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Evolve hands-on: Welcome to the jungle, we've got guns and game

Hayden Dingman | May 23, 2014
I am a futuristic Hemingway. I've donned my safari hat, packed my elephant gun, and gone hunting in an alien jungle.

Maggie has a pet Trapjaw (one of the lower-tier wildlife specimens that infest the map) which she uses to track the monster. This gives players an edge, provided they can move fast enough to catch up with the Goliath. She also can lay harpoon traps, which prevent the monster from moving, and in a pinch can throw down a mobile arena — a gigantic dome that traps everything inside.

Lazarus, true to his Biblical name, is a medic that can bring downed team members back to life. This can be enormously frustrating as the monster; you think you're making good progress, and then suddenly half the Hunter squad is brought back to life. And since Lazarus has a personal cloaking device, it can be hard to figure out where he's disappeared to. He's a formidable challenge to an unwary monster.

Then there's Bucket, the Support class robot. Want to know the best thing about Bucket? He can take his head off and fly it around like a drone to spot the monster and packs full complement of missile launchers and sentry guns.

We also got a first look at a new map, "The Dam," which is a desert environment. If you think the monster is the most dangerous thing out there, well, you're right. But only barely. Random wildlife roams the map and will absolutely destroy your team of Hunters if you're not careful.

During one match our team managed to reduce the Goliath to a mere sliver of health — I'm talking one more bullet might've killed it. The Goliath escaped to nurse its wounds, and we gave chase.

We chased it right into a group of angry animals, one of which then took down our Lazarus. With no way to revive downed teammates, and us scattered to the wind, the Goliath managed to pick us off one by one. It was a stunning comeback — and all because we were arrogant.

Respect nature. That's the message I'm getting from Evolve.

In all seriousness, this is definitely a game I look forward to playing more of when it releases this fall. The worry, of course, is that the game becomes rote after playing a few rounds. So far, however, everything seems tightly balanced and always unpredictable. If the team at Turtle Rock can keep Evolve to these two mantras, I'll be excited.


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