Why did everyone enjoy Evolve except me?

by James O'Connor 5 Comments 10 Likes 2,045 Views 19/06/2014 Back to Xbox One articles Evolve

Game of the show, game of the year, the best thing since sliced bread, better than sliced bread, better than Left 4 Dead, much better than Left 4 Sliced Bread – these are just some of the accolades I’ve seen Evolve receive since E3. It’s a game I’ve struggled to fully grasp myself – beyond the obvious prestige of Turtle Rock Studios the central concept just doesn’t appeal to me all that much – so I jumped at the chance to check the game out at E3 and see what all the fuss was about.

2K are putting an awful lot of faith in Evolve. They paired up with Nerdist for a tournament event, constructed a giant statue, and advertised the game heavily around E3. At their booth they unveiled a new monster – the Kraken – and opened the game up to all attendants. I’d only booked half an hour with 2K at E3, and given a choice between Evolve and Civilization: Beyond Earth, I went with the former: I’m already pretty sold on a new Civ, but I wanted to see what everyone who had already gone hands-on with Evolve was talking about.

E3, it should be noted, is not an ideal environment for every type of gameplay experience. Unless the booth has a special media section behind closed doors you’re generally filtered through a single quick experience and then sent off so that the lengthy line behind you can inch forward. For a multiplayer game like Evolve it’s important that you get the right mix of other players if you want a good experience, and when you have an extremely important meeting soon after the appointment you’re currently in you hope that multiple crashes and glitches don’t prevent you from jumping into the game immediately.

I wasn’t so lucky on either account. There was a fifteen minute gap between picking up the Xbox One controller and actually getting to play the game, including a station change when it became clear that one of the modified PCs we were playing on wasn’t going to play ball. This is the sort of thing you just sort of have to forgive in a situation like this, but the irritation of the wait exacerbated the general crappiness of the experience that followed.

For my session, I played the medic class. The medic has a cool sniper rifle, can regenerate their own health and that of their allies, and has a cloak and the ability to bring teammates back from the dead. They are, one 2K rep told me, the most important member of the team – if they did, everyone else will probably soon follow. The mission starts with the players tracking the monster, either by seeking environmental clues or by following the ‘tracker’ animal, a big ol’ dog-like alien that leads you right to it.

We had to track the monster twice, and damn if there just isn’t a whole lot to that process. I wonder what experience others had in the demo, because mine consisted of following the tracker alien until the monster appeared, using my jetpack occasionally but otherwise not being particularly engaged.

The idea, as I understand it, is that you track the monster until it evolves sufficiently, at which point the hunters become the hunted and the game turns into a struggle to survive. This sounds like an idea with some potential, but it really relies on the guy playing the monster having some skills. The second time we encountered our monster, the team’s trapper threw out his forcefield, trapping the monster within the space we were all in. I threw out a few healing moves and shot the levitating monster in the face from a distance a few times, and then….oh. That was it. After 4 minutes and 36 seconds, the monster was dead, and a 2K representative was congratulating us on the fastest clear time he had seen all show. Huh.

Certainly there’s potential for Evolve to be great, but I am wary of any multiplayer game that is absolutely and utterly reliant on the skill level of a single individual. If you have a regular group of friends you play with, this might not be such an issue, and outside of E3 – where players actually have a chance to play around and learn the game’s systems a bit better – maybe this will be less of a problem. But my one round of Evolve was rubbish, I’m sorry to say. Whether that’s the fault of the game, or the guy playing the monster in our game was just unusually awful, or whether E3 is simply a terrible place to experience a game like this for the first time, I’d have a harder time saying.

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Why did everyone enjoy Evolve except me? Comments

  • Tano 363562 XP 19/06/2014
    You're definitely not the only one. I found it to be fun but not great. I'm not crazy over Sunset Overdrive but I enjoyed it more than I did Evolve. I'm sure Evolve will be great, but it's one of many games at E3 that simply did not benefit from having a short demo.
  • Gryllis 371665 XP 19/06/2014
    You're crazy.

    It's the first multiplayer game I've played in ages I really enjoyed. But I didn't play at E3, and it got better with each round I played in an environment designed to show it off.
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  • Harry 77956 XP 19/06/2014
    I'd say it's a game where you need to have a good sit down to understand how all the different ideas come together. A <5 minute playthrough is never going to be enough.

    It's a bit like Left 4 Dead.. if you ran through one level of one campaign in Versus mode you'd probably be underwhelmed... Once you play a lot and learn how the infected work and the ins and outs of each campaign, you see why it works so well.

    Can't wait to play this. Hopefully the others get on board too.. @Skarteh
  • Letrico 245 XP 19/06/2014
    It seems like you did not enjoy the game due to technical hiccup rather than the gameplay. The technical hiccup ruined the anticipation you had and the game session you had was ruined by a bad player playing as the monster.

    It happens with co-op multiplayer games, like having a feeder in your team ruining the experience or someone making the whole session unpleasant. It seems like a solid game and you definitely have to play and review it again in a closed environment.
  • Carl968 784 XP 22/06/2014
    I foresee alot of rage quitting on this game that it will make it unpleasant for everyone. Whoever plays the beast and if they get owned buy the 4 will just drop to find a easier lobby.
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