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By zethalee27-11-2014
Gronnings (editor)
StuntmanLT (editor)

The Defence

Turtle Rock Studios
2K Games
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Core i7 2.7 GHz
AMD A8 3.0 GHz
Nvidia GeForce GTX 680
AMD Radeon R9 280
6 GB
15 GB

Turtle Rock Studios, the team behind the original Left 4 Dead, have quite the legacy to live up to. L4D and its sequel have firmly cemented their place as the premier arcade zombie-shooting games, eating away hundreds of thousands of hours worldwide as players attempt to obliterate hordes of zombies. Both games feature unique Infected, too, and by far the biggest opponent in those games is the Tank, a hulking mass of muscle and anger that, when player-controlled, can demolish even the hardiest team of Survivors.

It then comes as no surprise that Turtle Rock has, in a way, returned to the formula of Left 4 Dead: four monster hunters taking on one very aggressive, very angry monster. The twist here is that the monster quite literally evolves by way of eating fauna, and the four “monster hunters” fall into four classes, Medic, Support, Assault, and Trapper.

It's nice of the monster to leave bright blue footprints.

It's nice of the monster to leave bright blue footprints.

From the moment you dive out of a dropship up until one side triumphs, the game's oppressive atmosphere is attempting to work its magic on you. With the hunters, their immediate task upon landing is to follow the monster's glowing tracks into the unfamiliar jungle, with irritable wildlife hiding behind every boulder and waylaid tree trunk. As for the player-controlled monster, it slinks between shadows, devouring fauna when it can, creeping upwards in strength in order to take the hunters on as a team.

This dizzying dance between the two sides serves to emphasize one of the core tenets of the game, the teamwork. No one hunter will be able to eliminate the monster alone, as each class has abilities that augment one another. Whether it's the Medic's healing burst, the Trapper's force-field arena, the Support's shielding power, or the Assault's firepower, all are important in the quest for victory. With jetpacks and the ability to dash a short distance, the hunters emphasize mobility over raw strength, relying on keeping their distance from the beast as it attempts to cleave any of them in two.

What then can the monster, either the Goliath or the Kraken provided during the Big Alpha, do in order to tilt the scales in their favor? With a team of just one, the monster must ally themselves with the oppressive darkness available on all maps, if only for a terrifying surprise attack. Nothing strikes fear into the heart of a player as much as a boulder hurtling out of the shadows at ludicrous speeds towards their head, sending the hunter flying and relieving them of quite a bit of health.

All roads have an end.

All roads have an end.

When the monster is finally found, the match descends into a brawl, with an evolved mountain of flesh slamming into far-future technology, leaving both sides bruised and limping. Tracking the demon afterward becomes a chase, with the haggard grunts leading the humans deeper and deeper into the labyrinthine forests, before the tracks vanish, giving both sides a chance to lick their wounds. Although the maps may vary from round to round, they all seem designed in order to facilitate fights that are as hectic as possible, with crags and alien trees sprouting everywhere, yet still seemingly never providing enough cover from a motivated monster player.

A final cry goes up, and the beast falls, another hunter victory. The short (10-15 minutes) length of the matches and objective design mean that no one team is allowed to get comfortable for too long, sparking fights across the map. Once the monster evolves to its “third stage,” it becomes a terror, shrugging off the most persistent of orbital bombardments and clawing players apart. This suppressed fear will always drive players to aggressively hunt, if only to ensure they don't have to face off against a souped-up beast.

Evolve seems to be shaping up as the premier co-operative monster hunting game, and it will release this February 10th for PC and modern consoles.

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