Evolve Stage 2 is the free-to-play version of Evolve, an online game based in the future on an alien planet bursting with wildlife, including deadly monsters. Evolve brings many unique game mechanics to the table, and it does so quite well actually. It allows every player to play in their own unique style with minor, major and superior perks, and a plethora of different characters and weaponry to choose from. The game is still in its beta stage. While not entirely finished, the game is looking promising so far. It is constantly being updated and patched, and recently a few more characters have been added.
Man Versus Monster
The premise of the game is rather simple: one player starts as a monster and the other four must work together, utilizing their unique skills to hunt the monster down and kill it before it evolves and most likely kills them. There are four human classes: Assault, Trapper, Medic and Support. Each class has many different playable characters, each with their own unique abilities and arsenal. Similarly, there are five basic Monsters to play as includeing the Goliath, Kraken, Wraith, Behemoth and Gorgon.
Each Monster and human has its own set of abilities to make them stand out from the rest. Before the game starts one can choose three base perks for their character, a “minor perk,” a more powerful “major” perk and finally a “superior” perk. Throughout the rounds the Monster must consume the wildlife of the planet in order to gain bonus perks and evolve, becoming more powerful while upgrading their four abilities. Humans can also gain bonuses from killing special wildlife, but they cannot evolve.
The Goliath is a brawler, with the highest health and armor of all the Monsters in the game excluding the Behemoth. While being probably the easiest to play as, it is also land bound, which means it can’t stick to walls or teleport as other Monsters can. It can take damage and deal it out fairly well, but its attacks are fairly basic.
The Wraith is a slithery assassin type Monster, being able to teleport and snatch or tackle its prey while dealing devastating damage. The downside of this class is the lack of protection against the Hunters, meaning the Wraith requires a bit more finesse to master than Goliath.
The Behemoth is just a plain tank, practically a tougher, slower version of Goliath with a different ability set. The Behemoth’s abilities are designed to separate Hunters to kill them one by one and protect itself from damage.
The Gorgon is a spider like creature, being able to latch onto walls and trap its prey with web attacks, leaving them open to an onslaught of melee attacks or whatever else one has in mind for their victim. Gorgon does damage over time, gradually wearing down the Hunters with acid spit and its other attacks. It can also unleash a controlled clone of itself as a timed “bomb.”
Finally, the Kraken is a flying Monster mostly used for ranged attacks. It can fire a charged Lightning Strike at its target, plant proximity mine type projectiles and fire a vortex to sweep away Hunters, which is useful to separate them. While in the air it can be very difficult to land a hit on the Monster.
The Hunters of Evolve all have their own roles. Every Hunter has a jetpack and the same hit points and move speed. They all have a primary weapon, a secondary weapon, a special ability and a class ability. There are four classes in Evolve, as stated before. I won’t give an in depth description of every single character, but I’ll review the basics.
The Assault class is geared towards causing as much damage as possible to the Monster. Both of its weapons are powerful to fit the description of the class. One is used at close range and the other at farther distances. Most also have grenades and mines, the exceptions are Lennox, who has a ‘jump’ attack and Parnell who has buff to make himself move and shoot faster at a cost to his health. The class ability for all Assault characters is their Defense Matrix, which protects them from damage for a short time.
The Trapper is supposed to find the Monster and slow them down so their team can kill it. Most Trappers don’t deal much damage as their role is to just keep the Monster in one place so the rest of the Hunters can take it out. Trappers have their own ways of tracking down a Monster and hindering it’s movements, be it a pet, tracking darts or sound spikes. Harpoons and stasis weaponry are used to stop the Monster and slow it down respectably. All Trappers have the Planet Scanner ability to display the general direction of their target.
The Medic class in Evolve is, of course, used to keep the Hunters breathing. All Medics can heal their allies in one way or another. Some are suited to long range combat, armed with snipers, but others use more personal means in battle. Caira and Paladin use explosive healing tools. The Medic class seems to have a slighlty different play style for each character. Each Medic has a Healing Burst ability that heals themselves and nearby allies.
The last class, Support is my favorite to play as especially as Sunny. Each Support has a different buff that applies to them and the other Hunters, be it a shield boost, jetpack boost, damage boost or even a debuff to the Monster’s shield. The Support class also deals a ton of damage, using explosive and heavy weapons alike. While the play style of the Support class is similar to many other games, and each Support class has a fairly similar play style in my opinion, it’s still a great class. Their class ability is a Shield Burst, which provides a shield to all the Hunters.
Of course, I didn’t mention every playable character, but no two characters are the same and some are completely different than others in their class.
If the Hunters are terrible, the combat will be rather slow and the Monster will probably come out relatively unharmed even if the humans manage to track it down. Alternatively, if the Monster is bad then the game will be over pretty quickly.
The game is most enjoyable with both the Monsters and Hunters on equal ground with similar skill levels. A single Hunter would be very unlikely to take out any Monster all by themselves. Even three would struggle. This makes the game a little more challenging, which is great of course. The combat is fast paced, and the Monster has to be acutely aware of each of its targets. The more evolved the Monster is, the harder it’ll be for the Hunters to kill it or even come out of combat alive.
Not much else can be said about the combat in Evolve. It’s pretty straight forward; I like the combat system and the vast range of weaponry at my disposal and the developers put a great effort in balancing the combat between man and beast. While nothing entirely unique, combat in Evolve is smooth and works very well.
The gameplay is rather original and fairly straight forward. The variety of hunters and monsters keeps things fresh.
Evolve is a pretty original concept. Yes, it seems to have taken the basic class structure ideas from other games, but that’s fairly typical for most games these days. The four versus one structure is something that’s not very common.
There wasn’t a lot of interaction with other players. The first time I played some guy helped me out and told me what to do when he saw I was a bit slow. I never had any difficult times with the other players and toxicity wasn’t an issue.
The game is rather beautiful in my opinion. I love the maps and the planet of Shear is very diverse. The Monsters and hunters are very well designed. The wildlife and setting look great to me. There isn’t much to dislike really, but I have seen better.
Value For Money 10/10
The game is technically free and the in-game purchases aren’t over-the-top. Besides that, it’s a well-built game that’s worth your time.
Evolve is a great game in my eyes, especially for a free game. I had a lot of fun playing it. Though I enjoyed playing as a Monster, I much preferred playing as a Hunter.
- Full of action
- Large variety of characters
- Rather fun to play
- Fast paced and engaging
- It can get boring doing the same things over and over