fri 19/04/2019

Evolve | reviews, news & interviews

Evolve

Evolve

The team behind Left 4 Dead deliver more squad multiplayer mayhem

Asymmetric monster-versus-squad multiplayer

Four human players team up to take on a monster – also played by another player. That's the simple version of Evolve, a mainly multiplayer online game developed by the team that created the superlative squad horror series Left 4 Dead. It's a great idea – but is let down in execution, so far.

The core of Evolve is its asymmetric play – with each side and each character requiring radically different approaches and skills even within one match. As the monster, you start each match in a weak position. You've got to move fast, but stealthily, through the industrial areas and jungles of the alien planet, evading the hunting squad of humans and eating other wildlife until you "evolve" to stage 3.

Stage 3 is when you transition from Godzuki to full-on Godzilla. You start off able to move fast, sniff out prey and climb just about anything, but hit stage 3 and you can hurl massive rocks, breathe fire, jump-stomp entire squads and you're massive. At that point, your job is to go ape crazy on the remaining hunters – throwing them round like confetti.

Evolve - from makers of Left 4 Dead squad multi-playerThe hunters meanwhile are a squad of four specialised humans – assault, support, medic, traps. With a team working together they're a great combination, but individually they're puny in comparison to the monster. So you need all four to work cooperatively – the trapper needs to trap the monster, the soldier piles in with weapons, the medic heals team members while sniping and the support throws in shields and aerial bombardments.

Played single-player, the "bot" AI-controlled squadmates and monsters do a fairly decent job. But online, so far, is a different matter. It's the usual sad story of a lack of cooperation. High-end players charge off into the undergrowth; low-end players fail to get your back or do their assigned job well. The game doesn't offer good quality training, advice or visual cues to help players and the result is all too often a chaotic mess.

Evolve - from makers of Left 4 Dead squad multi-playerIt's this delicate balance between teaching and guiding newer players, rather than just dropping them into the middle of a firefight - not presenting a massively steep learning curve, but also enabling depth and strategic play for tougher gamers - that so many multi-player games fail at. Sadly, the signs are Evolve fails here too.

It looks great, and periodically plays tensely on both sides. And in a few months, the remaining hardcore fanbase should find much to enjoy once all players are skilled enough. But for now, it doesn't deliver good matches either for beginners or the hardcore.

Stage 3 is when you transition from Godzuki to full-on Godzilla

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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