating terrors. Though, honestly, even with all the science fiction gadgets and weaponry, orbital cannons, tracking tech and so on, against a three storey, armored monstrosity that gets stronger as the game goes on, it still doesn’t seem very fair.

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On an alien planet, known as Shear, in the far distant future, mankind has found themselves at war with enormous alien monsters that seem to disapprove of mankind’s presence there (judging by the murderous rampages and the path of destruction they tend to leave in their wake). Luckily this is the future, and we meager humans aren’t exactly pushovers. We have technology! And high explosives … lots of those.

For those of us who enjoy a squad based shooter, Evolve has received praise for its well balanced, well crafted game play. As the humans, you have a team of up to four players, with AI bots filling in if you’ve got some empty slots, pitting themselves against one player, who gets to be the big bad alien. The squad of hunters consists of four classes, each class with three character choices. These aren’t merely a choice of different character models and voice actors, each character in this monster hunting extravaganza is unique, with their own skill sets, strengths, and weapons abilities. Success for the hunting party means teamwork, working with the many different weapons and auxiliary abilities in conjunction with those of their teammates.

Character classes include:

Assault – As the name would imply, these are your big guns, the tank, the main damage dealer. With a shield ability for temporary invulnerability, your available weapons (based on character choice) include really fun things like a flamethrowers, lightning guns, and multi-fire rocket launchers. Awesome right?

Trapper – What hunting party is complete without one of these? Armed with the ability to drop down a ‘mobile arena’, the trapper helps lock down the beast you are after. Though they tend to do light damage output, trappers each come with, well… traps. Slowing your prey down, locking them in stasis, tracking abilities, one of them even has a ‘bear-dog’, which pretty much chooses my favorite character for me.

Medic – The most important, most overlooked roll in class based battle, and that goes for RPGs as well as shooters, any team is only as good as its medic. Though not my cup of tea, I’ve played with some excellent ‘medic players’ in my time, and they made all the difference in the world. As well as the obvious buffs and heals, Medics come strapped with sniper rifles and grenade launchers. I think I could get down with a medic who also launches grenades: I’d call that multitasking.

Support – Not dissimilar to the medics, support is an “assist” class, a multi-tool that provide buffs and helps get the job done. Not content simply to aid their fellow players, Support class pack a punch too, with abilities like
“Orbital Barrage”, “Sentry Gun”, and my personal favorite “Rail Canon.”


Now, as for the monsters, Evolve isn’t simply a game of blind offense, and there is a reason it’s named that way. Monsters don’t start as big and bad as they eventually become. Players who helm these big uglies have their own objectives (kill and eat everyone, for example) and the monster can undergo up to three evolutions . To fuel the change, the monster in question must hunt the local wildlife, while avoiding the team hunting it. Requiring time and patience, I have no doubt that a fully upgraded monster laying waste to its enemies must be a real treat, unless you’re those enemies, then it must be abject terror.

Monsters include:

Kraken – Looking like a child of the elder god (that would be Cthulu) this tentacle faced horror can fly and shoot lightning . Because being a big disgusting monster wasn’t enough, now it can snipe electricity from above. And you thought normal snipers were a pain.

Wraith – The rogue of the group, the Wraith is a stealth based class, though there will be no backstabs here. As if we all don’t have reason enough to hate rogues, now the invisible opponent is ten feet tall (to start), and can teleport.

Behemoth – What’s in a name? I knew this would be my favorite straight off the hop. The biggest, strongest, and hardest to take down, the Behemoth is everything a monster named after the biblical beastie should be. He’s not just armor plating either, able to climb walls, he can curl up in a ball and do his best impression of the boulder from Indian Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark too. Beware the rolling monster!

Made by a team who have a history of making well crafted squad based shooters, Evolve is a unique title in a sea of franchises trying to distinguish themselves. Though there is a price to being unique, the monster hunting thing isn’t for everyone( as crazy as that might sound) but I am seeing a lot of reviews giving it solid 8’s and 9’s. Watch some footage, if you aren’t even a little impressed you have some very high standards.   Now, if you have the guts, go fling your oh so small and fragile human characters against oversized alien monstrosities that want nothing more than the annihilation of your species.

Evolve is available now for the PC, Xbox One, PS4

Don’t have the hardware?  Check out the Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Unity and Evolve Bundle

A firm believer in "you have to get old, but you don't have to grow up," I've been an unabashed lover of nerdy things for a good long while and don't plan to stop anytime soon. With experience on both sides of the video game, both as a consumer and a producer, and a love of the written word, I've managed to combine all three right here with the Plug-in blog