Why Single-Player Gamers Should Consider Evolve
Evolve's 4v1 multiplayer is a concept that's resonated with gamers through successful public alpha and beta periods prior to its release on February 10. The game's multiplayer credentials, however, have not been created at the expense of those who want to play it solo. Evolve has effectively little design difference between single- and multiplayer, as well as gameplay and structural details that single-player fans should be comfortable with even while in multiplayer. If you weren't going to play Evolve because you thought it was aimed solely at multiplayer fans, you should reconsider.
Evolve features solo, offline play, although it's not a standalone experience like a story-based Call of Duty mode, for example. Then again, it's not a throwaway experience by any means, either. Solo gamers can play through all the game's modes and still get the core experience thanks to character swapping via the d-Pad (with the A.I. taking control of the other hunters and monster). This includes the multi-stage Evacuation mode where you play through five matches with the winning side of each match carrying an advantage into the next one on a new map. Evacuation culminates in a Defend mode match where the hunters must defend generators in order to escape. Although Evacuation isn't a story mode per se, single-player fans should enjoy it as a respite from the normal match-after-match grind or even your standard mode playlist.
While switching between hunters when playing by yourself is certainly a solo experience, you can also get the same while playing multiplayer by choosing to play as the monster. Without teammates (real or A.I.) to coordinate with, your task is to eat indigenous animals to evolve into bigger and badder stages and, depending on the game mode, destroy the map's generators, kill hunters, defend your eggs, or kill colonists. If you don't like playing multiplayer because you don't like hassling with other idiots online, playing as the monster and crushing others could be downright cathartic. You can also restrict your play sessions to just your friends since the game can fill out the empty player slots with A.I. bots.
Traditionally single-player gamers should also appreciate Evolve's dual progression systems. Unlocking the different hunters and monsters as you advance confers new load-outs, abilities, and play styles above the normal differentiation amongst the hunter classes. Meanwhile, perks are larger-scale rewards for your accomplishments. These incentives add additional meaning to your average multiplayer match and help you build an identity even though you may be switching hunter classes and playing as new characters. Solo-loving gamers can also unlock the hunters/monsters by themselves and then transfer all their progress seamlessly into multiplayer.
Whether you play alone simply as practice before you take things online, or you eschew the company of others, Evolve developer Turtle Rock has wisely crafted a game that has its heart in the multiplayer experience without excluding those who prefer not to play that way. While it remains to be seen how the bots handle themselves, it's by no means out-of-the-question that they can at least be competent. As a gamer who normally doesn't play with others, Evolve has given me another reason to look forward to its release.