Always been a bit curious about Evolve, but been worried about putting any cash down because of all the talk about longevity and DLC minefields? We don’t blame you to be honest, but it’s always good to try a game for yourself over anything you’ll read about it. So it’s fantastic news that you’ll be able to play the game for free for a few days this weekend. Continue reading Play Evolve for free this weekend
Turtle Rock’s upcoming game puts a team of four players against one player-controlled monster in an intense online skirmish that will require teamwork, bravery and just enough humility to know when to retreat for a while. Earlier this week, I detailed my experience playing as the Kraken monster in Evolve. Today, it’s time to hear what playing on the hunter team is like, specifically in the Medic role. Playing as the monster is a solitary experience, but on the hunter’s team, co-ordination is key to success or at least survival.
Before getting into the details of my medic playthrough though, a little introduction of some general match details. As I detailed in my Kraken hands-on report, the hunter team are dropped into the stage a minute or so after the monster meaning they have to track it down, hopefully before it manages to evolve into later forms.
Maggie, the team’s trapper has a pet Trapjaw, an ‘alien dogbeast’ that can be used to track the monster, providing glowing images of footprints on the ground for the team to follow. Unless, the monster ran up the river like I did.
There’s more to worry about than the monster though as each map is filled with local wildlife that can be just as dangerous. Large creatures like the Megamouth like to lurk in bushes and will pounce upon and trap hunters in their mouth until a teammate shoots them free or they’re devoured. There are meeker creatures that won’t attack you and others that will if provoked. Generally though, you won’t want to kill much of the local wildlife because you’re simply providing ready-made meals for the monster, allowing it to reach its next form even faster as they beef up for the finale.
Getting around the large levels is aided by a jetpack that allows you to climb the cliffs when in pursuit of the monster. The Kraken can fly and climb walls, so be prepared for a few vertical chases. These jetpacks can only go so far before needing an unreasonably lengthy recharge, which can be a deadly issue when defending a generator on a high-up platform as the monster will switch between attacking from above and below, often stranding you below for a while if you don’t keep an eye on the fuel gauge.
Lazarus – The Medic
Lazarus the medic is a player strictly based behind his team. He’s the only character able to revive teammates and as such will be the first target for any savvy player behind the eyes of the monster. There’s no magic gun that fires a persistent healing beam as in Team Fortress 2 though. Lazarus only has a recharging deployable health pack that heals anyone in the immediate area. Player health does not regenerate automatically, so careful use of this Healing Burst ability is key to keeping them in prime condition.
The Lazarus Device is the most important item in his tool belt though thanks to its unique ability of reviving fallen players. Naturally, the monster will lay traps for you by killing teammates and waiting to kick your ass when you appear corpse-side with the device. Thankfully, this version of Evolve’s medic class (there will be at least two in the final game) also has a temporary cloaking device to turn invisible, giving you an extra chance of reviving a teammate without being detected. Your team will also play an important role in helping you revive comrades, as they can draw attention away from you with their weapons and traps.
When called into action to swoop in and save someone, playing as the medic can be fun. Unfortunately, the rest of the time it’s undeniably dull playing as the first-aider while everyone else gets to hog all the monster-slaying glory. Lazarus does have a sniper rifle to attack from afar and supposedly uncover weak spots for the assault class to target for extra damage, but the on-screen feedback of such spots is seemingly non-existent at this stage.
It’s clear that the devs (or at least the enthusiastic 2K rep dashing around behind us giving is advice) wants the medic to stay out of the fight and hang back as much as possible. Well, fingers crossed by the final game the sniper rifle will appear to be more useful instead of a token weapon to make it look like the medic is contributing on an offensive level. On the strength of this playthrough, the medic is the “not-it” character of the team-selection screen, where each hunter team must have one player in each role (assault, medic, trapper and support).
So far, Evolve hasn’t made the best of impressions. The Kraken is a clunky creature to control and it’s frequently unclear what it’s supposed to be doing when the objectives change beyond killing the hunters. While playing as the medic is sadly just a little boring unless you’re diving in under the monster’s feet while wearing your invisibility cloak to revive another teammate who got a little brave.
I can also see how until everyone gets really good at playing the game in the other hunter roles, the medic is going to be the most important player in the team –or the one that clears up their mess and suicidal charges. If you’re going to play Evolve online with randomers, the fact that you may have a moron in the medic’s shoes means you’re also probably fucked from the start.
I want to be more excited about Evolve than I am right now, but the great idea of four players taking on a massive boss character badly needs polish, or ironically given the name, a few more rounds of evolution as it’s currently slipping down the food chain.
Nom the humans!
Turtle Rock’s upcoming title wants to shake things up a notch. The idea of four players teaming up to take on a large boss enemy is nothing new. But having a fifth player controlling the boss? That’s something we can definitely say we want a part of.
During my visit to the recent MCM Manchester Comic Con expo I was able to play the game as one of the hunters and as one of the newly revealed monster characters, the Kraken. Today’s preview is going to focus on the later, because let’s face it, why wouldn’t I tell you about controlling this absolute beast of a creature first?
While there will be a separate solo campaign mode, most of the buzz around the game has been about the four vs one concept. In today’s stage the hunters were tasked with killing the monster before it was able to feed enough to evolve into larger forms. The monster’s objective though was either to take out all the hunters before they had a chance to revive each other or to grow strong enough to destroy a large generator at a facility on the other side of the jungle. Players are able to choose a perk in the match’s lobby such as faster feeding or tougher armour. I went for faster feeding, as I was keen to max out the monster’s form before trying to take on the hunters.
The monster gets a head start when the round begins before the hunters are dropped into the same location. Rather than wait for them, I was advised to get as far away as possible and to feed on smaller creatures to evolve to the second form to deal more damage and become tougher to kill.
Knowing the hunters would be using a pet creature to track the scent of my footsteps, I decided to start the match by walking up a river, hoping the water would hide my tracks. It seemed to work too as it was a good few minutes before I was discovered. Before being found I was able to eat a few herbivore dinosaur-like creatures after taking them out with a few powerful swipe attacks. Once a feed meter has been filled I had to find a quiet area to enter a vulnerable cocoon state to evolve to the second stage. After what felt like forever, I emerged with a few skillpoints that I was able to spend on boosting some of the Kraken’s abilities.
After getting out of the surprisingly sticky upgrade screen, I realised that I was under attack. The hunters had found me, and I was surprised at just how puny they appeared. Time to unleash some monster mayhem.
Unlike the Goliath monster, the Kraken is more of a ranged specialist. Controlling the Cthulhu-like monster, I was able to hover in the air and send down multiple attacks. Targeted lightning strikes can be aimed at specific targets from afar, meaning you can pick off members of the hunter team one at a time, while also staying out of the way of the heavy damage weapons like the flamethrower. While the monster’s shield may regenerate, the health bar does not.
Monsters need to know when to fall back, as it’s all too easy to get trapped in one of the trapper domes. Although, if the hunters co-ordination goes to hell, it can be a case you having them exactly where you want them. Let’s just say I took advantage of them not realising they were free to leave the dome.
The banshee mine attack sends out numerous explosive orbs that are useful for keeping the hunters moving, ensuring they have less time to line up a decent shot. Keeping them panicked and disorganised is going key to victory. The most useful attack I found though was the vortex blast, which acts like a powerful gust of wind that, with careful aiming, can send the entire party tumbling away, which is perfect for giving you some breathing room if the little sods start to get organised.
Sometimes though, you have to move in for some close melee attacks, usually to finish off an opponent and maybe feast on their remains if their team has abandoned them. The melee attack moves feel pretty awful though at this stage, there’s no sense of weight or connection to them and they feel decidedly unresponsive and sluggish. I found myself hammering the melee button and just hoping to see a hunters health bar diminish. It’s even more noticeable when taking on the local wildlife in order to evolve to a new form. The lack of physicality for the melee moves somewhat ruined the sense of being a huge powerful creature and I dearly hope Turtle Rock can beef them up by release.
There were a few bugs during the demo that will hopefully be ironed out by release too. The sound dropped out for most of my playthrough with only the odd muted explosion coming through, not ideal when you’re trying to listen out for signs of the hunter pack. Also, on my final assault on the generator a prompt never appeared telling me I needed to hold certain buttons to initiate damaging attacks, so I just hammered away with regular attacks doing no damage. A big thanks to the 2K rep behind me who didn’t think this would be useful information for me either.
What has become clear though is that Evolve isn’t going to be one for quick matches. Most matches at the expo took around twenty minutes, which feels a bit too long. Alternatively, the monster could opt to ambush the hunters straight away before they’ve had time to compose themselves and I’ve read reports that matches can be over in less than ten minutes if you get lucky this way. But with queues at MCM being 90 minutes long, nobody really wanted to put this to the test.
Stay tuned for part two of my preview where the tables are turned and I recount my experience playing as a medic on the hunter’s team. [UPDATE: Or click this link to read it now!]