E3 2014: Evolve is the Evolution of Cooperative Shooters

Evolve is the next big step for Turtle Rock Studios, the creators of Left 4 Dead, and it’s another first person shooter that maintains a heavy focus on cooperation. At E3 this year, 2K Games had a massive section dedicated to the game, featuring a livestream of gameplay and a setup that showed just how four players would be able to take down a monster in rather dominant fashion. We were able to get our hands on the build to better understand what all the chatter is about.

The demo was played in the best conditions, minus the fact that no one had actually played the game before. Thankfully someone was in our ear the entire time to better explain the mechanics and really guide us to victory. We were shuffled into a setup to accommodate five individuals where we were assigned different classes that would benefit the team. There are different perks to choose from at the start of a match, from increased attack and defense to regenerating health, and everything in between. If you didn’t trust your medic, the regeneration of health is a big plus, especially if you’re up close with the monster.

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True to Turtle Rock’s form, rather than being simple ciphers for players, each class is represented by a distinct character. Hyde (the new assault character) is your typical military grunt who wields a heavy-duty gatling gun and flameflower. He’s a little different from the previously-revealed Markov, who has a lightning gun and assault rifle, but still has the same amount of punch to his attacks. Maggie is the trapper; she is one of the most useful classes to play as she can throw down a grenade-like beacon that will trap the monster in a confined bubble for a given amount of time. She also has the ability to set down harpoon-traps, causing the monster to snag itself and be unable to move. Best yet, the Maggie comes with her adorable pet, Daisy, who has the ability to easily track down the monster.

Bucket is the new support character and the only non-human teammate. Bucket has the ability to remove his head and use it as a UAV, and throw down turrets to lay waste to anyone in its way. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, it also has a guided rocket launcher to do massive damage. Finally, Lazarus is the unsuspecting medic with the godly beard. He is meant to stay back from the fight and use his silenced sniper rifle and cloaking device to get the drop on the monster. More importantly, his role is to ensure the survival and health of his teammates. Each of the new characters have their own unique abilities that vary significantly from their class counterparts.

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Right from the get-go the four human characters are put in a free fall from a dropship and set off to find the newly introduced Kraken monster. While we were given a glimpse at the Goliath in the past, the Kraken is a whole new kind of enemy. It’s a giant flying octopus that has a considerable speed advantage and a range of attacks that will dispose of anyone in short order. Controlling the characters is incredibly smooth as traversing the environment with jetpacks makes things so much easier. The gunplay is about what most have come to expect from first person shooters, but it’s the unique abilities each character possesses that change the dynamics and flow of combat. It’s all about teamwork and sticking together; if you think you can do things all by your lonesome, then death will come swiftly.

We couldn’t get enough of Evolve. While we were only able to play around fifteen to twenty minutes, it left a very memorable mark on us. It’s a bit worrisome we’re four months away from release and we only know of two different creatures we’ll be hunting, but if there’s a fleshed-out and expansive game to be found, it could hook the gaming community for years to come. Everything is neatly fine-tuned, and if players actually work together, it turns into one of the most exciting and downright enjoyable shooters out there. Evolve will be available October 21st for PS4, Xbox One and PC.