A Hands-On Look at Evolve

Lindsay Ferguson and others from ZAM played Evolve at E3 and can't wait to see more.

Today at E3, Cody Bye, who is known around the office as "DoctorAFK", showed everyone on our team why he's the President of ZAM during our hands-on session with Evolve.

2K and Turtle Rock hauled their set-up in full E3 style and I got to experience what this madness with the huge monster was all about. This game isn't structured like any others out there: it's a dynamic 4 versus 1 deathmatch, which basically means four hunters track, trap and take down one big baddie. The baddie is not your usual boss AI: it's controlled by a player. In our game, I was assigned to Assault, which is their heavy damage-dealing class with some serious swagger, wielding a flamethrower and a minigun. Another co-worker picked up the Trapper, whose job is to trap and contain the monster with a harpoon and a pet called Daisy. The Support and Medic rounded out our 4-man hunter party.

Cody picked up the Kraken, who has a whole array of exciting things to murder you with. A boss playing a boss. How meta. Evolve's monsters are unlike your typical bosses in that they are able to feast on wildlife to build up armor, and they barrage your team with lightning strikes, mines and their general ability to stomp you to death. They also evolve as the match progresses, which is the hunters' impetus to work cooperatively, communicate and destroy the monster as quickly as possible before he gets out of control at Stage 3.

If left to their own chaos-inducing selves in the 20-minute matches, the bosses will evolve very quickly and leave you chasing a mountain-sized death machine on legs. Surprisingly, it had taken us a good bit of time to track down something so large in a map with a lot of verticality. When we encountered the Kraken for the first time in our match, he had evolved to Stage 2. That skirmish did not go well for us, with frantic mayhem coming from not knowing precisely where the damage was coming from or how to cooperatively work to counter-attack the Kraken. Granted, it was our first time with this game, so mayhem was bound to happen. We had another failed skirmish, as the general strategy of the match is to wear each other down as the clock ticks away.

In our final attempt at a take-down, the Kraken had reached Stage 3, and our pack of hunters were no closer to utilizing our abilities in a way that was very effective. The Medic spent half of our final match reviving me for being a noob with a controller while everyone else was attempting to chip away at the impressive boss health bar. It was all to no avail, and the Kraken downed the Medic. It all went downhill from there, but in the best, most engaging way imaginable.

What I personally felt was that the OP nature of the Kraken needs some balancing. Alone, he's really strong. When you add in the perfect synergy needed to take him down, the game can feel very black and white: you either have the coordination to win, or you don't. The only way to get that coordination is through communication. Lots and lots of communication. An intrinsic knowledge of how each of the four classes work together also goes a long way. As mentioned earlier, there's bound to be some missteps and frantic fumblings of a first-timer, so a lot of the balancing would be solved simply by playing often.

There's so much potential, and I, for one, look forward to seeing how Evolve...evolves. Sorry, that was lame, but I had to. Overall, the game leaves you feeling thrilled and wanting more – which you can do starting October 21.

Lindsay Ferguson, Brand Ambassador


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