Evolve has had a complicated history since it launched in February of 2015. The concept is fascinating, sort of a cross between the best parts of Monster Hunter and Left 4 Dead, but somehow it never really shook out that way in practice. Our review mentioned how much different the game is depending on whether you're playing with your own crew or with Rando Calrissian, and that's probably why it didn't perform as well as publisher 2K would have preferred. Since it didn't offer any sort of single-player content or a campaign mode, there wasn't anything to do if you didn't enjoy playing with strangers.
Evolve went free-to-play on PC this July, and that seems to have breathed some new life into the franchise. Earlier today, Turtle Rock released a new expansion for the free-to-play version of Evolve. Called The Deepest Dark, this co-op mission tasks the players with hunting down a Gorgon Queen before her eggs hatch. The difference in this mode is that the monster is strictly controlled by the AI, and players can't take over for her as they would in a normal game.
The new mission is in open beta right now, and changes a few of Evolve's rules. The Gorgon Queen has no armor, and eating wildlife grants no energy. Instead, the monster must incapacitate hunters to gain energy. To make this a little more fair, the hunters will have to deal with aggressive, rabid wildlife as well as the Queen's eggs hatching Gorgon minions. This mission is narrated by an announcer who gives constant progress updates, sort of like Bastion.
I got kind of a Cthulu/Stranger Things vibe from the trailer, though that latter bit is probably due to the font they used to spell out The Deepest Dark. You can check out gameplay of this new content here, or try it for yourself on Steam right now by selecting it from the Co-op vs. AI menu.
Turtle Rock seems to be doing its best to salvage Evolve, and adding a cooperative mode seems like a good start. The studio has also been releasing regular content updates, including the Cataclysm expansion earlier this month. The developers have stated that if the change in format does well enough on PC, they may bring the free-to-play model to console versions in the future.read more