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evolve

Evolve free update photo
Evolve free update

Evolve's free new Arena Mode forgoes the foreplay


You're out of a job, Trapper
May 26
// Jordan Devore
As a hunter, my experience with Evolve often involved catching a glimpse of the beast, giving chase, and then losing its zigzagging trail ad infinitum until it came back all beefed up to wipe us out. If only there were some w...
Evolve photo
Evolve

Some metal bands, not the Castle Crashers devs, play Evolve DLC


Well, that's a disappointment
Apr 17
// Brett Makedonski
A video with a misleading title led me to accidentally watch an Evolve DLC video. "Behemoth plays Behemoth" is less Dan Paladin and Tom Fulp, and more metal bands I've never heard of. But, if you're looking for fantastic insight and well-thought-out critique such as "I loved killing them; they were pissing me off," and "It's pretty much like being on-stage," then do I ever have the video for you.

Review: Evolve: The Hunt Evolves Update

Mar 31 // Nic Rowen
Evolve: The Hunt Evloves Update (PC [reviewed], PS4, Xbox One)Developer: Turtle Rock StudiosPublisher: 2K GamesReleased: March 31, 2015MSRP: $24.99 Hunting Season Pass (includes all four hunters), $7.49 individually, $14.99 for Behemoth (or included with pre-order Monster Expansion Pack) The update includes four new hunters, one for each class. These characters are included in the $24.99 Season Pass, or can be bought individually for a dubious $7.49. Of course they are included in the ridiculous $99 PC Monster Race Pack if you bought that. Each new hunter is a fully fleshed out character with fresh abilities, new lines of dialogue, and new ways to take on Shear's wildlife. The new Trapper, Crow, reeks of edgy mid-'90s design sensibilities. He's dark, broody, and has a pet bat-thing to help him track the monster. So spooky. Crow's massive sniper rifle can shoot rapid-fire bursts, or charge up a single power-shot that will bypass the monster's armor and rip into its permanent health. Very nasty. Similarly, his stasis gun can be fired willy-nilly to slightly slow the monster down or stop it in its tracks with a charged shot. Knowing when to charge and when to spam seems to be key to playing Crow well. 50% robot and 100% MANLY, Torvlad is the new Assault character. He sports a no-nonsense beard, tattoos over his shirtless chest, cybernetic limbs, and wears a gigantic twin mortar launcher on his back. The dude means business. Of all the new characters, Torvlad's play style jived with me the least. While his mortar launcher does tremendous damage, its indirect fire takes a moment to land which can be fiddly and difficult to aim on a rampaging monster. I imagine with some great teamwork and practice he could be a beast, but when compared to Parnell's point-and-click rocket launcher, Torvlad seems like more work than he's worth. Slim is the new Medic and I really love his design. The result of genetic experimentation, he's got a total Cronenberg thing going on, looking more insect than human. Despite his odd appearance, Slim acts and talks like a normal affable dude, setting up some of the funniest interactions in the game. Slim's whole gimmick revolves around his healing burst, which has a far greater range than the other Medics. Successful hits from his default weapon reduce the cooldown time on his burst, and because of its long range he can generally heal the entire group in a fight, encouraging him to play aggressively. He also gets a nifty healing drone that can tag along after a hunter. It's squishy, but can heal while on the run or revive downed friends remotely. I can easily see Slim becoming the new go-to Medic for random games. Lastly, Sunny, representing the Support class, is a real treat. Another character that seems to borrow abilities from other characters, but adds a fresh twist to make them her own. She has a grenade launcher similar to Caira but with a lot more oomph, and can generate energy shields like the Duck Dynasty dude, but has a drone to do it for her -- freeing her up to lob more grenades, yay! She can also supercharge her teammate's jetpacks with an energy beam, perfect for giving your Trapper the extra lift he or she needs to get the mobile arena up over the monster. Sunny seems super handy and is probably my favorite of the new hunters. Also, her extra robot arm/glove is adorable. The new monster, Behemoth, is a rock creature with a passion for squishing things and a serious aversion to heights. Unique among the monsters, Behemoth has no leaping or flying ability and must trundle his way around the map on foot. His mobility is supplemented by the ability to climb up almost any sheer surface, and by occasionally curling up into a boulder and rolling around like a giant petrified Sonic the Hedgehog. Still not super speedy by any means, Behemoth must rely on smart use of his attacks and other abilities to stay ahead of the hunters. Players hoping to get their money's worth out of Behemoth are going to want to learn how to use his rock wall ability ASAP. Slamming both fists into the ground, Behemoth can spontaneously generate a fairly large wall of rubble in front of him. This is good for creating an impassible barrier in choke points to get away from the hunting pack, or for separating one unfortunate hunter from the others for a beatdown. His lava bombs function on the same idea, allowing him to create damaging pools of fire that further restrict the hunter's movement. Rounding out his tool set is an area-of-effect shockwave attack that will travel up walls, and a tongue lash that can capture prey at a distance and drag them in close, Scorpion style. Overall, he seems like a monster that relies more on positioning and using the environment than raw force. While billed as the "tank" of the monsters, trading mobility for sheer tenacity, Behemoth went down disappointingly quickly in my games against him. That's not just a #humblebrag -- a TRS producer confirmed during a livestream that the beast is suffering from some bugs that are curbing his survivability at the moment. The leading theory is that the hitbox of his weak point is too big and is getting clipped by shots that should be striking his more protected areas. This is an issue that should be fixed in the near future, but is still disappointing for players who ponied up the cash for Behemoth expecting a fearsome monster only to get a broken bird. Personally, it was hard to tell if this bug was the problem, or if Behemoth's size and sluggishness was the real culprit. Hitbox and health issues aside, Behemoth's lack of mobility seems to be a real Achilles' heel. While most monsters are able to avoid the full brunt of an orbital strike or Torvlad's mortars, Behemoth, especially if hampered by tranqs or traps, just gets hammered by them. Smart rock monsters will definitely want to pick their battles inside caves and buildings to avoid the worst of these attacks and play to his strengths, but considering most map objectives are outside this may be difficult. Behemoth, surprisingly, is not included in the Hunting Season Pass. If you want to play as this new beast, you'll either need to have the pre-order bonus Monster Expansion Pack, or pay out another $15. I'm not an accountant, but shelling out almost a quarter of the cost for a full game for ONE character seems like a tough sell. In fact, this entire update is incredibly pricey. If you want to get everything (and didn't pre-order) you're looking at another $40 for a game that barely felt worth $60 at launch. There are some free bells and whistles included in this update as well. A new Observer Mode has been added that will allow players to spectate matches from a variety of angles and perspectives. It's a very robust spectator mode, with support for shoutcasting and variable HUD options to best keep track of everybody's condition. I'm sure there are some hardcore fans of Evolve who will love this mode, but for most of us it will be firmly relegated to the "oh, that's nice I guess" pile. There are also two new maps out apparently. However, they are exclusive to the Xbox One version of the game for now and will only be available for PC and PS4 players next month. Sadly, as a PC player, I haven't been able to test those maps out yet, and while the idea of timed exclusives makes me grumpy, it's great to see Turtle Rock Studios add content to the game for everyone and not fracture the community behind paywalls. Kudos where kudos are due. I love these new characters -- they're undeniably fun to play and drip with personality. I think Behemoth could be cool (when he gets patched at least). But at the cost they are commanding, I can't recommend them in good conscience. This entire pack, hunters, monsters, and all feels like it should cost $15, or be the first installment of the Season Pass, not the entire thing. If you're a diehard Evolve fan still playing regular matches, then maybe consider the new hunters. I wouldn't even think about Behemoth until he gets fixed, and even then I'd advise waiting, both to see how his metagame plays out and for a price cut. There is nothing here that should attract new players or even bring back lapsed hunters who have already moved on to other titles. I don't usually soapbox about prices for game content, but the cost-to-value ratio for these packs is borderline insulting. If you already bought the Season Pass at launch, chalk it up to a lesson learned and enjoy the new hunters. If you haven't, don't support this kind of fleecing. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Evolve update review photo
Caught in a snare
More than a month ago Evolve came out to tepid reactions and muted fanfare. Today's release of the game's first major content update, delivering on the Hunting Season Pass and the pre-order Monster Expansion Pack, might have ...


Game News Haikus photo
Game News Haikus

Game News Haikus: Bloodborne, Grand Theft Auto V, Evolve, and more


Zen distilled stories
Mar 30
// Darren Nakamura
This week I was tempted to do all Bloodborne all the time, because we had so many Bloodborne stories go up that got a ton of attention. Instead, I collected them all into one little Bloodball and turned the abundance in...
Evolve patch photo
Evolve patch

One of Evolve's monsters gets nerfed in new patch


The Wraith sees significant changes amidst larger rebalancing effort
Mar 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Evolve is being rebalanced, Turtle Rock Studios revealed today. In response to player feedback, the developer is making a myriad of alternations to the asymmetrical shooter's cast of characters, the most significant of which ...
Evolve sale photo
Evolve sale

Evolve turns $40 tricks on Amazon


And some Bethesda stuff too
Mar 24
// Brett Makedonski
Psst. Hey, kid. No, not you; go back to licking the wall. I'm talking to your cool friend. The one that doesn't eat paint chips. You look like the sort of dude that likes videogames -- maybe asymmetric multiplayer ones. But, ...
Bug man photo
Bug man

Evolve's new bug man character is just the best


Because he's a bug, man
Mar 19
// Jordan Devore
What a magnificent specimen. Slim, a medic, is one of the four hunters joining Evolve across all platforms on Tuesday, March 31. There's also the "half-human walking tank" Torvald (assault), the hermit Crow (trapper) with his...
Evolve photo
Evolve

Play Evolve this weekend, earn a special gold monster skin


A skin that's not paid DLC? Well I'll be
Mar 06
// Chris Carter
There's a special gold skin for the Goliath, Kraken, and Wraith hidden within Evolve's code. It was previously only available for developers, but now, players will have a chance to nab it. All you have to do is play Evolve&nb...
Evolve photo
Evolve

Evolve is getting a free 'Observer Mode,' I'm surprised it's not DLC


All platforms
Mar 05
// Chris Carter
I've been playing Evolve off-and-on for the past few weeks, and I have to say I agree with Nic's middling review. I mean, I saw the warning signs very early after having a string of very boring matches, but I decided to...
Game News Haikus photo
Game news nirvana
This past weekend I was up late and feeling loopy, and some haikus about a Flash game nobody cares about fell out of that state. Struck with inspiration, I thought, "Why can't all news be digested 17 syllables at a time?" Th...

Review: Evolve

Feb 13 // Nic Rowen
Evolve (PC [reviewed], PS4, Xbox One)Developer: Turtle Rock StudiosPublisher: 2K GamesReleased: February 10, 2015MSRP: $59.99 Every multiplayer game is going to be somewhat dependent on who you play it with, we all understand that. But the gulf between an enjoyable match with a decent team and an unbearable slog when even one person doesn't hold up their end is so vast in Evolve that it's worth underlining in thick red ink. The hunt is for pack animals, not lone wolves, and Evolve won't truck with anybody thinking they can just go off and do their own thing for even a second. Separating from the party is an open invitation to be snapped up by a random man-eating plant or lurking swamp monster, with no help close enough to bail you out before you're digested. Due to the mutually essential roles each hunter plays, when any member of the team takes a dive, the situation rapidly becomes hopeless for the hunters. That may sound fun for the monster at least, but after playing several rounds where I was able to trounce hapless teams hamstrung by one particularly bad player, I have to say the thrill wears out fairly quickly. Every player in the match (including the monster) is responsible for creating a fun and memorable hunt. That means you need five diligent players working together to carve and shape an enjoyable time out of Evolve's rough granite, while you only need one chucklehead to mess it up for everyone. If you've played any online games before, you know how the odds work out on that. But that's when you're playing with randos -- what about playing with friends? I think it can be easy to overlook a flawed experience because “it's so much better with friends!” and it's tempting to apply that logic to Evolve. Because, in this case, it isn't so much a matter of being “better with friends” as it is “this is a completely different game with friends!” Getting on with a dependable group that's working together and taking turns with the monster reveals just how great a game Evolve can be. It's like taking all the best parts of your favorite multiplayer titles, dumping them all out on the floor, and collaborating with your buddies to build something new and wonderful out of them. A great match in Evolve can combine the nail-biting tension of the last round of a Gears of War horde match, the pleasing synergy of Team Fortress 2's overlapping class interactions, and the hangdog embarrassment of dropping a solo in Rock Band in front of everyone. Sadly, as amazing and exhilarating as those moments are, they've represented the minority of my time with Evolve. It's just unrealistic to think you will always have friends who are ready and willing to play when you are. I spent the last week buried in Evolve at hours all throughout the day and have a Steam friends list as long as my arm. Even so, I spent most of that time dropping into random matches, waiting through interminable lobbies and loading screens, hoping this time I'd luck into a good group. There are solo options for the antisocial among us that will pit you against computer-controlled hunters and monsters. But they're just a pale imitation of the multiplayer matches with functionally serviceable AI teammates. More of a way to test out various classes and monsters in an embarrassment-free environment than a real alternative to multiplayer. A co-op based take on the Evacuation game mode that squares four human hunters against an AI monster is the closest thing to a non-competitive, but still enjoyable, version of the game. Co-op Evacuation is a good way to easily grind out challenge requirements to unlock characters and have a more relaxed safari, but it wears out quickly upon repeated plays. If you're a loner by nature but are still kind of curious about giant monsters and cool-looking harpoon guns, this is your warning -- Evolve has nothing for you. The potential for a fun time is further hampered by a number of bugs and pressing balance issues that are still a problem in the retail release. I was hoping a day-one patch would solve some of these issues, but sadly they are still fairly common. Rubberbanding connection issues frequently wreak havoc on matches, resulting in frustrating occasions where a monster will slip out of a trapper's mobile arena when it looks like it should have caught him, or an imperiled hunter will miraculously glitch out of the way of a monster's would-be fatal charge. Terrain and bounding issues sometimes prevent hunters from being able to revive incapacitated teammates they are clearly standing right over, making you seem like the most incompetent jerkwad medic on the planet. Bizarrely, more than once I was dropped into a game already in progress as a generic soldier ripped from the Rescue game mode. He carried only two weapons out of the standard three (oddly enough taken from two different members of the assault class) and has no speaking lines. While it is an interesting curiosity the first time around, the novelty wears off when you realize you just deprived a team of the medic or trapper you replaced. “Thanks for the 'help.'” None of these bugs are game-breakers on their own, but they add up. When you pile these frustrations on the already long wait times between matches and frequent dud games that are lopsided one way or the other, it starts to feel like Evolve doesn't respect your time. Speaking of dud games, I would basically classify every match I had with a Wraith monster as one. Nobody wants to be the guy who publicly complains about balance issues; it's an open invitation to be told how bad you are at the game and how you only need to “git gud.” That said, I don't think I ever saw a single team win against a Wraith. By Turtle Rock's own reported telemetry, it had a 70% win rate in the beta. Even post-nerfs, its powerful combination of stealth, mobility, and devastating damage just seem completely out of whack compared to the other two monsters. Once a Wraith hits stage three, it's basically “GG.” I'm sure with a crack team of hunters, all playing the right character for their class, communicating and staying on point, the Wraith is beatable. But again, the average random posse is a far cry from dream-team status. Whenever one side has to play a near-perfect game to compete with another player's choice on the character select screen, it's hard to call that balanced or fun. To its credit, Evolve looks absolutely gorgeous. The environments are spectacular (the first time you drop into the biodome-esque Aviary is a real treat), and the character models for both hunters and monsters are great. Each class has its own color palette and unifying size/shape while still keeping a lot of individual style between each character in the class. It makes for a design that is easy to keep track of in the middle of a fight, and fun to admire during downtime. The characters are mostly stock types, but they play with the typical tropes in a few amusing ways to keep you guessing. The pre-mission pep talks between hunters can veer into standard tough-guy bravado, but they are often surprisingly charming as well. I particularly enjoyed a lot of the interactions with Lazarus, a medic who only applies medical care after his patients have died a violent death, and Bucket, an immortal AI contained in the body of an industrial worker-bot. Needless to say, he has somewhat unique perspective on the mission. The monsters look magnificently intimidating, radiating predatory menace with each careful movement. They feel every bit as tremendously powerful as they should, bounding vast tracks of land in a single leap, or snagging lesser beasts with powerful tentacle arms and claws. It can be remarkably satisfying to turn the tables on a group of hunters who have harried and harassed you all match once you hit stage-three evolution. There is a lot of detail paid to the other wildlife on Shear. If you take time out of your busy schedule of shooting or devouring everything you see, you can watch random animals snap at each other, or move out of the way of a more impressive predator. The pacified industrial areas where humans have set up shop are finely crafted and help put the fearsome monsters into scale. It's clear the developers devoted a ton of thought and care into the world they've built, and it's a damn shame the game doesn't come together as nicely as it should. If you can find four people who are willing to sign a blood pact to convene for a ritual night of Evolve once or twice a week, then by all means enjoy the hunt (and where do I sign?). If not, you have to ask yourself if you are really prepared to deal with the peaks and frequent valleys of the experience. Personally, I think there are better ways to spend your time than gambling on a decent match, hoping one or two of your friends can make it on sometime over the weekend. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Evolve review photo
A tamed beast
Trying to pin down my exact thoughts on Evolve has been trickier than pinning down any kind of prey the game has thrown at me. I was cautious with my initial impressions of the game earlier this week, noting an uneven play ex...

Evolve photo
Evolve

Evolve's launch trailer means hunting season's open


That goes for both sides
Feb 10
// Brett Makedonski
Some hunt for sport. Others hunt for sustenance. And, in the case of Evolve, everyone hunts because the other side is doing their damnedest to kill you. However, just because the hunt's starting today, it doesn't mean that w...

Review in Progress: Evolve

Feb 10 // Nic Rowen
Evolve (PC [reviewed], PS4, Xbox One)Developer: Turtle Rock StudiosPublisher: 2K GamesReleased: February 10, 2015MSRP: $59.99 In the far-flung future, man will have vermin problems. Probably because they insist on trying to colonize planets like Shear, which as far as I can tell is some kind of naturally occurring abattoir specifically designed to end human life. While the inhabitants of Shear are used to the garden-variety land-sharks, lizard-dogs, and carnivorous plants that make up the country side, a new terrifying breed of monster has recently popped up and is seriously imposing on their way of life. That's you. Enter the hunters, an assorted bunch of lovable stock characters and stereotypes contracted to eradicate the beasts and assist in a planet-wide evacuation. That's also you. Asymmetry lies at the heart of Evolve's basic premise. Four players control the hunters, each one representing a class that specializes in one particular aspect of monster slaying. Trappers are the most important for the actual hunt, bringing the skills necessary to track and contain the monster. Assault guys, predictably, provide the firepower needed to take the beast down. Medics keep the team going and provide some useful utility like sticking the monster with tranq darts. While support class members fill in the gaps and feature the most diverse range of skills, everything from shields to UAVs. Another player takes control of the monster, a solitary predator who has to not only fend off the hunters, but other hostile life on Shear. The monster isn't a pushover, but it isn't a powerhouse when the match begins either. To become a truly Godzilla-like force of nature, the monster needs to hunt and devour enough prey to evolve through three stages of power, gaining stronger abilities and growing in size at each stage.  The main game mode, Hunt, is a straight up fight between the two sides. Attrition is the name of the game as the hunters work to whittle down the monster's health bar and prevent it from evolving, while the monster does its best to covertly feed on wildlife and evade the hunters until it can muscle up to its final stage and overpower them. While the monster has no way of replenishing lost health outside of evolving (and even then it is a limited amount), eating wildlife will let it slather on armor the hunters will have to chew through before doing real damage. Similar to L4D, the human opposition can be incapacitated with enough damage, left to bleed out on the ground and die unless a teammate risks coming over to save them. Each time a hunter is knocked down, he returns with a smaller health bar. Three trips to the dirt and a hunter dies outright. Ideally, this should allow the monster to try to divide and conquer the hunters, isolate them one at a time, and either reduce their overall health for a final inevitable showdown, or stylishly dismantle the team with brutal animal cunning. Sadly, I've yet to see that happen. There is no reason for hunters to split up and the power dynamic between a monster at stage one and a monster at stage three is far too skewed to promote any other play style than rushing to stage three as soon as possible. The vast majority of matches end in one of two ways. In the first scenario, a stage one baby-monster gets caught in the trapper's mobile arena (a force field dome that traps the monster inside) and is unceremoniously slaughtered, or dealt such irrecoverable damage the end of the match is a given. In the second scenario, a monster will successfully string a team along for upwards of ten yawn-inducing minutes until it reaches stage three and utterly steamrolls right through them (unless the monster happens to be a Wraith, then it just does the same at stage two). Neither result is particularly satisfying. It's a shame so much emphasis is placed on the poorly balanced Hunt mode, because the game comes alive in its secondary game modes. Defend, Nest, Rescue, and the most elaborate of them, Evacuation, all provide interesting twists on the formula. Defend has the Hunters struggling to protect generators from a stage three monster and its minions, giving the action a tower-defense feel. Nest flips the relationship, tasking the monster with defending a clutch of eggs scattered over the map. The monster can hatch eggs early to give itself a mini-Goliath ally, but at the cost of doing some of the hunter's work for them. While Rescue litters the map with incapacitated survivors for the hunters and monster to squabble over, allowing both sides the chance to ambush each other. Evacuation is Evolve's campaign substitute, stringing together five random matches as a sort of mini-narrative. Victory in one match will have an effect on the next. For example, a hunter win might spawn mini-turrets to defend objectives on the next round, while a triumphant monster might cause a troublesome radiation leak at the ol' power plant. There are plenty of variations on the theme, and some of them feel more balanced than others, but they do a good job of establishing real stakes to the struggle. Giving the two sides something to worry about other than each other does wonders for the game. Even basic objectives give both sides the breathing room they need to explore strategies other than “RUN” and “CHASE,” resulting in more interesting matches. So far I've had more fun in any of the extra modes than I have in the premier brand.  It's difficult to say how I feel about Evolve at this point. I've had some real fun and I can see the potential for something great. But I've also had many moments of intense frustration. Just like L4D, you are so dependent on other people (both as teammates and as worthy opposition) that getting a good match can be a roll of the dice unless you're playing with friends. Combine that with long wait times between matches (north of three minutes) and you can easily waste an hour or more on fruitless and boring misfires. Another area of annoyance is the character unlocking system. Only four of the twelve hunters and one of the three monsters currently in the game (with more to come through somewhat nefarious DLC) are available from the start, the rest are locked behind challenge goals. Some of these goals can be fulfilled in the course of a couple of regular matches, others are grindy and seem like intentional time-sinks. Crappy progression systems are one thing, but it's another when all the best toys are being kept out of reach. Opinions may differ, but the unlocked characters seem like direct upgrades to the starter roster, and after getting access to a few of them I've never gone back to the defaults. As for the monsters, the flying Leviathan with its powerful ranged attacks certainly is more of a handful to deal with than the ground-bound Goliath, but manageable. The final monster, the Wraith, however, is downright broken. Combining speed, power, and the ability to spawn an AI controlled duplicate to double team the humans, it is leaps and bounds beyond the abilities of an average team of hunters. It's hard to say if these are legitimate balance issues that will persist and negatively impact the game in the long term, or just a matter of the community wising up and developing strategies to deal with them. Similarly, while I think the more objective based game modes are definitely more fun than the standard Hunt, I've had a distressingly difficult time finding matches for them. This could be the result of playing in a pre-release environment where there aren't enough players to go around, or it could signal a lack of popular interest in those modes, which would be a tragedy because that's where they hid the good bits. It's too early to render a final verdict on Evolve. I'm going to keep at it now that the game is out for the public, see how some of these issues play out and how the servers do under full retail strain. As of now though, my finely tuned animal instincts are telling me you might want to hold off on that $99 ultra-edition.
Evolve review in progress photo
Red in tooth and claw
If you didn't know Turtle Rock Studios was the brains behind 2008's Left 4 Dead, you could probably guess as much after a few hours with its latest game, Evolve. The zombies might be gone in favor of giant monsters and lethal...

Evolve photo
Evolve

Evolve sure has a lot of skin DLC at launch


Roughly $60 worth
Feb 09
// Chris Carter
Evolve is nearly upon us, and a few of us have access to the game's pre-launch servers -- expect some impressions soon and a full review after we've tested the full version. When Evolve launches tomorrow, it wi...
Evolve photo
Evolve

Are you okay with picking up multiplayer-heavy games week one?


Sound off below
Feb 09
// Chris Carter
It's always been tough to judge the longevity of multiplayer games. Even growing up on PC titles with dedicated servers and devout fanbases, what's here today could be gone tomorrow, and many thriving online games have turned...
Evolve photo
Evolve

Where is our Evolve review?


It's another one of those games
Feb 09
// Chris Carter
Last night a few Evolve reviews were posted. Ours isn't ready just yet, though. 2K Games informed us that servers won't actually go live until later today, to prepare for the official launch. In other words, since we hav...

Why are so few of Evolve's characters female?

Feb 08 // Kyle MacGregor
At one point this involved reworking a female character into a man. Markov, one of the assaults, started out as Nikola, but Robb says his character designers never quite realized their vision for her. Consequently, she was scrapped in favor of what would wind up a male form. Asked if Turtle Rock felt pressure from the outside to make those sort of changes, Robb said his team never discussed which demographics would be represented or in what capacity. Apparently, it was just about "making cool, compelling characters."  "One of things that was really important to the character team, we wanted to make the female characters we do have strong, intelligent, cool female characters," he said. "We kept all their clothes on. We didn't go for the whole Dead or Alive-- There's no boob jiggle or any of that bullshit." Robb said the team has many more character ideas kicking around, "a lot" of which are female. He hopes to explore them should the game do well at market. We'll just have to wait and see. Evolve launches this Tuesday, February 10 for Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4.
Evolve female characters photo
The creative director responds
Evolve will launch with twelve hunters: eight men, three women, and a robot, though it's referred to as a "he." Of the three female characters, two are medics (Val and Caira) and the other (Maggie) is a trapper. There are cur...

Evolve photo
Evolve

Evolve's live-action trailer is just teens playing hide and seek


Olly olly oxen free!
Feb 04
// Brett Makedonski
Let me go ahead and preemptively dash anyone's hopes that an Evolve live-action trailer might be cool in any conceivable way. It's just some teens running around in the woods with flashlights  -- basically a Friday...
Evolve solo mode photo
Evolve solo mode

Misanthropes rejoice: Evolve's solo mode is looking good


Watch both sides of solo Defend
Jan 29
// Darren Nakamura
Sometimes I am in the mood for good competitive multiplayer action, and thus far Evolve has looked like it will be up to that task. Other times, I'd rather not deal with other people, and that's okay with Turtle Rock's multi...

Drawstructoid: Predicting Evolve's unknown DLC monsters

Jan 21 // Darren Nakamura
Darren Nakamura "This monster gets around by doing cartwheels everywhere. When it evolves, it grows extra appendages for more efficient cartwheels. Those are bellybuttons surrounding its luscious mouth. As it evolves, it actually loses bellybuttons, because that's where the new arms grow in." Steven Hansen "My Evolve monster design is actually from the '90s -- '90s kids will remember it. I apparently invented Shadow the Hedgehog, but lacked the means of global production to foist him on the world and Sega beat me to it. All these years later, I'm glad Evolve has paid me $600 and three buy-one-get-one-free Sizzler buffet vouchers to use my original design as part of their DLC scheme. It is similar to the Earthen 'bear,' different from Evolve's slimy, scaly, shiny aliens, but equally proficient as a bipedal. It has a horn for killing things and also a bomb." Brett Makedonski "I don't know anything about my monster. :((((((((((((((((((((" Jordan Devore "Often found in forests, eating leaves. It has a sharp venomous stinger on its head." Ben Davis "His special attack is hugging, and as he evolves he grows more arms for more powerful hugs." Bill Platt Brittany Vincent "Its name is Bahlgai and it's a ballsack monster. Acid rains down from the horn on its head. Tries to camouflage itself by looking like your waifu." Patrick Hancock "I call it Monster 2K. It grabs its victim and wrings them COMPLETELY dry until they just can't give anything anymore. And then it wrings them some more." Jonathan Holmes "Bullets just bounce off wow!!!!!!!" Occams Electric Toothbrush "She is essentially like Akira but is a white girl from Delaware named Tifanee. Her head is too big for her tiny little girl body!" Andy Dixon "It is a dick head with many dick teeth in its mouth."  Kyle MacGregor "Jordan Devore's hair is a fiery shade of red."
Drawstructoid photo
Prognosticating the Destructoid way
Evolve is releasing with a few monsters and a handful of hunters, but more will be on the way through the magic of downloadable content. Some of the monsters are known entities, but others are complete mysteries. At least, to...

Evolve director on DLC: 'I don't like people thinking we're doing underhanded, dirty shit'

Jan 20 // Kyle MacGregor
Robb expected questions about Evolve's DLC-abetting design, and was quick to label Ashton's choice of words as unfortunate. He attempted to assuage any fears Evolve was some sort of DLC delivery system, explaining the game's architecture was designed to be adaptable, something easily expanded upon. The furor, he said, stemmed from a misunderstanding and a lack of clarity. "That was hugely disheartening for me," Robb said candidly. "I don't like people thinking we're doing underhanded, dirty shit." It's easy to take Robb at his word. Unlike other executives, he comes into work wearing a hoodie and trainers rather than a suit and tie. He sports a long, silvery beard, like many others at the studio, refusing to clip until the game ships (for charity, no less). He's genuine, down to earth, the epitome of casual, and the first to admit he isn't really much of a businessman. Robb describes himself as more of a "gamer geek," one who's just "lucky enough to make them." He keeps a bearded dragon in Turtle Rock's open-air office, where the seating is in a constant state of flux and the company's newest intern may be sitting beside one of the founders. He talks like a real person rather than some corporate robot, complete with liberal use of profanity and cartoon character voices. "We have the game set up in such a way that we can expand upon it if that is the desire," Robb told me. "Our plan is one we pushed for as consumers. Never split the community, no pay to win, all that kind of bullshit that are hallmarks of DLC plans specifically made to leech money out of people." Money is definitely a concern, though, as Robb points out the studio has bills to pay and nearly a hundred families to support. Plus, there's a money-hungry publisher involved. Still, it seems like Turtle Rock is at least advocating for a more consumer-friendly post-release business model. "If we're going to make money we want to feel good about the way we've done it," Robb said. "We don't want to feel like we've hoodwinked people." That doesn't mean he views DLC as some sort of taboo, though. "I don't quite understand the knee-jerk negative reaction to DLC. Because I know for me, as a gamer, when I have a game I really love and I play it for a while and I want more, I want more. I'll pay for it. I don't mind." Robb is cognizant the industry is teeming with parasitic DLC programs, and was quick to point out all of Evolve's maps will be free. "Good," I tell him. "People hate shelling out $20 for map packs." So does Robb. At this point in the conversation, I recall glancing back at a 2K Games PR handler sitting in the corner, trying not to squirm as Robb made one unbridled remark after the next. "I think a lot of people probably feel like [DLC] is milking the community," Robb admitted. "That's fair because a lot of companies approach it that way." "All our maps are gonna be free," he told me again, and would do so a few more times before our talk was over. "Everyone gets that. Any of the monsters or hunters we put out are going to be paid DLC, but the nice thing about that, and this is something we pushed for really hard, even if you don't buy it you can play against it. So it's still not splitting the community. And not only is it not splitting the community, but it's enriching your game experience even if you're not interested." Turtle Rock hopes Evolve is something people will continue to play for a long time and views DLC as a way to keep folks invested in the experience. "Just keeping the game fresh in some way is always a good way to bring people back for more. Any of the DLC we make, our plans around DLC are about introducing new experiences. We want to have more content that significantly changes the game and breathes life into all the stuff that came first." "You have all these maps, and maybe you get bored of them after a while, but you throw a new monster in there and that has a ripple effect across the entire game." It sounds reasonable, the way Robb explains it one-on-one in a secluded room, but the way 2K presents it to the world at large comes across as anything but. Evolve projects like an experience that's being carved up part and parcel between its downloadable pre-order bonus monster (which retails for a hefty $15) and a complicated web of premium bundles. It's disheartening, really. 2K is preying on a part of your psyche that fears if you don't get the biggest, most expensive package you'll wind up missing out or paying more later. Meanwhile, you have no idea if you'll even enjoy the $60 base game in the first place. "There are way too many ideas we cannot fit into the box," Robb told me. "Budget-wise, time-wise, there's too much cool shit for us to leave it laying there and never do anything with it. But we wanted to be good about it as consumers." Robb seems like his heart is in the right place, but just as that 2K representative lurked at the back of the room, a massive corporation with stock and investors looms over the whole operation. This isn't some indie passion project. It would likely be handled differently if it were. There are other interests involved, and a lot riding on this project's success. Evolve was salvaged from THQ's wreckage, purchased by Take-Two Interactive for $10.8 million. They want a return on that investment. As always, consumers will be the ones footing the bill.
Evolve DLC interview photo
The push and pull of good intentions and capitalism
Evolve was peddling pre-order bonuses before its publisher had even shown off what the game looked like. A year later, we have a better idea what type of experience Evolve will offer when it releases next month. However, conc...

Evolve stream photo
Evolve stream

Monster mash! We're playing the Evolve beta


Come kill monsters with us
Jan 16
// Steven Hansen
It's Friday--but I'm still writing Thursday on all my checks!!!--and things are lulling into weekend mode, so we figured it's as good a time as any to play some Evolve, which has a beta running this weekend. Two monsters, eig...
Evolve DLC drama photo
Evolve DLC drama

Turtle Rock defends Evolve's DLC, pre-purchase options


Videogames sure have gotten complicated
Jan 16
// Rob Morrow
Turtle Rock studios co-founder Phil Robb took to the company's forums to address concerns about upcoming four-versus-one asymmetrical multiplayer title Evolve's numerous pre-purchase options and plans for downloadable co...
The Behemoth photo
The Behemoth

This monster is so big it could barely fit into Evolve


So they made him DLC
Jan 13
// Kyle MacGregor
The Behemoth, Evolve's fourth monster, is a big boy. "He was literally made as large as we could make him," says developer Turtle Rock Studios. The dude is so big he can't even jump. Jumping is totally overrated, though. Lea...
Evolve's PC specs photo
Evolve's PC specs

Turns out Evolve's PC specs aren't the real monster


That's a nice change of pace
Jan 12
// Brett Makedonski
It's becoming a common trend that it requires an increasingly absurd PC to even think about running the latest triple-A games. Evolve is a slight reprieve from that. Prospective hunters won't necessarily need the latest ...
Evolve on Xbox photo
Evolve on Xbox

Pre-purchase Evolve on Xbox One, get the Wraith and four hunters early


If you don't like grinding, drop your $60 now!
Jan 09
// Mike Cosimano
Today 2K Games and Turtle Rock Studios confirmed a bonus pre-purchase incentive for Evolve on Xbox One. If you pre-purchase the game before or during the Open Beta on Thursday, January 15, you'll be able to immediately p...
Evolve photo
Evolve

Evolve's intro cinematic is a clinic in smokin' stogies like a champ


They should've named this game 'Monster Hunter'
Jan 08
// Brett Makedonski
Evolve's opening cinematic is...well, it's pretty much everything you'd expect. It's a gussied-up version of the game as if it were being played like it's supposed to. You know, a team acting as a team instead of one guy run...
Evolve Offline Mode photo
Evolve Offline Mode

Turtle Rock Studios confirms offline mode for Evolve


I always suspected there was an 'I' in team
Dec 26
// Rob Morrow
In a recent update on Turtle Rock Studio's Evolve blog, it was confirmed that the asymmetrical four-versus-one shooter will have an offline mode available for those who'd prefer to play the game solo. Thi...
Evolve beta photo
Evolve beta

Evolve launches open beta for Xbox One on January 15


Will be playable till launch
Dec 18
// Alessandro Fillari
The first quarter of 2015 looks to be an exciting period for games. But one such title is looking to keep players satiated all the way till its release. After a successful closed alpha period, Evolve is gearing up for another...

Evolve offers a refreshingly robust and devious co-op experience

Dec 18 // Alessandro Fillari
Evolve (PC [previewed], PlayStation 4, Xbox One)Developer: Turtle Rock StudiosPublisher: 2K GamesRelease: February 10, 2014MSRP: $59.99 "It's given us this extra push, that extra motivation," said Chris Ashton, co-founder of Turtle Rock Studios and design director of Evolve as he recalled the general reception from fans. It's been about a year since its debut, and the fans have certainly taken to the game. After two alpha test periods, and its wildly popular station at PAX Prime -- I tried playing, but the line was ridiculous -- Turtle Rock was keen to show off more of what the game has to offer. "I think all the good and positive reception has added to the pressure, y'know, but I keep telling a lot of the guys that's it's the hardest thing we've ever done in our careers," said Ashton. "But I keep telling everyone 'great pressure makes for great games sometimes.' Though everyone is tired and worn out, seeing the news stories and positive reviews has made it all worthwhile." One of the new bits to share was the reveal of the new monster class, the Wraith. In addition to the Goliath and Kraken, essentially different takes on the warrior and mage archetypes, the Wraith is very much like the assassin class, except it's a twenty-foot-tall monster with massive claws and tendrils. Despite its size, the Wraith is the fastest thing in the game and can easily make quick work of the hunters, though it'll definitely take some time to master. Unlike the other classes, the strength of the Wraith lies in its stealth tactics and speed. The creature can warp in and out of danger with ease, and can use sneak attacks to quickly defeat the hunters and lesser prey. Its decoy ability allows it to summon a Wraith clone to attack nearby enemies, leaving the player in an invisible state, and the Supernova move gives a massive speed and power boost to the creature. Though the other classes were fun, I had a real blast with the Wraith. During the rescue game type, I stalked the group of hunters while they were struggling to find survivors to take back to base. Using my decoy ability, I sent my clone in against the group. As they scattered trying to take it out, I found the medic straggling behind them. At this point I used my Abduction move, which allowed me to warp to the hunter and drag him back to where I came. Alone, the medic was downed rather quickly by the Wraith's attacks. After they found the wounded medic and attempted to revive him, I swooped in like a hawk and used my Supernova ability to wipe the party in a frenzied flurry. It was awesome, and hearing the opposing team shout "He's on us!" felt oh-so satisfying. One of the most impressive things about Evolve is how well it was balanced. Even though the monsters are extremely powerful, the hunters are well equipped to handle the beast. Turtle Rock took a lot time refining and fixing issues with the game in order to maintain the balance and consistency with the asymmetrical multiplayer. "We playtested the crap out of it, iterating and finding what works and what doesn't -- and we forced our way through that idea of four vs. one gameplay to shipping the game now," said the design director. "It always seemed like a straightforward idea to us, like four quarters equals a dollar, right? In our minds, it always made sense. For four hunters who work together, and they use their teamwork right and coordinate, then they could be as powerful as this two-story monster." Though the Hunt mode offered quick and easy fun, the recently unveiled Evacuation mode will no doubt offer the most comprehensive and epic experiences that Evolve can produce. Referred to as a "grudge match across five maps" by its design director, five players are brought into a multiplayer campaign that shifts and alters depending on which side wins. For Turtle Rock Studios, this was an opportunity to up the ante on their previous work with the Left 4 Dead series. "We wanted to have a campaign in Evolve, but we wanted to do it in a different way," said Ashton as he described the genesis of Evacuation mode. "In Hunt, you can have a fifteen minute experience, and that's a good time for a lot of people.  But there's another scenario where me and you want to get online tonight and we want to play roughly an hour, and have an experience that has a beginning, middle, and end. That we all felt like we saw really cool things and that it all wrapped up nicely. We wanted to focus on replayability, to potentially have thousands of different possibilities." With four players taking on the role of the hunters, and one as the monster, you'll have to secure, defend, hunt your enemies to expand your power. On the final round, Evacuation reaches its crescendo as both sides must use all their acquired resources and skills to finish off the opposition. Spanning different game types spread across several maps, each round feels like a real struggle to succeed. If the hunters win a match, then they can acquire teleport machines that allow for easy travel or armor plated turrets for stronger defenses, but if the monster wins a match, then the environment will become corrosive to the hunters, and new beasts will come to assist your side. It's incredibly dynamic, and no campaign will feel the same. I played games on both sides, and the two felt incredibly different. I was impressed with how balanced it felt. Initially, I worried that being pitted against a skilled opposition would make the game unpleasant and result in a string of losses, but the mode also includes an auto-balance feature that will sightly boost the strength of the losing side, just to keep things interesting. The developers at Turtle Rock Studios wanted to ensure that the game is still winnable, despite the odds. Sometimes matches can feel like they can drag out, especially if both sides know what they're doing, I still felt the urge the pick up another game upon completion. Moreover, there's plenty of content that covers almost all the bases. Don't want to play with other players or deal with matchmaking? Then you can stick with bots offline that are just as competent as real opponents. Bots are an often overlooked feature, so it's reassuring that the developers are giving players options. As a huge Left 4 Dead fan, I found Evolve be a real evolution of the formula. You remember those moments in L4D where you just knew that the enemy was toying with you? Well, this title certainly brings those moments back in a big, and even more devious way. I found my time with Evolve to be incredibly fun, and it brought out the best of what co-op play is all about. There's a signature moment that's constantly happening, and I'm just dying to see what I can expect from the full release next year.
Evolve photo
I'm gonna have me some fun
There's been a lot of buzz surrounding Evolve, the new co-op shooter from Turtle Rock Studios. Helmed by the same developers of the original Left 4 Dead, fans have certainly been chomping at the bit for more information. Afte...


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