As someone who just spent upwards of 300 hours grinding in Bungie’s Destiny, Turtle Rock Studios’ Evolve doesn’t feel as great as it could. You start off with one character unlocked for each class: Hunter, Trapper, Assault, and Support for the humans and Goliath for the monsters. To gain access to more you must grind. It’s not as terrible as the path Destiny had, but it is significant and actually gives players a competitive advantage on the battlefield.
Play enough of the Goliath and his abilities will do 2% more damage and eventually you’ll be able to play the Kraken. Continue onwards and his abilities will progressively get more powerful. It’s a slap in the face for those who are just trying to pick up and play the title, but for those that like a consistent goal to work towards, it is the game’s only significant form of progression.
There are a variety of game modes to play including Hunt, Nest, Rescue, and Defend. In each, players are tasked with different objectives.
Hunt has the four humans simply trying to take down the monster before it reaches stage three and destroys it’s objective.
Nest gives the monster a more defensive role as it needs to rapidly level up before the humans destroy eight eggs scattered across the map. If they take too long however, they’ll hatch into AI controlled stage one Goliath’s, giving them even more trouble.
Rescue turns the tide on the monster, forcing it to appear often as the humans try to deliver AI controlled survivors to the pick up point. Kill or save five of them and one side will earn the victory.
Defend is unique in that the humans are holed up with some support from turrets. So while it might appear as if they have the upper hand, the monster is auto-leveled to stage three and also has some of its own AI minions to help with the assault. If the humans hold up for five minutes they win, if they lose the checkpoint, the timer resets and they must do so again. The monster takes the game if it takes the third and final hope for humanity.
All of these blend extraordinarily well in the Evacuation game mode which is esentially a campaign that takes feedback in based on the outcome of the previous match. The winner gains a small advantage in the next round while the losers get buffed a bit.
For example, one round the humans failed to evacuate enough colonists and as a result a missile fired, freeing a bunch of the airborn specimens. During the next round those same animals populated the map, attacking the humans in their next attempt.
Another saw a portal malfunction, granting the monster the ability to teleport between the two wormholes.
Things like these keep each campaign fresh, regardless of how you perform there is always hope for doing better in the next round.
We had a chance to experiment with all of the core functions of the title, but didn’t have enough time to dedicate towards unlocking all the hunters and monsters. With 12 maps and countless modifiers, there’s a lot to experience if you’re willing to bite the bullet and put in enough time to improve your game.
Then again, without that form of progression many would potentially find Evolve to be a bit of a drag.