The Average Gamer

Hands-on with Evolve

Evolve - The Goliath At a preview event in London I played a few rounds of Turtle Rock”s upcoming team game, Evolve. Pitting a 4-player co-op team against a single player-controlled monster, we stalked, trapped and battled half a dozen Goliaths in the game”s main mode; The Hunt.

That first match as the monster was the greatest heart-thumping, adrenaline-churning gaming experience of my life.

The Hunt pits the human team against a monster in a rock-filled jungle map that contains a factory. As the hunters, all you need to do is kill the monster. As the monster, you can win by evolving to your strongest form by feeding and taking out the factory generator, or by killing all the hunters.

The Goliath

As the Goliath, you start out by picking two of your four abilities: Fire-breathing, rock throwing, leap attack and charge, which lets you rush headlong into a group, bowling them over for damage.

You”ll get a 10 second head start on the hunters. You”re small, vulnerable and right on their drop point so run away as fast as possible if you want to continue living. The Goliath leaves footprints that hunters can easily spot, however, so you”ll want to leap at far as possible, preferably onto rocks, ensuring that your footprints are too high to be easily spotted.

Walking in water makes a noise and you might stir up giant, mutated crocodile-like creatures but it doesn”t leave tracks. Small flocks of birds, however, will be startled at your approach and hunters will spot these a mile off. Watch where you”re going. These early moments are pure, fearful survival, knowing that the hunters are always closing in.

Evolve - The TeamOnce you”re sufficiently far away, it”s time to eat. You have a basic attack but if you find a nice flock of weedy dinosaurs, you”re better off breathing fire at them. Once killed, you crouch over them holding the eat button to fill up your evolution bar. You can”t eat while being shot, however, so make sure you”re well clear of the hunters.

You can do this by sending out a sonic pulse that turns the screen grey, highlighting any nearby prey and humans. Their trapper”s sound spikes will pick this up though, so best not use it anywhere near the drop point and be prepared to hide your tracks.

Once you”ve eaten enough, find a quiet place to evolve. This takes 7 seconds during which you can do nothing, so make sure you”re in a safe place. You”ll get bigger, stronger and can pick the third of your abilities. You”ll lose your armour though, so eat more creatures to gain it back. The Goliath doesn”t heal so you really don”t want to get caught without armour.

Markov – The Assault

You”re the primary damage dealer of the team, carrying a long-range rifle and a short-range electricity gun. You also have a personal shield that will fend off heavy blows and you can place up to 6 mines around the map.

The mines will do a lot of damage, so it”s critical that your team know where they are. Get your medic to lead the monster over a few and you”ll be halfway to winning. Beyond that, the assault is very much a run-and-gun class. Simple and fun.

Val – The Medic

The medic is much more than a simple healer. She wields a tranquilizer gun that slows down the monster, as well as tagging it to reveal its location to the others by way of a glowing green outline. You can also stay up on the rocks and use your anti-matter sniper rifle to punch holes in the monster”s armour. If your teammates shoot these holes, which show up as glowing target markers, they can damage the monster directly, bypassing its armour.

Of course, your team won”t heal without you so once the mobile arena goes up you need to focus on keeping them alive. Heal them sparingly though, as the green beam of your healing gun will paint a monster-scented target on your forehead. Keep moving. Once it finds you, it won”t let up.

Griffin – The online casino Trapper

Wielding the “mobile arena” and an unlimited apply of sound-detecting stakes, the Trapper is the linchpin of your team. There”s no way your puny jetpacks can keep up with the Goliath”s powerful leaps, so you”ll need to find some way to keep it in place. When you catch up to your monster, the Trapper deploys his mobile arena, dropping a huge, impenetrable sphere around the group. Late members of your team can get in but no one can get out. It”s the deadliest cage match there is.

Evolve - Team vs MonsterOnce you”ve trapped your monster, the team has approximately 30 seconds to deal as much damage as possible before the shield drops and monster escapes. Your job as the trapper is now to hold the monster down with your harpoon gun. You”ll need some precision shooting and once hit, you need to hold on by keeping the trigger or mouse button pressed. Once the monster realises they”re caught, they”ll turn around and swipe your harpoon away but it buys your assault valuable seconds to deal plenty of damage or gives your medic a chance to scramble away and heal up the others.

The Trapper”s sound spikes are also crucial in finding the monster. As soon as you drop, you”ll have to deploy these around the map and they”ll ping when the monster is nearby. There”s an unlimited supply so get as much coverage as possible.

Hank – The Support

Playing the support can get a little dull when you”re not in combat but you”re absolutely critical in the arena. Your main offense is the orbital strike – hold down the button to trigger an aerial bombardment straight over the monster.

While that”s on cooldown you”ll spend most of your time shielding the other players. Monsters are very likely to target the medic, so have one eye on her at all times. Your laser cutter “gun” is basically rubbish against an evolved monster so don”t even try, though it”s more than capable of taking down the other predators that infest the jungle.

You do have a cloaking device. Save it for when a teammate goes down. While the others try to draw the monster away, you should be able to sneak in and revive them. It”s also handy if you lose two team members. Sneak away and wait for the dropship timer to bring them back.

The Hunt

As the monster, being trapped in the mobile arena is terrifying. Where you could have been halfway across the map in just a few leaps, you”re now trapped in a suffocatingly small space. There”s nowhere to go and four tiny humans are surrounding you, while bullets fly through your body. Some fool keeps hitting you with a harpoon, dragging you down when all you want to do is climb a nearby rock to survey the area. Another fool keeps firing his lightning gun in your face and it hurts. The only thing left to do is rage.

Evolve - The AssaultYou”ll turn and swat the glowy harpoon trail, freeing you to jump and charge around the place. Following it up with a bit of fire will generally scare the hunters off. Next, find the medic – follow the green beam of healing light and destroy its owner. Knock her out for two minutes and the rest should be easy. Throw rocks at them.

As the hunters, the mobile arena is huge. There”s plenty of space to run and hide and if you see the monster turning to face you, you can often jetpack away. You”ve three other people to support you and if you go down, they should be able to get you back up in a few seconds.


I played a preview build that was obviously designed for controller use, so the keyboard and mouse controls weren”t brilliant. Playing as the hunters, I could easily scroll through my weapons and abilities with the scroll wheel and trigger everything with a mouse click, though removing the Trapper”s deployed arena rather confusingly required me to press V.

Playing as the monster, however, was very awkward. Each special attack could only be triggered by pressing its assigned key – 1 through 4, with space bar to leap, Shift to climb and WASD for movement. Given that the arena confrontations are frenetic and very deadly, trying to leap, climb and attack requires some awkward contortions. Presumably we”ll be able to remap these controls to our liking, but not being able to use the mouse for the special abilities makes things more complicated than they could be.

While we were a rag-tag bunch of journalists with barely any clue of how to play our classes, after a few matches some semblance of tactics began to emerge. People started to communicate and support classes stopped wasting time shooting an enemy that was clearly too much for their feeble weapons. You really need to play to your role”s strengths and there”s very little overlap, so teamwork is critical.

The map itself is massive as a hunter, and the mobile arena means that every confrontation is slightly different. You could be battling in an open area filled with columns that the monster can easily climb to evade you, or you could be in an open, underground cavern. Let the monster reach full strength and you”ll probably wind up battling around the generator, where a series of columns and other equipment can easily conceal mines. There”s plenty of flexibility for players to come up with their own favourite tactics and the differing classes will keep the game fresh as well as allowing for specialisation.

The final game will feature different monsters and maps, so Evolve should be a game that stays interesting for a very long time. I can”t wait to see how other monsters will change the experience.

Evolve will be coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One, currently expected for Autumn 2014 February 2015.