The lights are on
PAX is typically an arms race for the best booth design. Ubisoft usually puts up a good fight, and Riot always draws a crowd with their huge League of Legends stage. 2K Games is a consistent frontrunner that clinched a victory this year thanks to the towering visage of Goliath, the monster from Turtle Rock's Evolve.As you might recall from our coverage of Evolve (featured on the cover of our February 2014 issue), Evolve plays out as one large boss fight. Instead of four players taking on a flood of zombies controlled by an AI director, like in the studio's breakout hit Left 4 Dead, a fifth player steps into the gigantic feet of the monster.You might think that something as large as the Goliath, the first Evolve monster revealed, would make short work of four small humans. Turtle Rock has done a fantastic job balancing the game though, and I'm sad to say that my life as a hulking beast was cut short by the abilities and teamwork of my foes.Since we last previewed Evolve, Turtle Rock has tweaked the way the monster's skills are assigned. Goliath has four abilities: rock throw, fire breath, leap smash, and dash. At the start, I was given three points to assign as I wanted. I could also choose a passive stat like increased damage or defense. It feels a bit like a MOBA, but despite my best judgment, I didn't use guidance from my League of Legends play.
I put one point in dash (in order to give me a way to escape) and two points in fire breath. The latter allowed me to quickly take down wildlife to feed. Consuming meat is the only way to build up your meter and "stage up" to earn more skill points and become more powerful.This is very different from how the game worked when we played it for our cover story. At that time, there weren't tiers of the abilities. Instead, Goliath started with two powers and earned the third and forth when staging up.As Goliath, I was given a short time to run before the hunters dropped on my start location. Unfortunately, they were also able to see my footprints, and as I was getting used to climbing (done by holding a button similar to Assassin's Creed's free-run) and learning the landscape, I made the mistake of staying on the ground too much.I was found quickly, but managed to get away and feast a bit more. I did a little damage to my pursuers, but that was rapidly undone by the medic's healing beam.Once I had eaten enough, I leveled up and became more powerful. Now it was a fight.
I managed to knock out two of my foes, despite the trapper's harpoon limiting my mobility. I tried to get away, but a well timed cage kept me in an enclosed area. It didn't matter. I was swiping, throwing rocks, and leap smashing, whittling the remaining hunters down. A giant swamp beast helped by snapping at them, and it looked like I was going to win the day. Unfortunately, the timer wound down and reinforcements dropped in from above. It went bad for me fast.I managed to knock out another hunter, but as I was trying to finish him off, another player revived him from the "down but not out" state. Focusing on the trapper and the medic seems like the best bet to limit your opponents' options, make damage stick, and ensure you can make a retreat if necessary.Support and assault can lay the hurt on you, but if you cut off their ability to restrict your movement and heal up, you've got some flexibility before the next dropship arrives. That will either give you the chance to lick your wounds (and stage up) or finish the job if you've got the health to outlast your foes.I had a fantastic time playing, and I'm very much looking forward to diving in headfirst when Evolve is released this fall on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. For more on Turtle Rock's 4-vs-1 title, be sure to visit our coverage hub.
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