Evolve Alpha impressions

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Evolve is a game that caught my attention quickly when I read previews of it and saw trailers showing off its unique take on cooperative multiplayer.

Evolve sees two “teams” go up against each other.  On one team is a group of 4 hunters made up of a medic, a trapper, an assault and a support.  The other is a monster!

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The monster is a one player team that goes up against the four hunters, as you’d expect that monster is very powerful but with good teamwork the hunters are able to take the Monster down.

The Monster’s goal is to either kill all of the hunters or to destroy a location on the incredibly detailed map but to do so they need to Evolve.  To Evolve the Monster must roam the map and destroy some of the natural fauna and feast on their remains.  Once it has eaten enough you have the ability to Evolve.  Evolving takes quite some time so before the decision is made to Evolve it is always a good idea to find a potential safe spot to do so.

Whilst the monster is tearing around the map looking for food and safety to Evolve the team of hunters are tasked with chasing around after it.

To do this they must work effectively as a team and make use of all of their unique equipment/abilities to not only find the beast but then kill it.

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Equipment/abilities include a creature capable of sniffing out the Monster’s scent, healing kit, hooks to grapple with the Monster and slow it down, mines to protect an area and a large domed arena that can be created to trap the Monster in with the hunters for a short duration.

The game is played in the first person perspective by the hunters and the third person when playing as the Monster and the controls for all roles feel very comfortable.  The unique abilities of all classes are clearly displayed on the screen at all times and quickly become easy to make use of.  Similarly movement feels great.

All hunters have jet packs (this seems to be happening in pretty much all first person shooters now) and can double tap them for quick bursts of speed in any desired direction.

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The Monster can effortlessly leap huge distances and has abilities that can be used at times to both assault the hunters and to escape quickly if overwhelmed.

The graphics are absolutely stunning with incredibly detailed character models and the maps are full of interesting wildlife for you to hunt or avoid.  The levels look incredible and add to the sense of being hunted whatever the role you are playing.

Choosing roles before a match is helped along by every player being required to create a preference list of roles and seems to work really well.

I was impressed by how differently the game played depending on roles and there is no doubt that Evolve provides a very fresh feeling gameplay experience.

The hunter/hunted mentality is frequently shifting which makes for tense gameplay.  Despite the Monster’s strength I definitely felt very vulnerable as the Monster at times.  Being hunted by a group who are working together as a team provides a huge challenge.

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I was surprised and impressed also by how much stealth can effect the game when playing as the monster.  Whilst running around the map the Monster leaves a trail for the hunters to follow shown by glowing footprints on the ground.  When creeping though the Monster leaves no trace, but moves at a far slower speed.  At the start of one match I was able to run in a direction then double back whilst creeping and totally lead my pursuers in the wrong direction allowing me several minutes of uninterrupted munching time.

Despite all of this high praise Evolve did not constantly impress me.  I became bored at times wandering the huge maps looking for any sign of the Monster and coming up with nothing.  Whilst trying to find it there was nothing else to do but wander and hope.  Often finding the Monster resulted in the Monster quickly leaping off across the map and the process beginning all again.

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I also found that after a few rounds I was done.  Evolve, at least for the Alpha, didn’t have much variety to it’s games or maps and as far as I’m aware hasn’t got much in the way of different gameplay modes.

At this point I’m unsure as to how likely I would be to purchase Evolve based on the Alpha.  It hints at greatness with it’s stunning concept but is let down I feel by its long periods of little action and lack of variety.

What do you think of Evolve at this stage?  Will you be pre-ordering it or waiting to hear what it is like upon release?  Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter HERE

(I played Evolve on PC as the PS4 Alpha appeared to be riddled with problems)   
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