I am a futuristic Hemingway. I've donned my safari hat, packed my elephant gun, and gone hunting in an alien jungle.
I'm playing Evolve, the new game from Left 4 Dead developers Turtle Rock Studios. It's fantastic.
The most dangerous game
Evolve is sort of a competitive multiplayer shooter, sort of a cooperative multiplayer shooter, and sort of like no game that's ever been made before. Mostly that last one.
On one side is a dynamic that should feel familiar to Left 4 Dead fans — four people (dubbed Hunters) with guns. Each of the four characters on this team slots into a specific role, so you have an Assault class, a Medic, a Support, and a Trapper.
That last one, the Trapper, plays into the theme of Evolve: You're game hunters. As in "wildlife" hunters, not people who hunt down video games.
The catch? The monster you're hunting is controlled by another player. Turtle Rock has only shown off one monster so far, the Goliath, but promises more to come. The Goliath is ultra-mobile, scampering up walls and charging into battle. It also breathes fire and can throw rocks. The monster must survive long enough to kill all four Hunters, or to destroy a secondary objective (on our map it was a generator).
This is what the Hunters are up against. To succeed, they'll have to use all their various class abilities in concert to take down a monster that only gets more powerful as the game goes on, as the monster levels up over the course of the round and gains access to new abilities.
The Trapper is key to the whole operation, outfitted with harpoons and other mobility-restricting items to prevent the monster from escaping. Not that the other classes aren't important. The Assault class obviously will do most of the damage, the Medic will help keep the group alive while also staying at the back lines with a trusty sniper rifle, and the Support class gets everyone out of tight situations with a cloaking field.
It's quite a dynamic, and the classes I played (Trapper and Support) felt both engaging and useful — important, considering you can only have one of each class per game, and nobody wants to get stuck playing the boring class.
Meet the new Hunters
Turtle Rock showed off four new Hunters this time around: Hyde (Assault), Maggie (Trapper), Lazarus (Medic), and Bucket (support).
Hyde is just a big guy with a flamethrower built into his arm. As a straight-ahead damage-dealer, I actually find the assault class the least interesting. But hey, the character design is great and if you're just in the business of wrecking monsters then Hyde's your guy.
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