Daily Egyptian

Survival of the unfittest

By Austin Miller, @AMiller_DE

Competitive multiplayer games have gotten bogged down by cookie-cutter shooters like “Call of Duty” and “Battlefield.” Every player just wants to jump in the game, kill as many people as possible, not die, then brag to their friends about how good they are.

It is time for these games to evolve.

Now there is a game focused on doing so, and it is accurately titled.

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“Evolve” is a new, asymmetrical multiplayer game pitting a squad of hunters against a giant monster.

Hunters come in four specific roles; assault, trappers, support and medics. Assault characters hurt the monster. They have the big guns and grenades to end the beast’s destruction.

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Trappers track down the beast and contain it in a dome. Hunters can do maximum damage if the animal cannot flee.

Support characters serve as a combination of assault and trappers, having powerful weapons and tracking tools.

Medics heal other players as they are hurt in combat. One player is the monster.

At the game’s core, it is essentially just hide and seek. The monster is very weak in the beginning, having only one or two special abilities. It has to scour the environment for other animals and eat them. As its belly is filled, it grows and, wait for it, evolves. It all makes sense now. 

After the animal evolves twice, it is a brute force killing machine. The roles of the game change, making the hunters, you guessed it, the hunted.

This dynamic is fresh and fun when done right, but most matches do not go as planned.

“Evolve” is meant to be played with friends and other people of the world. There are single player modes, but those are just lonely and sad. At least playing online gives you the chance to talk to teammates, even if they are worse than the computer-controlled bots of single player.

Many gamers have a lone wolf mentality after years of only trying to kill the opposing team and brag about their kill/death ratio. But “Evolve” requires teamwork, something the darn kids of today do not know about. 

Being a lone wolf in this game only leaves players vulnerable to other natives of the world. Crossing into a pond can wake up a giant snapping turtle. One wrong jump can land you in a carnivorous plant, and you are dead before the game even starts. No one wants their obituary to say they were killed by a plant or a turtle; that is just embarrassing.

For some odd reason, the medic wants to play Christopher Columbus and explore the map. He or she ends up getting killed, so then the rest of the team has to fight the monster with no chance of getting healed. Scenarios like this happen too often for it to seem like they are just dumb outliers.

It is like buying a new Camaro; it’s lightning fast and purrs like a kitten. But if one tire is flat, the mirrors are broken and the brakes were killed by a group of alien ostriches because it saw something cool in the distance. The car just falls apart.

Having to rely on random jabronies is a bold demand for a game, and it does not work out most of the time. This is a game better played with five friends.

My other gripe with this game is the progression system.

After each match, players will rank up whatever class they just played with. This leads to better characters, weapons and abilities. But this game takes forever to level up.

This is a tried and true tool of video games. You dangle a carrot in front of them so they keep playing, giving players a tangible reward for their time spent.

“Oh, I’m only 500 points away from unlocking this new gun, I can play a few more matches.”

But “Evolve” drags that process out, and actually makes you an inefficient player.

The first trapper character is a woman named Maggie, who has a weird little alien-like bloodhound that tracks the monster. But in order to rank up, players have to follow the ugly dog for specific distances.

Players end up following where the leviathan was, instead of where it is going. Then, the player is separated from the rest of the group when the beast is found, and they are unable to trap it.

You end up grinding time on characters and weapons that are no fun. You can faintly see the carrot in the distance, but it is 20 miles away, so there is no point in trying.

“Evolve” is something new, in a genre of games that needed a little fresh air. But it found a way to take the concepts perfected by the old and make them worse.

Darwin would be disappointed.  

3 stars out of 5

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