By Chase Streetman

Evolve just might be the best multiplayer experience I’ve ever had, but only when everyone who is playing is on the same page.

My very first match, I played as the Goliath.

It’s an experience unlike any other to go from the tense feeling of stalking through the jungle, feeding and evolving, and then going through moments of pure terror as you hear a hunter shout out “I see him!”

Even better is the adrenaline rush of the final confrontation.

The monster reaching its final evolution, the hunters retreating back into a defensible position, waiting for the monster to make its move, and then the sheer chaos of the monster launching its assault was one of the most tense and exciting finales I have ever experienced in gaming.

When the match ended, my hands were shaking and I had a smile on my face. The whole match lasted a mere 15 minutes, but the thrills made it feel like an hour.

Unfortunately, matches were completed in less than 5 minutes more often than not.

Oftentimes, the monster was found, tranquilized, and trapped in a fight less than one minute after the hunters had their boots on the ground. In every instance that this happened, the monster was killed before ever becoming a serious threat. This issue will likely work itself out as players get more experience with each role, but it does present a potential, chronic problem.

Quick matches wouldn’t be such an issue if the load times weren’t so long. In some instances they were longer than the matches themselves.

Even though the game is only in alpha, there’s almost no frame rate drop and I never encountered a moment of lag which is impressive given that this is the first time they’ve had this many people on the servers.

The character models and terrain are undoubtedly gorgeous. The world is a combination of lush, realistic jungles that are being intruded upon by harsh concrete structures. On the other hand, the character models are all varied enough in size, shape, and apparel that a mere glance is enough to tell which character and class they are.

Evolve only works if all five players are filling their specific roles.

The monster has to be constantly on the move and feeding.

The assault has to draw fire and deal damage like any good tank.

The medic needs to be constantly aware of their teammates’ health.

The trapper needs to be ready at a moment’s notice to throw down the mobile arena, trapping the monster, and initiating what could be the final encounter.

The support needs to keep an eye out to make sure none of their teammates are being eaten by one of the many plants or animals.

If any of these roles aren’t fulfilling their duties, the game becomes far too easy for one side or the other, and it’s just a matter of waiting for the match to end.

While that is a testament that Turtle Rock has balanced the cooperative and competitive gameplay elements, this also casts a shadow on random matchmaking, as one person not playing up to par can ruin the experience for everyone.

However, with time, this should become less of an issue. Each of the classes is incredibly intuitive despite each one catering to a unique playstyle.

Despite these missteps, the Evolve Big Alpha has absolutely sold me on the title, and I w
ill certainly be picking it up come February.

Images: GameBytez, Gadget Review, IGN

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