Evolve Review

Gamer’s test for optimists and pessimists: do you think it is possible to make a virtual fight of ten against one interesting for both sides?

To be honest, my humble answer would be “no”, unlike the developers from Turtle Rock Studios. And it should be noted that the developers came closer to an optimistic answer than anyone before them.

Image from the game Evolve

The essence of Evolve is that we have a team of soldiers, medics, engineers, and scouts from Team Fortress 2. The abilities are slightly shuffled, and each class has three different characters with their own unique tricks, but the overall formula never changes. The quartet’s goal is to find the bassist on the map and kill him, preferably by trapping him in a dome called “Mad Max 3”.

On the other side of the barricades, we have the bassist. He also has a set of different monsters, each with their own specifics and four super attacks.

An interesting point is that the class set for the match is fixed, so who plays for whom is determined by a random number generator and the gamers’ pre-established personal priorities. Before the first real game, the computer will ask you to assign classes in your personal rank table. For example, you would most like to play as a medic, then you can take the scout-trapper if the first two are unavailable, and if he is occupied, you can endure the hardships of life as an engineer-support. And if luck has completely turned away, then you take the bassist.

Then all five of them land on a fairly large map for intense chases, full of diverse alien fauna. If the hunters simply need to kill the monster to win, the monster needs to roam the local paths, hide from the hunters, eat other creatures, collect three levels of evolutionary essence, and then destroy some very important power block.

Or, alternatively, completely wipe out the hunters.

The monsters slaughter animals in a highly upgraded Smite format, with a view from behind, four skills with three levels of coolness each, and various jumping skill shots. The humanoids, on the other hand, work in classic FPS mode.

Another screenshot from Evolve

Just like in real life, in Evolve there are people for whom playing as a monster is a calling, but practice shows that no one wants to be a bassist. Despite my personal garbage monster rating, matchmaking regularly forced me to run through the jungle from hunters.

And, you know, at first the non-trivial gameplay for online shooters was quite enjoyable. All this initial conspiracy, chases, and scattering little humans in corners can easily kill a couple of hours of your time without you even noticing. Then, however, the realization comes that playing as a monster in Evolve is much more troublesome than playing as its pursuers.

The endless circling around the maps, despite hitting both sides of the conflict, tires out the monsters much more. Perhaps it’s because you constantly have to kill and eat the local neutral reptilian chickens. Imagine that in Quake 3 arenas, before picking up every first box of ammo and every first set of armor with a medkit, you have to hit them on the head. And if the armor is red, then you have to dance with it for a whole ten seconds. You quickly get tired (hehe) of this joy.

Hunters are spared from these foolishness. The nature surrounding people is 95% a source of unnecessary trouble, which is best to simply avoid, and 5% rare skins of local albinos, giving a bonus to each team member.

Another image showing the game's action

Also, face-to-face bets, as it seemed to your humble servant, are more fun to play for people. When playing as Krakens, everything is simple and straightforward: catch them in a dome – start throwing fireballs and lightning in all directions, take down the medic, and then everyone else. That’s it. You are a monster here, the landscape, random reptiles, or ten thousand different cooldowns from your comrades are no obstacle. And again, from the point of view of a trapper, four cockroaches don’t look serious.

But catching the bassist is already a worthy gamer’s task. Here you have to catch the bastard on the map, set up the dome skillfully, and accurately use your super weapons, and so on.

An additional plus is that the game world looks much brighter and more interesting through the eyes of the zoobrigade. Of course, in any online battle, the graphics are the first to suffer, and then it depends on luck, but fortunately, you can’t ruin the style, and Evolve is fine with it. The gloomy tropical-space-industrial frontier looks decent even without smoothing and cool lighting. With the sparkles turned on, the picture really comes to life, but it’s scary to imagine what kind of computer is needed to handle all this with acceptable FPS for online gaming.

By the way, I want to praise the design of the Evolve maps. In recent years, it has become somewhat customary to play on uninspired and pointless patches, and suddenly – well-thought-out combat locations in the game, where you least expect them. And it’s hard to believe that no matter where you put the dome, there will always be an open field for head-to-head battles on one side, and three pine trees on the other, where you can confuse your opponent. Amazing.

If you really, really want some kind of story (or when you get tired of the standard format of matches), I recommend trying the local cooperative mode. Especially since you can leave the role of the monster to the computer in it. There are two main differences from the main mode. The first is additional missions like rescuing workers or cooking alien eggs, and the second is incomprehensible videos between the missions connected in one session.

More action from the Evolve game

Now about the obvious fly in the ointment.

Inside the very heart of Evolve, there is an unsolvable contradiction that has managed to eat away at several decent games like Titanfall from the inside. The essence of it is that our novelty is essentially a free-to-play project with all the typical features.

Session-based gameplay, unburdened by a reasonable campaign and storyline? Check.

In-game payments? Check.

New heroes after hours of grinding? Check.

On the other hand, so much budget and PR were poured into the game that giving away the client for free is scary. Especially since you can happily spend about ten hours in Evolve and forget about the game forever. Try recouping the money with free-to-play.

What to do? Of course, put a price tag on the client. And here the trap snaps shut: even the most wonderful f2p game cannot recoup $20 from the start. I wouldn’t have bought Dota 2 or Hearthstone for 1,500 at the time. Gamers who have taken a digital key will look at all this, enjoy the battles, but overall will remain at least slightly dissatisfied with the substitution.

So, a project relying on cyclical f2p gameplay has been released, but it is eating itself up at a high-budget speed.

However, in February, nothing better will come out anyway, at least on PC.

A different scene from the game

Instead of an epilogue.

The advertising comrades promoting Evolve emphasized its competitive potential in every way. If someone thought that we really had a new cool Counter-Strike on our doorstep, then know this – Evolve has no real competitive potential. The “ten against one” format does not work in the esports context. The competitive mode Shootmania, conceptually almost identical to Evolve, proved to be complete nonsense that cannot be properly organized and is boring to watch. What should the team formats be like? What should the match formats be like? Where are the tools like a full spectator mode, team leaderboards, team matchmaking, fine graphics and interface settings?

The truth of life is that, except for in another microcosm under the wing of organizations like ESL and for the money of publicists, competitive Evolve cannot exist. The advertisers, just like with Destiny, have completely chattered away.

Evolve is a good entertainment, but playing it for a long time becomes boring, and it is hard to imagine that anyone will remember the shooter in six months.

P.S. The Russian translation is utter rubbish and defective.

PC, PS4, Xbox One
Action, Multiplayer
2K Games
Turtle Rock Studios
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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