Preview: Early playtime with Evolve – Big Alpha

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Today Turtle Rock Studios, the awesome game developers that helped bring us the great Co-op game Left 4 Dead and its sequel, released the Evolve – Big Alpha.  This new game, Evolve, pits four human controlled hunters against and evolving human controlled monster.  The game is focused on co-operative gameplay and if you try to go it alone, you will fail.  Guaranteed.

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The basis of the game has four Hunters against one Monster.  The four hunters try to kill the monster before it can either kill all the hunters or evolve to Stage 3 and destroy a power plant.

The hunters have four different classes:  Medic, Trapper, Support, and Assault. Each class has its own perks guns or abilities, but to get full use out of these, you need to combine the efforts of each character.  You can use the Trapper so set harpoon line traps hold the Monster to one spot and release a shield dome to contain the monster in a small portion of the map so it is unable to escape while you try to kill it.  The Assault class is your main offence against the monster, with two different guns and mines, while the Support class has an energy shield that can be used to protect allies as well as a bomb strike, used to drop heave explosions on a user designated spot.  The Medic is self-explanatory, as there is a healing gun and burst ability to heal your allies and yourself.  The medic also uses a tranquilizer gun to mark and slow the Monster as well as a sniper rifle to hurt and mark points of weakness for the others to shoot at.

 Individually, each player can do little to combat the Monster, but putting all the abilities and guns together gives you a chance to win.  I was in a game where my fellow players all quit, and I was left to face a Stage 3 Monster solo.  I did not fare well.  I was unable to do any damage at all.  The AI bots were not the smartest, so it is best to play with other people.  Players can join in the game at any time and take over a bot but in this case, nobody joined me.  The game really does limit individual play and force you to stick together to defeat the monster, which I like.  It keeps players from running out solo and leaving the rest running around lost as to what to do.  Co-op that enforces co-op play.  Good work Turtle Rock.

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The Monster has several abilities and starts the game at Stage 1, its weakest form.  By killing and consuming the wildlife on the map, the monster can evolve to stages 2 and finally 3.  Each stage increases the armour and life gauge of the Monster as well as allowing upgrade points to its abilities.  The abilities depend on the Monster as there are several types but each Monster has four abilities.  The Goliath, the first monster available in the Alpha, has Rock Throw, Leap Smash, Fire Breath and Charge as its abilities.  Each is pretty self-explanatory.  The Kraken, which appears to be available as unlockable in the Alpha, has Lightning Strike, Banshee Mines, Aftershock and Vortex as its abilities.  The Kraken has the ability to fly where the Goliath can climb anything on the map.

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The game takes a little getting used to but when you play any of the five characters, Hunters or the Monster, you feel equally powered and the game is fun when playing as any of them.

The game has a good progressions system for levelling up, and after each game, you will see your success reflected in your upgrades.  Each gun and ability has room for an increase and each character does as well.  Racking up the experience and stats for each hunter type will allow for a new character skin and abilities to be unlocked.

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I have only had a few hours with the game but I am impressed.  I was looking forward to this game when I saw gameplay and interviews at this year’s E3 and it looks to be on the right path.  The game is very smooth and clean considering it is an Alpha, and I have high hopes for it when it is released in early 2015.

*****Unfortunately Xbox doesn’t allow me to take screenshots, so these pictures were all done with my phone.

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About Christopher Eyles

Aspiring writer, player of video games. I write poetry, fiction and non-fiction including some life-based stories.
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