The Wrap - Evolve is a sound game with balanced gameplay, great graphics, decent AI, and it shows a lot of promise. However it feels more like an expansion of another game rather than a fully fleshed-out game engine. The gameplay, while good, becomes repetitive and the various modes are more of a continuation and slight variation of the default Hunt mode, yet stills feels like you are playing Hunt mode. The objectives may have changed, but the gameplay still feels the same, whether you are hunting the monster, destroying eggs, or rescuing colonists.
The maps, while graphically impressive, are drab with its colors and rather forgettable. A shame, considering this is set on an alien world. So we were hoping to see some jaw-dropping locations, instead it was rather underwhelming and boring in spots.
And speaking of boredom, the matches can feel long and drawn out as well, when you are playing as the hunters. Unless you are able to keep pace with the monster and find it rather quickly, you spend most of the time trying to track him down by his footprints, destroyed plant life, a flock of startled alien birds, or by using Daisy or some technological means. And that’s when things can get a bit monotonous.
Hunters need to be able to do something more than just track and kill the monster. Turtle Rock Studios needs to flesh out its Hunt mode more and add other activities or actions hunters can do while searching for their prey.
You have to complete pre-requisites for all abilities to unlock the next monster
But now we come to the biggest problem that Evolve has and that is the progression system. While there are three monsters and a total of 12 hunters to choose from, the majority of them are locked behind the game’s progression system. Players have access to Goliath and four tier 1 hunters, leaving eight hunters and two monsters to unlock. This devolves the game into a needlessly complicated grindfest.
The progression system forces you to rank all of your abilities in order to unlock the next character, for each class and monster. Which presents another problem; it ruins the game’s balance.. As the hunters, each member is critical to winning. But with the progression system, players will be forced to focus more on trying to level-up certain abilities, rather than focusing more on what abilities will best work for the team in the situation they are in.
But not only do you need to level-up your abilities to unlock characters, it also unlocks perks for your weapons, increased damage for a gun as an example, or perks for your character that can increase your damage overall, jump ability, and other advantages that will have an impact in the game. As such, if you are a new player and find yourself going up against an experienced player, you are already at a disadvantage because the more experienced player has access to perks and stronger abilities.
And because each hunter is vital to defeating the monster, pub games can make the game very frustrating. All it takes is one person who decides to be a troll, or an unfortunate newcomer who doesn't know what they are doing, and the probability of losing the match is very high.
Teamwork is essential if you want to defeat the monster.
Overall, Evolve is an enjoyable game that does a good job of bringing 4vs1 combat to gamers and is certainly a fantastic showpiece for what this kind of game can bring to players. But we feel that it is crippled by a unnecessarily complex progression system that ruins the game's balance. The game can also become repetitive while random matchmaking can make the game a frustrating experience. Then again, the game can be brilliant and highly enjoyable at times, when everything gels and everyone knows how to play the game.
It feels like Evolve, needs to evolve a little itself and we're hopeful it can.