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First look - Evolve

Published on Jul 21, 2014 5:32 AM
 
Evolve.

I felt a rush of adrenaline when I heard the high-pitched alert emitted by the motion sensor that I had earlier placed at a clearing in the jungle. That audio signal meant that Goliath - the giant fire-breathing, lightning-fast, bipedal monster we were tracking - had stepped on the sound spike. The four of us human hunters then flew into action, taking to the air on our jetpacks as we rushed to the location of the monster before it escaped.

In 20 seconds, we had reached the spot, but Goliath was nowhere to be found. The sound of birds flying away nearby meant that the monster had startled the flock.

My teammate playing Val the Medic screamed with excitement as he shouted into his headset that his tranquiliser rifle had hit its target. That shot would slow Goliath down temporarily and illuminate him in a green silhouette which would make it easy for us to see it.

Playing Griffin the Trapper, my job at this stage was to immobilise Goliath with my long-range harpoon and activate my special ability to unleash the Mobile Arena Dome. This will create a force-field dome that traps the monster in an area of the map, allowing us to finish the job.

Markov the Assault is the grunt whose job is to damage the monster. He has the most powerful guns, including the feared Lightning Gun, which shoots bolts of lightning at close range.

Markov is also tougher than the rest of us and the ideal strategy is for the monster to chase Markov and leave the rest of us alone to support him. He can also activate his personal shield to become invulnerable for a while, but he will need support from the Medic's healing abilities to stay alive in a long fight.

The Medic is the most fragile member, but she can heal the group and keep everyone alive. It is no surprise that she is usually the first target of an experienced player playing the monster.

This is where Hank the Support, who is the fourth member of the team, comes into the picture. The dwarf can use his shield gun to create a temporary shield barrier over an individual ally. When I played Hank, I usually aimed my shield gun at the Medic to keep her alive, so she could keep the rest from getting killed.

Hank's main weapon is weak, but he has the ability to call an Orbital Barrage air strike, which deals massive amounts of damage to the monster. However, this is difficult to execute if the monster is moving about.

Hank's final ability is a life saver. Within a small radius and for a short while, he can cloak his teammates and himself in invisibility. This allows him to help everyone escape the jaws of death.

The four hunters must work together for a chance at killing the monster and I punched both hands in the air when I saw Goliath finally falling to the ground.

If you do not like to work in a team, then you can play the monster. It starts off weak and needs to run away from the hunters to feed on the wildlife in the jungle.

As it feeds, it grows stronger and is able to evolve into a larger and more powerful version of itself. It can do this twice to reach its full size in the third stage.

At full size, the monster must switch from being the hunted to being the hunter. That is because the monster loses the game if there is no combat action for three minutes. The monster has many special abilities to even the odds, including breathing fire, throwing a giant rock and jumping into the fray with its leaping claw attacks. The monster is also much tougher and can take a lot of damage before it is defeated.

Created by Turtle Rock, the makers of Left For Dead, Evolve is a very different shooter game and the two hours of gameplay just flew by during the hands-on session at the local office of the game's publisher, 2KGames, at Goldbell Towers.

I am not a big fan of shooter games, but I enjoyed every moment of Evolve's action.

This article was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on Feb 19, 2014.

  • (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC), available third quarter of this year
  • Shooter