It would have been easy for Turtle Rock to milk the zombie genre further by creating a spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, but instead they’ve taken the much more challenging route with Evolve to give us something new and fresh.
This – combined with the fact that there’s no last-gen strap – really is something to praise, and that’s despite Evolve being billed as “the most DLC friendly game of all time”.
Having read the majority of reviews out there, though, it would seem that there’s also a lot to dislike. A widely reported problem is that it’s only fun when played with others on your friend list – a similar issue that Left 4 Dead suffered from.
Critics also (mostly) agreed that it’s pretty limited when it comes to tactics. Again, it’s easy to see where they’re are coming from – when playing as a monster we find ourselves simply bashing the melee attack button while waiting for the special attack cool-down meters to reset. The only other alternatives are to run away like a coward or stand there like a giant, monstrous, lemon.
Whereas some reviewers were able to look past these problems, a few weren’t. Curiously, it’s mostly British gaming sites that fell into the latter camp.
Here’s a review round-up:
9.0 – IGN: “Its progression system stifles it a bit early on, but regardless, Evolve is a deeply rewarding multiplayer experience that packs both brains and brawn”
4.5/5 – Attack of the Fanboy: “Turtle Rock Studios’ brand of Asymmetrical Multiplayer in Evolve is right up there with the very best that we’ve seen, with a complimentary presentation to match. For anyone looking for a reprieve from military shooters, Evolve can be an exhilarating change of pace”
4.5/5 – The Escapist: “If you’re a fan of team shooters, or you just want to be a giant monster, Evolve is the game for you”
8.5 – GameInformer: “Evolve’s matchups offer a lot of replayability and competitive thrills, and I can see myself returning to it consistently in the following months – even if those play sessions do inevitably end with me lusting for more to do in the world”
8/10 – GameSpot: “As with Turtle Rock’s Left 4 Dead, Evolve is best when you play with buddies; getting matched with a novice can lead to ghastly results if your newfound friend constantly seeks out the nonexistent “I” in “team.” It doesn’t take long to whip a newcomer into shape, at least, meaning you can usually focus on Evolve’s unique brand of greatness: the suspense of the hunt, the exhilaration of battle, and the drive to dominate Shear. Even Sasquatch would shiver at the dangers”
4/5 – Slant Magazine: “The addictive class-based rewards, lengthy compendium of achievements, and the overall adrenaline of capturing and killing a trophy monster makes for a compelling game”
7/10 – ShackNews: “Overall, it’s a bit of a time investment, but after learning the ins-and-outs of hunting, Evolve starts to become a more engaging time-killer”
7/10 – TheSixthAxis: “At its simplest, Evolve is one of the best new ideas to be turned into a game of recent times, invoking so many monster and alien films along the way. Its attention grabbing hook can only take it so far, though, and Evolve needs you to persevere through the first few hours as you get to grips with the hunt and learn how to play the game”
6.5/10 – EGM: “There’s an ambitious and wonderfully tense multiplayer game hidden somewhere deep inside of Evolve, and on the rare occasions you can coax it out with perfectly balanced teams and a little luck, you’ll understand exactly what Turtle Rock was aiming for. More often than not, however, you’ll find yourself stuck in another dull and lengthy traipse through the jungle with an unsatisfying and lopsided payoff, made all the worse by a lack of substance or long-term appeal”
6/10 – The Metro: “A great idea in theory, but in practise the novelty wears out extremely quickly, with a serious lack of variety in game modes, maps, and tactics”
6/10 – The Jimquisition: “To be quite honest, Evolve is an inoffensive experience despite the gauche focus on DLC it had leading up to launch. As an overall game, it offers a basic shooter with a nice gimmick, and I do think you can gather some friends together to get an afternoon’s worth of laughs out of it. I don’t believe there’s enough mileage to have those laughs regularly, though, and certainly not enough to where I’d recommend rushing out and getting it so soon after launch”
6/10 – VideoGamer: “How much fun you have with Evolve will most certainly depend on the company you keep during your time with the game. AI can last long enough to help you get to grips with the basics, but once you notice their limitations you’ll spend most of your time online, hoping matchmaking pairs you with similarly-skilled players. In the time I’ve spent with the game, there’s certainly been some great moments, but they are sparse among the tedium of chasing shadows in Hunt, or winning matches at a canter with a strong team or against isolated Hunters”