Evolve: Our First Impressions Of The Hunters And Monsters

Evolve is a game which changes dramatically based on who you’re playing with and who you’re playing as, with four unique classes of hunter in the game and three opposing monsters to choose from in the base game. It’s a lot of different experiences in one, but it’s really about how these come together as a whole. When you grab a few like-minded friends with different class interests, the game really changes for the better.

So, while the brute force of the Assault class and team support found with the Medic class are quite standard for a co-operative game such as this, Evolve has some really unique roles, both in terms of human characters and the all-important monster. These are roles which the three of us have taken on over a few days of playing the game.

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Dom: The Trapper

I’ve been spending my time with the Trapper class, and I think it’s utterly integral to how Evolve is played, and a really enjoyable class. The Trapper’s main task is to ensnare the monster, slowing it down with traps while trying to contain it within the mobile arena; an energy dome from which the monster can’t escape. Your aim is to give everyone else the chance to inflict as much damage as humanly possible.

You start off with Maggie, who comes with the added bonus of her pet Trapjaw, Daisy, an AI controlled creature who will sniff out the monster and hopefully lead you straight to them. At times Daisy is really a fifth member of the squad as she’s also capable of reviving your fallen teammates, as well as the planet’s survivors in Rescue mode.

She’s not infallible though, and there are moments where you have to follow your own intuition over where the glowing monster tracks are leading you, but she’s a real boon to your team. There have been moments where she was the last one standing and she was able to revive a couple of members of the squad, giving you another chance at taking the monster down. Such is her usefulness that it felt like a big loss moving onto one of the other two pet-less Trappers, though both Griffin and Abe offer different means of tracking and containing the monsters, and have plenty of character to boot.

The Trapper role is distinct and a lot of fun, and very often you’re out at the front leading the party towards your prey. There are some fantastic moments when you catch sight of the monster as it tries to evade you, and if you time it right, capturing them in your mobile arena when they’re on the verge of escaping you feels fantastic. Of course missing them feels equally rotten, especially when you have to wait for the ability to recharge and know you’ve potentially allowed the monster to evolve into a more dangerous form, making it much harder for your team.

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Blair: The Support

Support manages to avoid falling into all the trappings of a secondary Medic class – which it might appear as at first – with some really unique, tactical options, particularly with the final character of this type in the game. Although the first character, Hank, does hold a shield which doesn’t act too differently from a Medic’s healing gun, giving the targeted player temporary invincibility, it’s with the other characters and items that this class really comes into its own.

Take the class’ ubiquitous cloaking device for example: this item might seem like a way to sneak yourself out of the battle, but since it affects those around you, you’re able to use it to hide them in plain sight too. While in other games invisibility might be superficial, you truly feel hidden from the monster here, and it’s really useful when trying to hold down an area, revive a friend, or just save some survivors while avoiding the monster’s gaze.

Hank also has an orbital strike which can cause a lot of damage, and it’s great for beginners wanting to get an upper hand on the monster, as long as you can trap it in the target area. Less useful, however, is the second Support option. Named Bucket, he’s your run-of-the-mill comedic robot character, and along with handy sentry guns, his main draw is his detachable head, which you can use as a UAV to explore the area and find the monster without being spotted. It’s a neat idea, but leaves you vulnerable and doesn’t quite work as well as intended.

But Cabot, the third Support character, really makes that class name mean something. Rather than a barrage of missiles, his orbital strike drops radioactive dust which highlights all lifeforms within range, and will even reveal the monster if it’s close. Then there’s his damage amplifier gun, which doubles all damage done to the monster, and can really turn the battle around. With Cabot, you really feel like you’re supporting your peers, and while that may not be reflected quite as well with the first two characters, the Support class really feels like a necessary part of the team.

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Teflon: The Monster

Compared to playing as the hunters, the monsters offer up a wildly different kind of game. There’s more immediate challenges at the start of the round for one thing, as you have to flee the point at which the hunters are going to land. Do you go left? Do you go right? Do you crash through your surroundings, chomping your way through the wildlife as quickly as possible, or slink through the shadows?

As you play with the monsters, you’ll quickly discover that you have plenty of tricks up your sleeve, whichever beast you play as. You’re able to sniff the air and detect both wildlife and hunters when nearby, whilst entering stealth mode might make you move slower, but also leaves no tracks behind you, effectively making you undetectable to the trapper and keeping the humans guessing. Similarly, wading through a river obscures your movements, again giving you the upper hand, as you eat the wildlife and try to evolve. Just by learning these few simple tricks, it quickly becomes apparent that even as the humans hunt you, it’s you that controls the pace of the game and can dictate when and where you will do battle.

It’s during combat that the three main monsters in the game (with a fourth in the DLC) make themselves truly distinct. The Goliath is all about smashing things, throwing rocks and breathing flames, while the Kraken is far better from a distance, with splash damage galore from its lightning based attacks and ability to hover in the sky and fire down on you. The Wraith, meanwhile, is a master of misdirection and trickery, able to create decoys, pull enemies out of position and deal a vast amount of damage when up close, but suffers with having much less health than the others.

You might be able to deal much more damage, especially once you evolve to stage three, but it’s important to keep your wits about you and constantly be trying to outsmart your enemies. It could be hiding in a bush near to where you startled some birds, waiting for the hunters to come searching for you, or making sure to target the medic character first, before dealing with the rest of the squad. At the simplest level, it’s about keeping an eye on your health bar and knowing when to run and when to fight.


Overall, the game itself has so far been quite enjoyable, at least when playing as part of a group, and particularly versus a human controlled monster. While it’s a little too early to tell, the computer AI isn’t entirely predictable, which makes single player a lot tougher whichever side you play as. The core hook of the hunt though is really strong, and from a technical point of view the game looks fantastic and handles well. However, only time will tell if the game’s focus is a little too narrow.

We’ll have our full verdict in a review later this week, once we’ve had time to test the matchmaking experience, but you can also join us at 5PM today, when the three of us will be streaming the game and chatting about our experiences.

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13 Comments

  1. Intrigued by this but really don’t know what to make of it. I’ve watched hours of gameplay videos now and still am unsure, which interests me all the more – damn it!

  2. I saved £40 by cancelling my pre order, the idea was good on paper. This idea works with that game Jason Vs 4 high school girls being chased

  3. I honestly can’t understand the hype with this game, I’ve tried to like it but it looks (to me) to be dull, and played dull in the Alpha. Even with friends there seems to me to be better things to play, as there is just one linear objective every game.

    Will be interested to read some reviews.

    • There’s four game modes, and playing the objective is really pretty damn important to winning, I must say. But yes, it’s quite a slow burn to get into it, and I doubt the alpha or beta will have sold people on it because of that.

      • How do the four modes differ?

        Surely there is only one objective – and that’s killing the team of 4 as the monster, and the monster if you’re the team of 4. Sorry, I don’t mean to be negative, it just seems like there will be very little variation but I’m sure that’s probably due to my ignorance!

      • You don’t have to kill the monster or the hunters,for example in Rescue there a 6 humans around the map that you can rescue a number of them to win or the monster the opposite,there’s the one where you hatch your eggs for minions to try and destroy a fueling depot and the hunters can destroy the eggs or protect the depot till time runs out,there’s a few others that don’t come to mind at the moment.

      • Oh ok, that sounds a bit more interesting. Will be interesting to see what the SP is like.

      • All i’ve played is single player as i’ve had it since Saturday and don’t believe servers where active, you have two choices of mode one that after each game lets you choose hunters or monster and then a random game type, or you choose hunters or monster and battle it out over 5 modes which are classed as 5 days in the game leading to the planet being evacuated or the humans savaged.

      • The single player is just the multiplayer with bots. In fact, you can play the game with all manner of permutations between human and AI players. Humans vs. an AI monster, humans and bots versus another human etc. etc.

        Evacuation brings the multiple modes together, with four rounds (days) of either Hunt, Rescue or Nest followed by a final round of Defend to cap things off. Maps and modes are voted on between rounds, and there are random effects in the favour of the winner of the previous round while there’s auto-balancing to try and compensate for any mismatch.

        So yeah, there’s more to it than just the Hunt mode and there’s more to it than just playing it with other humans. But playing with your mates is where it’s going to be best…

      • The above was a better explanation ;) according to the announcer there’s ment to be over eight hundred thousand possible variables in Evacuation for the ultimate in replay ability.

      • But still, it’s basically a 4 vs 1 battle, sometimes with a minor objective thrown in. I know you could say the same about CoD, but at least it offers something different in a reasonably long single player campaign. This seems like it’s going to get very repetitive, and quickly. I definitely won’t be getting it but I’ll be interested to read some reviews to see what people think of it.

  4. I like the idea of it but nearly every close friend (who games) has been put off by the god-awful mess that was made with the DLC being announced early and the eye-watering prices. It’s done the same to me too.

    Saying that, watching a huge creature attack with the agility and speed of a flea felt staggeringly unreal and a bit “oh… so there’s no real weight to the movement” but I can look passed that… I hope.

  5. Originally I was moderately interested in this game. I didn’t really keep a close eye on it. Had a go of the alpha and beta a few times but really wasn’t that interesting, a couple of the games spent a lot of time just running around trying to find the thing. Learning that this is a multiplayer only game really put me off especially at a £40+ price tag. I do buy games such as battlefield etc for the multiplayer but having an 8 hour or so story thrown in too is a bonus. I do like my single players just as much. Will give this one a miss

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