Evolve is set to be an interesting and unique first person shooter action experience. The game is primarily a 4v1 multiplayer experience in which four players act as a team of monster hunters trying to take down a massive alien monster controlled by the fifth player. This creates a gameplay experience that is unique and is a refreshing departure from the traditional team deathmatch-style games that have inundated the FPS market for so long.
Graphically, Evolve takes full advantage of the power offered by the next generation console platforms. Environments are highly detailed and varied with plenty of three dimensional space to work with, allowing players and monsters to traverse cliffs and buildings and fly through the air. The game’s particle and weapon effects are top notch, and the UI is minimalistic while still being fully functional. As the monster, players will find that the game provides direct graphical feedback about their condition. As health deteriorates, bloody wounds will appear across the monster’s body.
The gameplay in Evolve is carefully balanced, and this creates what is perhaps its biggest risk. Unlike in other multiplayer shooters where players are essentially on the same playing field in terms of weapons and team strength, the 4v1 style of Evolve presents an entirely different balance system. Its early impressions present a good balance that will hopefully last through to its final release. The team of four hunters relies heavily on the synergy between players’ abilities. The loss of even a single member can be extremely debilitating for the team, giving the monster an edge that can lead to a cascade effect as more team members are taken down. With that said, player groups that maximize this synergy are very powerful. This style also forces very strong team play among the hunters. A group that becomes separated for a length of time very often loses the match.
The monster side presents an entirely new style of gameplay and is dramatically different from playing as the hunters. The monster is weak at the beginning and must work quickly to eat lesser creatures and evolve to power up. Since health cannot be regenerated, the monster must engage carefully and retreat to regenerate its armor or shield if it takes too much damage. Playing as the monster against a good team is an extreme challenge and will appeal to the solo player. This dual appeal, providing a gameplay aspect for both group and solo players, will surely be part of Evolve’s appeal among a wide variety of gamers.
One area in which Evolve falls particularly short at this stage of its development is in terms of story and content. While the developers have promised a single player aspect to the game and some sort of campaign feature, they have released sparse details. This means that the story element has taken an obvious back seat to the multiplayer features and will probably not be where the game stands out. This many turn off players looking for a rich story or some sort of RPG experience, but Evolve has taken no steps to present itself as that kind of game. The game does offer a unique and refreshing multiplayer action experience that’s sure to be a major hit when it is released.