Evolve Gameplay And Performance Review: A Humans Vs. Monsters Hunt


Evolve is a game of cat-and-mouse set on the planet Shear, a planet colonized by humans in the distant future. Players can assume the role of one of four hunters, in order to fight a monster that is controlled by another player. With multiplayer IP like this, gameplay balance is essential for Evolve and Turtle Rock Studios made sure to focus on that fact.

Each hunter is essential to the four man/woman team with four classes, and each class has three different characters. So there is a total of 12 characters to choose from with varying weapons and abilities.

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The hunters are getting ready to jump out of the ship and begin the hunt

There is the Assault class, which deals massive damage to the monster and can take some punishment. The Hunter class can trap the enemy in a massive dome, stop a monster’s movement with harpoons, and uses an animal or technology to help locate the monster faster. With Support you are there to aid your teammates by shielding another player, cloaking, and increasing damage output. Then there is the Medic class that focuses on reviving teammates, healing, and can even slow down the monster with a tranquilizer gun.

The abilities for the hunters, and weaponry, will vary depending on which character you pick to play in each class. And each class is crucial to defeating the monster, so that if you are down just one person you will not, in most cases, defeat the monster. In other words, teamwork is essential if you want to win a match as hunters.

Hunters fighting a Wraith with Val trying to heal Daisy in mid-air

On the other hand, there is the monster. It is a great role for gamers who are looking to play on their own, but still wish to match their skills and wits against other players. As the monster, we found the gaming experience to be a lot more exciting, terrifying, and enjoyable as we needed to avoid hunters at all costs, so we could evolve to stage 3 and then be ready to fight.

In Hunt mode, the game's default mode, you start off as a stage 1 monster that has to feed off of the extraterrestrial wildlife in order to evolve into a stronger monster and gain armor. Without armor, hunters are able to knock down your non-regenerative health quickly. But as you are trying to become stronger, you also have to avoid the hunters who are trying to find you.

Stage 1 Goliath that needs to get stronger before the hunters can find it

Staying ahead of the hunters is essential when you are the monster. When it comes time to evolve to the second or third stage, you had better make sure that the hunters are nowhere near you. The reason for this is that you are vulnerable while evolving as you spend around 10 seconds in one place as your monster grows larger and you choose what abilities to put your points into. But then, once you have evolved, whatever armor you had is lost and needs to be replenished. Otherwise, if the hunters trap you, then you will start to lose your health during the fight which, unless you can find the right buff, does not regenerate.

Like the hunters, there are three different monsters you can choose from. Goliath is a durable, melee monster; Kraken is a long-ranged flying monster with electrical-based attacks, and Wraith is a stealth-based, highly mobile creature that is rather overpowered in the game's current version.

That Goliath doesn't look very happy...

Aside from Hunt mode, where hunters have to kill the monster before it either wipes them out or evolves to stage 3 and destroys the power relay. There are three other modes. Nest is a mode in which six monster eggs are placed in random locations that the hunters need to locate and destroy while the monster has to protect them for 18 minutes. Rescue mode randomly places injured colonists that hunters will need to locate, revive, and protect them as they escape while the monster tries to kill them. Whoever saves or kills five colonists wins.

Finally, there is Defend mode. This is essentially the end part of Hunt mode with some additional objectives. The person who plays as the monster is given a fully evolved character, with some smaller Goliath minions to help, and must destroy all the power generators, and then the ship’s power source, before the ship is fully powered. Obviously, the hunters are tasked with stopping the monster from destroying everything.

Monster! Look out...oh wait...it's just one of the indigenous lifeforms on Shear

However, while both monsters and hunters are playing their game of cat and mouse, both sides need to be aware of their surroundings. The maps provided have an assortment of extraterrestrial creatures. Small ones, from the monster’s perspective, serve as food, but there are larger ones that will attack the monster and can cause some serious damage depending on how strong your monster is. Finally, some creatures will simply take too long to kill, allowing the hunters to catch up with the monster.

As for the hunters, the larger creatures will attack and can even kill a hunter if it is not killed quickly by the victim’s teammates. There are also carnivorous plants that will trap a hunter who doesn’t watch where they are going and devour them if their teammates are not around to get them out.

But if you don’t want to play with other people, then there is a solo option for you. Despite this being a multiplayer-only game, Turtle Rock Studios was smart enough to let gamers play Evolve by themselves with AI-controlled hunters and the monster. For the most part, the AI is fine, though monsters will just stand in one spot once in a while and hunters might have minor issues with line-of-sight. The solo game is enjoyable and gives players a challenge and a way to familiarize themselves with the game before going online and playing with other people.

Suffice to say, Evolve’s gameplay is well-balanced and has enough variety to keep you interested for a while. However, there are some elements in the game that tend to throw that balance off, but we will cover that later.

Meanwhile, we're sure you're wondering whether or not the game’s graphics complement its gameplay, so read on to find out.

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