By introducing an enemy that’s more powerful than the individual hunters the game forces players to interact

PC, Xbox One, PS4 (£54.99)

Evolve is a team-based shoot-em-up where every match feels like a boss fight, except one player can play as the boss. Players take the role of one of four operatives: Assault, Trapper, Support or Medic as they fight across the alien planet Shear in an attempt to subdue the enemy monster.

Those playing as the monster can feed on prey, bumping up their health and armour stats as well as filling an evolution bar that results in the game’s titular mechanic - there are two stages of evolution after beginning a match, and each one offers stat points to deposit in skills. Meanwhile players tasked with hunting the monster can unlock abilities and further characters. Sadly only three playable monsters (Goliath, Kraken and Wraith) are available at launch, with more coming at a premium price.

 

There’s no doubt that this is a game people should be experiencing. Not only is it a refreshing antidote to the Call of Duty/Battlefield yearly excretion, it also stands up on its own, with a surprising about of complexity beneath its monster-hunting veneer. It’s a game that takes the positives from a multiplayer shoot-a-thon (upgradeable skills, points accrued by how much damage you do) and splices them with a co-operative attempt to tackle a walking, evolving monstrosity. The fact that players can also play the monster is a huge boon.

Evolve’s secret is that it’s good at making you actually play together. By introducing an enemy that’s more powerful than the individual hunters the game forces players to interact. After all, that’s the whole basis behind a class-system in a multiplayer game. Assault deals the damage. Support buffs. Medics heal. Trappers, er, trap the monster, slowing them down with harpoon leashes. You are part of a team - you have to sniff out where the monster is, taking cues from the environment such as scattering birds. You have to make sure you get to the monster before it has evolved into a tougher beast, using your jetpacks to whizz up above the battlefield. You have to all stick together because united you have a chance, alone you are just another carcass to add to the monster’s ever increasing belly.

The game, necessarily, is about evolving, too. You unlock new hunters and monsters by excelling at the lower-tiered characters, opening up novel playstyles. The Wraith monster can disappear, hiding from hunters. The Lovecraftian Kraken can hover using bio-electric wings. The moment you forget you are in a team and attempt to take down the monster on your own is the moment you will be gone, your head disappearing into a Kraken’s tentacled mouth. My first tip when playing as the monster? Aim for Support and Medic first.

Evolve isn’t perfect. The graphics aren’t the definition of Next-Gen that we’re still all hoping for. Occasionally in multiplayer things can become sluggish - these moments, however, are rare, and might be due to my internet connection. 2K have already caused a controversy with their plans surrounding a convoluted system of DLC. But it’s a strong game, a worthy multiplayer title for new machines, with plenty of variety to last at least a few months.

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