This preview is based upon a short time with the game which is still in development as such anything mentioned in this article is subject to change.
As this is a AAA title I'd better say this to cover myself legally I do not own or claim to own the name Evolve or the artwork related to the game.
Also just to cover myself, I am not under NDA , I signed no paperwork and I gave no verbal agreement to keep any form of non disclosure agreement.
This article contains no video recorded by me and only one picture shot by me.
I was given a free shirt from the stand (apparently at PAX east they were pre-order only so lol)
Because the stand had a no pictures no video policy any time I would have put in a cool video to illustrate what I was saying I will post a picture of the shirt, because that is totally going to be as good as being allowed to record and show footage right ?
The only video will be the official trailer.
So over a month ago at Gadget show live I got the chance to check out upcoming AAA title Evolve. Evolve is an asymmetrical 4vs1 multiplayer first person shooter brought to you by Turtle Rock Studios who previously brought the world Left 4 Dead.
So I think I should give you a full experience of what I went through at the booth so you know just how elaborate the set up was and just how they set up the atmosphere for the booth.
Initially I had to queue outside the booth. I made it there with very little time left before the show closed. I was admitted in the last group. The reason I had waited so long before going to the booth was because for most of the day there was a very long queue for the game.
After being led in by the staff with the others in the group we entered the booth through a black ribbon curtain to find ourselves in what at first appeared to be a small fallout bunker. Upon closer examination it appeared to be the rear compartment of a cargo plane complete with parachutes medical kits and luggage straps on the walls. The ceiling sloped down to a point at the end of the room. Just before this point was a screen. A member of staff walked in and up the the screen.
"Congratulations guys you are about to see and play a game that only people at conventions and developers have played before. You are getting to see something that hasn't been shown to the public as a working game until recently."
The screen lit up.
"you will be playing the new game by Turtle rock Studios called Evolve on these custom gaming PCs by [insert name here because I forgot what he said] but first we have to give you your briefing"
The room went darker the staff left the room and the video continued to play. Showing a trailer of Evolve and then going on to explain how every class would play their role. The medic keeping people alive, the trapper keeping the monster contained, the assault who does damage and the support who can give offensive or defensive buffs. We were then told we were going to be playing as the as the first four hunters in the game with more to come and hunting the first of multiple monsters called Goliath. It was shown to us on the screen that the player with the role of Goliath has to hunt and eat to evolve before he could take us on.
It adds so much to this article right , this picture of a shirt rather than some gameplay footage.
So the staff came back in and asked who wanted to be the monster. I put my hand up as did some others.
"who really wants to be the monster" asked the staff member. I put my hand down as it was a case of I might as well let someone else play it.
only two guys hand their hands up still "Ok you two and the two monsters each up against 4 hunters then" said the staff member who then added "While I remember at the moment there is no mouse and keyboard support so I'm sorry to any hardcore PC FPS players here but it's not in the game yet."
The staff member then lead away the two monster players.
"Ok now we need two medics" I put my hand up because firstly medic is an easy job normally and secondly most people hate being it, so if I started with potentially the most boring class then I'd know the worst point of the game.
"Ok you two are the medics so now trappers. you two. Now support, you two and you two are the assaults now if you'd all come with me"
We filed through another black curtain strip into a large playing area with blocks of units set up and we were filed in.
Everyone sat down and were told to pick up controllers and put on the headphones.
"Hello hunters" said a staff member over the headset "once you are all readied up then we'll begin and I'll try to help you as best as I can as I can talk to all over you through your turtle beach headsets"
I readied up as did the rest of the players
"Ok first guys you'll each have a short tutorial to help you understand your class a bit better"
I watched the medic tutorial and learned I'd pretty much picked the best class, at least for me. As the video explained the medic had multiple roles in a team. Sure you could patch up and heal people and get them back on their feet but that wasn't all. Along with a health gun and an AOE healing boost you could use your sniper rifle to harm the creature and create weak points and using your tranquillizer gun could slow down the creatures movements along with a radioactive tracker to give vision on the monster in the form of showing it as a green silhouette.
Yup I'm really going to run with this joke.
"Ok guys there's just a few seconds more" said the staff member over the headset "while you guys are being dropped in via the helicopter the monster gets a few seconds head start to make it fair"
A message popped up on the screen saying "the monster picked cooldown reduction". The back of the vehicle opened and all the hunters jumped out automatically, the hunt was on.
Dropping down into the forest showed a PC version at least that looked as good as the CGI trailers for the game. We walked as a team for maybe 30 seconds until out of the wilderness a panther like creature jumped at me. I hammered the A button and soared into the air.
"Oh by the way guys if you double tap A you have jetpacks" said the staff member "also if you double tap A and a direction you boost in it."
The assault behind me nailed the beast and for a moment I thought that was it, all over so easily. turns out that was just one of the prey the real beast was meant to feast on.
"Guys I see him in the background" called the staff member "Over by that rock ahead of you look"
we all turned to look seeing a grey gorilla like creature scaling the rock and disappear out of view.
Me and the Assault boosted ahead to try and catch up. I nailed the beast with a traq. The assault unloaded on him and somewhere behind us the trapper had caught up enough to use one of his abilities. The portable combat zone. A giant sphere of light that traps the creature inside with you and prevents it running.
I jetted up onto a rock and took a few good shots only for the monster to climb the rock after me. I boosted away as the creature lept off.
I turned and fired another traq
"If the Medic can hit him with a Traq it will show him up" said the staff member "Oh he already has nice work"
I followed as best as I could until the beast was out of sight.
"If anyone sees the thing press down the right thumbstick to ping where it is" said the staff memeber
We went in the general direction of the creature fairly spread out, me jumping from rock formation to rock formation to keep a good line of sight ahead.
There was ping to the left from the assault he'd spotted the creature. I swung round to see a large grey shape jump off onto some rocks near what appeared to be part of a damn of some kind. I pinged it's new position and we moved in. I boosted up onto part of the damn followed by the assault and then as I jumped down as small drop something moves. The creature had been waiting. I fired the jetpack again and got a good couple of headshots on it before it realised what was going on. I landed back on the platform I'd just left as the assault and support jumped down.
"If you can trap it guys the assault could use his orbital cannon possibly" said the staff member "but it's hard you'll have to really predict it's movement.
I watched the creature dash off into the level and finally dropped down, healing up the support who had ended up at half health and the hunt was on again.
me and the assault boosted ahead seeing the evidence we were on the right track in the form of dead animals. I saw it and pinged just as it vanished round a corner onto the strut of what seemed to be a damn like structure.
Both me and the assault turned the corner
"He's evolving shoot the cocoon" said the staff member.
In almost a hanger like structure there it was. A large pink cocoon. Me and the assault opened fire into it. I decided I was way too close and jetpacked back. I'd misjudged the level and fell down a steep cliff. firing my jets near the bottom to slow the fall. I then jump jetted back up to watch the creature burst of the the cocoon.
"watch out guys he has a shield now" said the staff member "oh wait you guys damaged him enough in the cocoon that he's emerged without a shield"
I again tranqued the thing as it hurried off. the rest of the team rushes after it. I again took to high ground and used the scope to try to locate it. the portable combat zone dropped again.
"Nice work you guys have him and his shield isn't back up yet"
I moved into position on a rock behind behind the team as they engaged. Then the unexpected happened. The creature turned. No longer running as it had reached the edge of the zone. It charged knocking the rest of the team about like rag dolls running clean through them. I fired headshot after headshot on the approaching monster. I tranqued it and kept boosting backwards but pouncing it was still gaining ground. I hit into a rock and couldn't back up move and it was on me. I was taking heavy damage so I used the medic's accelerated combat healing and tried to jetpack up only to be caught in a sheet of flame from the creature.
"Man down" I called over coms
"Who"asked the staff member
"Medic down" I called
"Damn guys he's got your medic you've got to get them back up"
The creature stood waiting for the rest of the team I watched as it killed me its prize and pushed the team back. I died
"If you guys can last till that countdown finishes the medic will drop back in" said the staff member
A countdown of 1 minute 47 seconds appeared on screen.
From there the monster ripped the assault apart leaving only the trapper and support. The support was next leaving only the trapper.
"Well I guess he could survive but the trapper doesn't have any great escape abilities" said the staff member.
3 seconds later he was dead, the monster won.
Leaving the thing the staff member said "Nice work to the monster focusing down the medic like that"
"Thanks" said the guy playing the monster.
I went over and said to the guy nice work and he replied "yeh it was close but then I realised you were hanging out of the way or at the back and realised there must be a reason so I made it my objective to take you down first as you were probably important to the team".
I then got the free shirt and left the booth.
Now onto my thoughts on the game. On PC at least it does look as good as the CGI trailers make out though who knows for consoles. It is fun to play and even though I got my arse kicked it was enjoyable to play and was very much a "one more time" game.
Now to address problems others have said about the game. Firstly it was hinted that there will be more hunters in the final game and more monsters so I don't think variety will be an issue especially if this jungle isn't the only level either. Next if the creature can fly the trapper being OP, which could have some validity but again it's about moving for the creature and staying clear of attacks so it could be but then again a creature flying could escape being cornered easier.
Now onto my issues with the game again this game is in development so it's more than likely there will be fixed by release. while I only played one match it did seem very much like the game could be very dependant on good team play. Me and the assault were mostly the only two keeping up with the beast and while the trapper managed to drop the combat zone twice, neither him not the support seemed to be doing that much as me and the assault dashed round the place.
Next there might be a balance issue as while the traq slowed the creatures default movement down it didn't really impact it's pounce / jump ability and coupled with the cooldown reduction it mean when tranqed the beast could escape just as easily by rapidly pouncing making it hard for the hunters to keep up even using the jetpack dash. Essentially while it made the creature visible the slowing effect was pointless as it was easily countered. Maybe the tranq needs to disable pouncing or disable perks like the cooldown reduction perk.
Finally the monster can just focus down the medic fairly easily and then having taken them down just camp the body. Either the monster needs to be unable to see which team member is which or there needs to be a way to push the creature from an area to prevent it being able to just camp a downed hunter as happened in the game I was in.
Here's the trailer
Evolve will release Autumn 2014 on PC, PS4 and XBone