If you played Turtle Rock’s Left 4 Dead, Evolve‘s co-op hook will feel familiar. However, rather than fighting undead hordes, here the winning L4D genes have been spliced with an unusual 1v4 power balance that recreates the traditional boss battle set up. With one vital change: rather than AI taking the helm, in this case, I’m the monster.
Playing Evolve on PS4 – what’s it like to be the monster?
Playing as one of Evolves creatures is about making constant risk/reward calls. Before the round starts, do you opt for a faster feeding perk to evolve quicker, or more armour? Do you pick attacks that help mobility – Charge and Leap – or damage-dealers like Fireball and Rock Throw? Do you start each round by looking for the hunters, or sneaking around, avoiding leaving footprints, and noshing the fauna until you evolve?
The map we’re playing is set in the lush climes of an alien rainforest, a microcosm of living things. Its vines and dense canopy should give me a good chance of hiding. But within seconds I disturb a flock of birds, giving away my location to all and sundry. Pressing R3, I send out a radar blip that alerts me to local creatures I’ll need to devour in order to evolve. And the bright yellow silhouettes of nearby Gallimimus-like critters that appear are pure, unmistakeable Left 4 Dead.
At this point, the odds are tipped in the favour of the others. They already have all the weapons and gadgets they’re going to get, and if they meet me in my present form they have their best chance of taking me down. Therefore I race wildly towards the yellow silhouettes and swipe them out of the game with my enormous death-fists, watching the radial evolution bar fill up as I nibble. Then: disaster. The team gets a visual on me and zeroes in with alarming speed.
Someone fires a harpoon gun at
me, which I swipe free of with R2.
That’ll be the trapper, then.
It’s fight or flight time. Again picking the riskiest option available, I engage them in my weakest form. The problem is that I can’t easily tell which of the bluish figures are I’m fighting is the medic, the support, the trapper, or the assault – a deliberate design call on Turtle Rock’s part: I have to watch how my opponents behave. Someone fires a harpoon gun at me, which I swipe free of with R2. That’ll be the trapper, then. After a few seconds the green ray of the medic’s healing gun gives her away. I launch a charge attack, then jump on her, knocking her down below 50% health. If I can drain the other 50%, she’ll be incapacitated and someone will have to come over and revive her. A trap I’m determined to set.
Evolve’s classes on PS4 include medic, trapper, assault & support.
Determined, but not successful. I’m outsmarted by the support class, who uses his proximity cloak to turn himself invisible, and in turn anyone he’s near. While I cut myself free of another harpoon, I lose sight of them both and the trap’s wasted. With my armour bar drained and health dwindling, it’s time to scarper back into the wild.
Somehow I shake everyone off and manage to feed up to level three before they find me again. I feel mighty. Even my simple swipe attacks land with invigorating force now. I down the medic easily, spitting hot fire in her general direction to deter would-be saviours. The trapper’s harpoons are really pissing me off, so I down him next with a rock throw. The two most powerful hunters are still hovering around, dealing damage and replenishing shields, but the ground I cover using leap and charge attacks means they can’t escape. Grinning and entirely ungracious, I am victorious. Hear me roar!
You can read more about our Evolve hands on in the new issue of Official PlayStation Magazine out on February 14th.
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