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Editor Roundtable: Going Head-To-Head In Evolve
by Jeff Marchiafava on Jun 13, 2014 at 11:00 AM
Platform PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher 2K Games
Developer Turtle Rock Studios
Rating Mature

Evolve's asymmetrical multiplayer has been piquing the interest of gamers ever since our February cover reveal. Our previous hands-on time with the game focused on The Goliath, a brawler-type monster that focuses on melee attacks, along with the first four human hunters. This E3 Turtle Rock introduced us to another four hunters, along with the Cthulhu-esque Kraken, a levitating range-based monster with some powerful electrical attacks. GI editors Jeff Marchiafava, Jeff Cork, and Bryan Vore tried out the new teams and discuss their very different experiences in the game.

Jeff M: So I played as the Kraken, and I had a pretty decent advantage because not only have I had the chance to play the game before, but I also had an awesome developer from Turtle Rock whispering strategies to me over my headset the entire match. Plus, I had no problem being a merciless jerk to you guys...

Jeff C: Having your own personal life coach basically made the whole thing unfair to begin with. That said, I had a great time until our inevitable defeat. I played as the support class, taking on the specific role of Bucket, an android with a detachable head. I was pretty happy with the assignment – Turtle Rock passed out wristbands with our designated roles beforehand – since I enjoy helping my teammates out more than playing a solo commando in multiplayer shooters.

Bryan: I was also in a helper role as the medic. Just after vowing to Cork that I wouldn't let the team down, I immediately walked straight into a man-eating plant. Someone had to run back and shoot me out.

Jeff M: That sucks, though not for me, of course. So what were your guys' special abilities?

Bryan: I was Lazarus and could resurrect dead players (as his name suggests). I also had a Predator-like cloaking ability and could heal myself and others within a certain radius. My guy had a sniper rifle, which I'm generally not the best with, but JeffM's huge monster body was a big enough target that I could shoot from the hip at him.

Jeff M: Oh yeah, I remember Lazarus being a real jerk; he's not as tough as some of the other characters, but he's the only medic who can actually bring someone back from the dead. Usually, if you kill someone, they're gone until the next dropship comes down, so you can stop worrying about them. If Lazarus is on the battlefield, however, you have to keep guarding the corpses of killed hunters, or else he'll resurrect them. The Turtle Rock developer strongly suggested that I try to take you out first. What about your character, Cork?

Jeff C: Bryan's personal cloaking device was cute, but it was nothing compared to Bucket's. With the press of a button, I could essentially turn anyone within range invisible. I also had the ability to drop automated turrets and remove my head and use it as a flying drone. The last ability proved to be my downfall; while my team was chasing after the trapper's pet trapjaw, who was hot on Kraken's scent, I thought I'd scout ahead using my noggin. I puttered around for a while, but it was a waste of time. I didn't find you, Jeff, and I had to spend way too much time catching up to my teammates afterward. In my haste to catch up, I managed to land from a jet-pack boost right into the waiting jaws of a carnivorous plant. Apparently, it has a taste for tin, too.

Jeff M: Well, if it makes you feel any better, those stupid turrets you put out continued to shoot me every time I ran back to that area on the map.

Jeff C: That does make me feel better, actually.

Bryan: Oooh, that's good to know.

Jeff M: So was it difficult tracking the Kraken? Could you see me floating around on the map? You guys managed to sneak up on me a couple of times, and before I knew it I was trapped in the tracker's mobile arena.

Bryan: It felt like we spent a lot of the match running after the trapper's alien dog. JeffM must have been zipping all over the place. It was cool seeing all the weird wildlife along the way. The map seemed huge.

Jeff C: I'm not able to hold them up against one another for confirmation, but the map they showed at E3 seemed a lot bigger than the one we played during our cover trip. The pace was more of a slow burn because of that. I'd be interested to see how Goliath plays on the level, too. Kraken's bluish-black skin seemed to provide natural camouflage in the environment, and I wonder if Goliath's brown, scaly armor would make him stand out more.

Jeff M: The level also seemed to feature more verticality too. Goliath can scale walls and the hunters have jetpacks, so I guess it's not too much of an issue, but the level did seem to favor Kraken's method of traversal. His special abilities were also suited to the level; I could use the Lightning Strike, Banshee Mines, and Vortex from the air, and the Vortex would send enemies flying backwards, which was particularly effective when you guys were hanging out on ledges.

Jeff C: At one point, I had just burned nearly all of my jet fuel bounding up onto a high ledge, and you knocked me right back down. It was not great. Turtle Rock is smart and designed it so that even if you're out of fuel, your jet pack will slowly allow you to ride up a wall's surface. It's tedious though, and dangerous when a fast-moving coworker is firing lightning at you on the way up.

Bryan: When we caught JeffM in the arena trap, we always seemed to be jammed tightly together. This was perfect for his area-of-effect lightning strike and allowed him to blast us back with the vortex ability before we got too many shots in. I felt like I had to stay close to everyone so that I could keep them healed.

Jeff M: I was really happy to see you guys sticking so closely together, because Kraken's ranged attacks aren't nearly as effective when you're spread out on the map, and fighting on the ground with his melee attack is a dangerous proposition.

Jeff C: In retrospect, there are a few things I could have done better. I probably should have waited to use the group cloak when we were in trouble, since we weren't communicating well enough as a team to set up ambushes. That could have given our teammates a chance to scatter away a bit. It took me a while to get used to Bucket's main attack, too. It's a rocket launcher, and its projectiles will home in on the reticle even after they've been fired. They're just slow enough to require a little babysitting up close, which isn't the "fire and forget it" style of RPGs I'm used to in games. Once I got the hang of them, they were great, but I spent entirely too many wasted shots firing into nothing. Also, I fell in that plant and died.

Bryan: I was just going to bring that up. The worst part was we were all stuck in the arena with JeffM so I couldn't just run out and help you. Once the forcefield went down I dashed over to you with our hunter coach yelling at me. I thought you were still in the plant, so I went over to revive you and got eaten by it as well. The dude should have said something about killing that thing before getting close to your body! It was only once I was stuck in there that I could see you were lying next to it. When I finally got out, you died a split second later and had to wait  for like two minutes to get back in the game.

Jeff M: The revive times are long, but the cool thing is that if other players die in the meantime, they come back on the same dropship. It really adds a lot of pressure to the monster; I was constantly checking the clock and trying to track everyone down before the killed hunters got back into the match. Also, don't feel bad about falling for those stupid plants; I did my first match too. It's still pretty embarrassing to get killed by vegetation, though...

Jeff C: I watched teammates walk into those stupid things no fewer than three times before I did, and I thought, "I have been stuck with a bunch of idiots." Whoops.

Jeff M: The wildlife was definitely helping me out and made the match easier. It's pretty intimidating to play on the show floor at E3 though; I'm really eager to see what matches are like when we've got a good grasp on all of the hunters and monsters and their respective abilities, not to mention the layout of the maps. I'm guessing there will be a lot of strategies that emerge. I'm sure I'll also lose a lot more when playing against skilled players online.

Bryan: I think we could have done some real damage if we got to sit down for an hour or so and run through several matches to learn our characters and the map. A lot of it was definitely first-time blunders that I would never do again.

Jeff M: Evolve is really all about the unique abilities that each player has, and figuring out how to use them effectively – both alone and in conjunction with your other teammates. You guys still managed to do quite a bit of damage to me in our final showdown.

Bryan: You really went to town on that generator, which was one of your winning conditions.

Jeff M: Yep. Each map has an alternate objective that the monster can perform if it evolves to level three, which kind of forces both teams into a final showdown.

Bryan: It seemed like if we found you next to it and shot at you, you cut that crap out. Is there an incentive for you to stop right when we're coming after you?

Jeff M: In order to attack the generator, you have to stand directly in front of it and hold the attack button – I couldn't just float around and blast it from a distance. By not being able to move I was a sitting duck, so as soon as you guys caught up I tried to get out of there. Kraken is pretty vulnerable if you can get up close and attack him on the ground, much more so than Goliath.

Jeff C: I could tell we were in serious trouble when you hit your final evolution stage, since we were still chasing after you and there wasn't really any incentive for you to let us catch up to you and fight. I managed to get to the generator before my teammates, and I tossed some turrets around it as they caught up and started making your life at least temporarily miserable. I knew you'd have to deal with them if you wanted to destroy the generator, so...sorry.

Jeff M: They definitely caused me some grief; it was impossible to attack the generator before taking them out, and they took off a good chunk of my shield before I blew them all up. I think the match was actually a lot closer than it may have seemed on your end – as Cork mentioned, I had leveled up to the third and final evolution stage, and almost completely maxed out my shield before taking you on. By the time I killed you guys off, my shields were gone and I was down to half health.

Bryan: We all fell one by one. I was stuck lying on the ground and shot JeffM a bunch with my pistol. It sucked when he finally noticed my peashooter and just murdered me.

Jeff M: Taking you out first was hugely important because of your resurrection ability. As long as you were incapacitated, the other hunters could've still revived you, so killing you off completely was a major turning point in the match.

Jeff C: I was running around with the assault guy while you guys were waiting to come down on the dropship. There were only a few seconds left, and I must have gotten hit by a tentacle or something. The assault guy ignored our coach's repeated pleas to shoot Kraken and deal some damage. A victory is a victory, however, and you and your personal coach deserve all the credit. Great job, guys.

Jeff M: So what did you guys think overall?

Jeff C: I had a great time. I wish we could have played longer, but I lucked out with Bucket. Any character that can drop turrets is fine by me, and I'm looking forward to figuring out how to better use his snap-on/off head.

Bryan: What I liked was that it felt like a co-op game, but it was really competitive. And then we could yell at the boss afterward!

Jeff M: I had been really eager to see another monster in action after our cover story, because I wasn't sure how different a match would play out against a different monster. Kraken didn't disappoint, and seems like a great alternative to Goliath's focus on melee attacks. Also, out of all the Krakens in video games, Evolve's is definitely the coolest.

Evolve comes out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 21. For more on the game, check out our exclusive bonus content by clicking on the banner below.

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