Game Review: Evolve

It’s been 6 years since Turtle Rock Studios revolutionized the gaming industry with their hit co-op survival shooter game, Left 4 Dead (L4D). But some bloodlust fans crave (pun intended) more than just L4D, and the launch of new game Evolve by the same creators seem to fill the gap.  UrbanWire has the scoop from the exclusive demo preview at GameStart Asia 2014.


On A Planet Far Far Away

Moving beyond their L4D days of abandoned streets and warehouses, Evolve is set in the planet of Shear, home to a myriad of creatures and environments that would like nothing better than to feast on the flesh of our 4 intrepid heroes.

At the time of launch, the game has 4 classes (Assault, Medic, Support and Trapper) available. Interestingly, there is an additional playable class that serves as the ‘big boss’ battle in the game. The Monster class is randomly allocated to a player on the team and the onus is on him to hunt the other players and become the ultimate killer.

To Hunt A Hunter

With its unique 4-versus-1 gameplay, Evolve has set itself apart from other popular co-op shooters like Borderlands. The concept of uncertainty found in L4D’s multiplayer campaign where players could play against their own team is amplified now as the monster class is more complex than being a simple zombie.


For instance, each monster class has a specific set of skills that cater to a variety of different playing styles. Playing as a Goliath sees you as a ferocious, fire-breathing dragonoid, which uses vicious claw swipes, and ground stomps to crush his foes.

Similarly, playing as a Kraken lets players explore the option of subterfuge, using its tentacles to drag opponents to their watery graves. It’s no longer as simple as left-clicking to spew bile and poison your enemy. Players need to actively strategize each move if they want to win the game.

With such vicious monsters, the games hunters didn’t disappoint. From Bucket, the quirky robot with a British accent, to Hank the gun-toting redneck, each character has a unique background to match their class. Teamwork is heavily emphasized amongst players as each has distinct skills, complementing one another in the heat of battle.


In an ideal match, a Trapper class like Maggie would locate the monster and deploy her ‘mobile arena’ skill, trapping it in an area. A support class proceeds to buff the assault and other team mates with a shield, while the medic heals any injuries sustained in the fire-fight. Of course, not every match is bound to go your way, but at least you’ll go down swinging in a blaze of glory.

The Problem with Monsters

The game environment is outstandingly polished with realistic lighting and textures applied across Shear’s flora and fauna. One map can bring you to the lush jungles, while another transports you to flooded caves, complete with ravenous extraterrestrial crocodiles. There is painstaking detail put into character modeling, as seen from the fluid movement of alien birds taking flight and a Goliath relentlessly smashing a hunter’s ragged body into the ground.


However, Evolve did have its faults, given its nascent stage. You’ll encounter random frame-rate drops occasionally, especially during intense visual effects like explosions. This could be annoying when you’re trying to revive your team mate, but your screen is lagging and you’re preoccupied with a raging fire.

New players may also be overwhelmed by the staggering evolution rate of a monster, which can be as rapid as 15 minutes into the game if left unchecked. This makes for an awful one-sided match, as the Monster can charge in and annihilate all the hunters before anyone can even get their bearings.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of the game in this demo, but Evolve does show a lot promise with its dynamic gameplay, gorgeous art and varied heroes and villains.

Photos courtesy of Turtle Rock Studios