Videogame review: Evolve is an evolution of the multiplayer game
The future of gaming requires a careful balance. Developers need to innovate while simultaneously preserving the tried-and-tested methods that made gaming of the past so enjoyable. Video games must, to put it bluntly, evolve - the ideal title, then, for 2K's clever and unique new release.
Available for the PS4, Xbox One and PC, the mechanics behind its play are straightforward: it's a team-based shooter where every match involves a battle against a mythical monster. The twist is that while four players control the human hunters, one gamer is given the thrill of being the hunted monster.
What Evolve does very well is strategy: unlike multiplayer games such as Call of Duty, where all that's required is one obsessively fast-paced player with a strong internet connection, it's essential in Evolve that players work together. The hunters are given specific roles: Assault teams deal damage, Trappers track and lay snares, Support offers additional firepower, while Medics heal. Near-perfect co-operation between all hunters presents the only real chance of taking down the hulking, advancing beasts. On the flip side, those controlling the monsters aren't simply thrown into a mindless tussle. The creatures (Goliath, Kraken, Wraith and Behemoth) require just as much cunning, including knowing which hunter to attack and when to hold back.
It all adds up to a multiplayer melee that to the casual onlooker seems like nothing more than a monster mash. But it will be so much more for the gamers who dig deep - simplicity of gameplay combines with stunning strategy for possibly the first online-based fighter that truly requires teamwork.
Evolve is close to five-star status, but doesn't quite attain it. An important caveat here: a sneaky smartphone-like approach to additional content. Completist gamers who wanted everything on launch day shelled out up to HK$1,500 for the game, its season pass, 44 DLC packs and all additional characters.
That is a huge price to pay, deserving of the controversy it's created among the gaming community. But for the casual gamer, the basics are all that's required, and that's how we're rating it. We are not fans of 2K's greedy approach, but both in the heady chaos of its gameplay and as an ultimatum to rival developers, Evolve offers a strong statement: change or die.