Hands-on with Evolve: Hunting the Beast

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Hands-on with Evolve: Hunting the Beast
Hands-on with Evolve: Hunting the Beast

Four hunters push through the thick of the jungle, muttering warnings and checking their Sound Spikes for activity. The beast has been feeding, and the burst cocoon littering the dark jungle floor betrays the monster’s recent evolution. As the hunters trace the monster’s footprints, it watches them from above, snarling and seething and ready to strike. High tension moments like these are often relegated to cutscenes in video games. But in Evolve, it’s all just part of the game.

Developed by the team at Turtle Rock Studios (Left 4 Dead), Evolve is scheduled to launch later this year on PS4. The developers brought an early test build of Evolve to San Francisco to show off their latest creation. Much more than just a multiplayer shooter, Evolve’s high-tension, asymmetrical design promises an experience quite unlike anything that’s come before it.


Evolve is founded on the fun and thrill of the boss battle. In most games, boss battles are visually enthralling moments where players study patterns and exploit them to survive. But in Evolve, that dynamic has shifted. Four players work cooperatively as hunters to take down a fifth player who fills the role of “boss” — a gargantuan monster. With human players powering both sides of the conflict, Evolve ruptures into heated, richly strategic fights that require serious teamwork.

Players on the hunters’ side select between four classes. Each class is vital to the success of the team, in varied ways. To that point, every match must include one of each class — hunters can’t roll into battle with only two or three members.



In the test build on display, four specific characters belonging to each of the four classes were shown. More hunters (and more monsters) will be available in the final version. But the first lucky hunters introduced include…

Second Opinion

One thing that stands out about Evolve is just how balanced each character feels, especially this early in development.

Every player fills a very specific role, each one acting as a separate limb of the team’s body. And when the team loses one of those limbs, they feel the resulting loss of mobility. Lose your Trapper? Kiss that Mobile Arena and Goliath-hindering Harpoon Gun goodbye. Medic down for the count? Good luck keeping your health up long enough to stand toe-to-toe with the beast.

And on the other side of this gruesome coin, the monster itself teeters on the edge of “overpowered” — such that when faced against four artillery-packing, highly trained hunters, you not only feel like you stand a chance, but that you can take these interlopers out.

– Justin Massongill, PlayStation.Blog

  • Griffin the Trapper: Pinpoints the monster’s location and keeps it from escaping. Sound Spikes planted in the ground will ping the team when the monster’s movement is detected. Once found, the Harpoon Gun keeps the monster from jetting. The Mobile Arena encases a section of the stage in a colossal dome to keep the action focused and the team together. Griffin’s submachine gun gives him moderate firepower when needed.
  • Markov the Assault: Distributes extreme volumes of damage at a high rate. Markov’s Lightning Gun deals tremendous hurt at a close range, while his Arc Mines provide more tactical punishment around the map. A Personal Shield keeps him safe during particularly close encounters. His Assault Rifle enables him to attack from afar.
  • Val the Medic: The angel of the introductory team, Val heals up the other hunters with a mid-range Medgun. This device can also revive downed teammates from a distance. Val’s Anti-Material Rifle pierces the monster’s armor to expose weak spots, while her Tranquilizer rifle slows and weakens it. She can also pop a Healing Burst for fast healing in a small radius.
  • Hank the Support: Good ol’ Hank! The Support’s Shield Gun is an invaluable asset to the team, protecting a fellow hunter from harm. His Cloaking Device provides temporary invisibility for stealth tactics, and his Laser Cutter deals a bit of damage. For those desperate opportune moments, Hank can call an Orbital Barrage down to obliterate the unfortunate matter waiting below.

Certain abilities are shared across all members of a class. Trappers, for example, will always have the Mobile Arena. But Trappers other than Griffin may bring different tools to round out their kit of four abilities.

Players taking the hunters’ side play from a first-person perspective. The four teammates must track down the monster — ideally, before it evolves — and also deal with any AI-controlled wildlife that gets in their way. These assorted critters provide an additional layer to the team’s strategy. They pose a real danger to the hunters, but elite versions of the wildlife can be killed for perks. But every moment not spent chasing down the monster is another moment for it to evolve.

Evolution is key to winning as the monster, which is played from a third-person perspective. In the test build shown, only one monster was playable: Goliath. This intimidating brute begins with two player-selected abilities, and gains another with each level of evolution gained. Goliath is relatively vulnerable when each match begins, but once maxed out at level three, he becomes a terrifying threat to the hunters. For monster players, careful navigation and battle management are required.


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Goliath evolves by consuming wildlife in the area. Once satiated, it can enter a cocoon state to finalize its growth. Evolving also enables Goliath to reclaim some of its lost health, while devouring wildlife adds to an additional armor meter that supplements its health gauge. And those elite creatures mentioned earlier? The monster can ingest them for stat-boosting perks, too.

It might seem as if the hunters have the advantage in this competition. They’re four strong and armed to the teeth. But Goliath has his own abilities to employ, such as a devastating rock throw and a fiery breath attack. More importantly, Goliath can stealth through shrubs, climb sheer cliff faces, and “smell” the hunters from a distance (through objects). The big baddie is also startlingly fast. If it can catch a hunter straggling behind, it’s one step closer to victory. Dropping all four hunters will result in a monster win.

Evolve blends a number of multiplayer game elements together into something wickedly unique. It has both cooperative and competitive components. It has MOBA-like ability management and character growth. It has insane action set pieces. This unusual cocktail of play types has a refreshing taste that promises to bring new life and new strategy to multiplayer shooters.

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3 Author Replies

  • Really liking these hand on articles ;)

  • Looked fun until that least screenshot… another game potentially ruined by forcing people into first person.

    If the creator of the game’s reading, give me third person regardless of who I am playing and you’ll have my interest. Without it, you’ve lost me. Sorry. Doesn’t matter how good your design is, if you force me into the perspective that breaks my connection to the game, I won’t enjoy it.

    • Good feedback. For what it’s worth, I’m not a huge FPS fan myself, but it felt very natural in Evolve — it really made going third-person when playing as the monster feel that much more like its own experience.

  • It seems to be a fun game.

  • (Just to clarify, I want the CHOICE to be third person, I don’t want to get rid of first person from those who like it, I just don’t want to be forced into it since it completely breaks my connection to the game)

  • Day one buy :D

  • damn ~ when is this coming out?!
    and when we can get a monster hunter on PS4 ?!

  • Who sings that version of ‘Mother’, it sounded great? The game looks like one to keep an eye on.

  • You have my interest. the game itself sound awesome. if you pull it off, it will be truly epic. IF you pull it off. Good luck and I look forward to seeing more. cant wait.

  • The fact that you guys created Left 4 Dead, that alone sparked my interest. But after reading the Game Informer article and now this, I can’t help but be excited. This might be a Day 1 buy for me.

  • i wannna play this game

  • Looks pretty cool!

  • fact: this game will be 10 times better on pc just like left for dead was awesome on pc but sucked for consoles just saying…

  • hey when are you guys going to shipping out more ps4 camera they are impossible to find and when is the US getting the Sony dualshock 4 charging station


    (game still looks super cool, though. just sucks that i’ll have to play a dude in yet another fps.)

  • @kuzuremasu , please read the article better before comenting. These are the initial four Hunters for the early build. The final game will have different Hunters in each class, with different perks and abilities, so there´s bound to be a male medic, and some female trapper, support and assault characthers.

    @Seluhir I believe third person would make it easier to spot the monster, because this is a wide area, and third person would even give you some sight to what´s behind your character. I think the hunters need to be FP in order to create that thrill of having a limited sight range, and forcing teamwork like spreading around or in a circle formation to have a bigger angle of view. It even impedes some of your vertical view and forces you to actively look up in cearch of the monster, because he can climb on trees and strike from above.

  • @sehluhir i agree with @ffnuno being third person would give the hunters a greater advantage and would either unbalance the game or make it to where if your not playing third person mode your more likely to die which is unfair for FP enthusiest, the hunter part is basically a FPS so if your not into that dont play, or just play the beast, simple

  • I’m disappointed with the prerendered trailer. Companies should know better after the Dead Island fiasco. Why spend all that money to misrepresent the game? I wish nothing but the best for the devs, but trailers like this need to die a dignified death; this isn’t 1996 anymore.

  • Say what Turtle Rock developers have found a way to put a unique spin on multiplayer. I am more than interested this will be a game for me to buy for sure. I like what I have been reading about this game & the anticipation is at it’s peak for this game. Finally new life to the same old tried & true formula of multiplayer, originality at it’s best folks!!!!!!!!!!

  • This seems quite intriguing. One question on this due to the high specificity of the group. If each group MUST have four players (fifth with monster) and all classes need to be represented, how are the choices decided? I’d personally like to be the monster all the time. Is it randomly assigned and it pulls you into a group and puts you where you’re needed? Or do you select a class and then it finds a group that needs “___” type of player? Basically, what I’m getting at is, if everyone wants to be the monster (or trapper or whatever ends up being popular), how does the game ensure that there’s four other players ready to go?

  • As long as I have the ability to meet random people online to play with it looks cool. GOW for PS4? Loved the GOW series for Xbox (except Judgement Day) so don’t really care if this is some kind of copycat as long as it’s fun and works. We will be looking for more info on game before I decide to commit.

  • So Deadshot, Sir Hammerlock, Nova Terra and a roadie for Motorhead walk into a bar…….

  • Danzig version please :)

  • @jasoncourt

    “The trailer also features a cover of Danzig’s “Mother” by Lissie which will be released to the wild on Feb. 18.”


  • if they release a ps3 version then i’m on it! FPS is good must have a view option for all types of players FPS TPS or whatever… then add like a sword like metal gear revengeance rising

  • Danzig sucks, this version is much better.

    Also, this game is looking awesome!

  • You showin this to us to early! It looks finished and I want to play it now!

  • Just saw some gameplay on gamespot.com it looks really good and fun to play with friends. Griffen looks badass by the way. Day 1 Purchase

  • This game is one to truly be excited for (just like almost every other)!

  • i seriously cant wait for this and infamous great year to be a gamer

  • This looks good too. I’d like to make my PS4 primary system. As of now and the foreseeable future, it is my PS3; due to the large catalog and superior plus titles.

  • Glad to see more games starting to show for the PS4.

  • This game is gonna be a riot. Can’t wait.

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