Egold: Evolve. Also, PC Beta For L4D / Binfinite Owners

*chomp*

A game going gold isn’t particularly big news in this age of early access, unless you’re someone who worked on it, or you’re one of those not-at-all-fatiguing people who just have to start singing Spandau Ballet whenever a certain precious metal is mentioned, but I keep meaning to say something about Evolve. Here’s an excuse to: Evolve, the 4v1 team shooter from original Left 4 Dead creators Turtle Rock, is gold. I’m not exactly a frequent flier to multiplayer land, but brief dabbling with Evolve’s alpha late last year got me all excited.

I played as the monster, because he’s a metaphor for how powerful, intimidating and impressive I am despite being almost never venturing into society, and I found it to be frankly thrilling. I think it’s because it’s in a sweet spot between vulnerability and power. You’re the biggest fish in the pond, but that also makes you a target, standing out in a way your average multiplayer participant simply does not. As a match wears on – presuming you’ve not done something very silly – you become even more powerful, which adds this extra frissance: you’re not trying to survive just to survive, but so that you can become big’n’ugly enough to take the fight back to the bastard humans who keep trying to kill you. Playing as the monster made my heart pound, and that’s not something the wizened husk inside my chest does all that often these days.

Of course, this is going on just a few matches played with just one of the eventually-available monster types (this one being a sort of mini-Godzilla). I can’t begin to say whether the same glorious tension can be maintained across long-term play and with a wide roster of creature types. I hope so. I’m going to find out for myself, at any rate. And no, I’m not interested in playing as a stupid human. I know there’re all these class-based special abilities in there, but guns is guns: I want to be something unusual. Leave it to others to be my prey/oppressors.

Back to the news: Evolve is gold, which means it’s set to meet its planned February 10th release date. There’s an open beta for people who own the green console next week, while somne of us PC types get a ‘closed technical test’ starting January 18th. This will be open to anyone who was in the Evolve alpha, or who owns either/both of Left 4 Dead or BioShock Infinite on Steam. Which is quite a lot of people, really. Apparently, in contrast the Xbone beta, this test is “limited in scope and will not include Evacuation or have Hunter and Monster unlocks carry over to Evolve’s launch.” Oh. Oh well. Might have a few more words for you about the game about then though, all being well.

Finally, here’s Evolve’s intro video:

Monster.

17 Comments

  1. Everlast says:

    I played the alpha as well and also came away excited. Can’t wait to get the final build!

  2. deanimate says:

    PC Technical Test starts January 16th
    link to evolvegame.com

    Hopefully it ends the same time as the xbox one beta which is the 19th
    If you didn’t play the in the alpha then give the beta a go if you can. This game is brilliant fun

  3. Hex says:

    I really appreciate that Cigar Man’s first impulse upon recovering from a boulder to the face is to take a long, soothing drag from his stogie.

    Also, I find myself rooting for the monster instead of all of the ass-holey looking hunters.

    Ass-holes.

    Oh, and are there any classes that don’t come with jet-packs?

    • welverin says:

      Unpossible, jetpacks are the new ‘thing!’

      • Hex says:

        Can I at least have a jet-pack made of zombies?

        • Jalan says:

          Only if little Timmy can get that zombie made out of jet packs he’s been harping on about.

  4. Lim-Dul says:

    I played the Evolve Alpha on Steam and found it extremely dull and unappealing. :-

    I was immensely hyped for the game since I long sought something that could re-ignite the spark of L4D/L4D2 PvP but boy was I disappointed (and so was the rest of my old L4D/L4D2 crew).
    I see what the devs were going for – a re-imagining of the tank fights in L4D but more advanced and stretched throughout a whole round. Since hey, they were the most intense moments back in the day. And yes, it would have been awesome IF they had pulled it off, but they didn’t.

    Let’s get the minor stuff out of the way.

    The controls feel very floaty, sluggish and unresponsive – like a direct port of the control settings from consoles to the PC. When doing such things it’s not enough to map the controller axes and buttons to keyboard and mouse, some other parameters have to be adjusted as well. Otherwise you have phenomena like the WASD keys seeming to have a “dead zone” like a stick.

    Anyways, this was the more minor issue. The main problem was that there was very little incentive for the Hunters to, well, hunt the monster and even the ones that there were felt very game-y. It appears as if the devs went for a far too safe route of trying to give both sides “the maximum fun possible” and reducing failure states thus making the game not fun at all for everyone.

    Before the final showdown all you can usually do as a hunter is weaken the monster. No way to end the match early unless the monster player is an utter pillock. Thus, what happens is that there are all those arbitrary short engagements in small arenas in which the monster escapes after a while and everybody is left standing with the question “Did we actually accomplish something here?”
    This is compounded by the fact that the Hunters have pretty much unlimited resources (TF2-style healing and shields and ammo generation, L4D-style revives), so you pretty much cannot achieve anything as the creature unless you somehow kill all 4 hunters BEFORE reaching your final form and for that the Hunter players would have to be totally inept.

    Don’t get me wrong, the show-downs for the final objective were quite fun but this was THE ONLY part of a 15-30 minute match that was. What happened late in the Alpha after everybody figured this fact out was that the hunters just rushed to showdown site and let the monster roam and power up freely. Yes, this would result in an immensely strong creature and make the final encounter more difficult but was still more fun than repeatedly chasing the 5th player through those mini-encounters.

    I don’t see how Turtle Rock are planning to fix this issue because if players choose to ignore 90% of the gameplay features you have crafted for them then there’s something wrong at the core of your game’s design.

    • Asurmen says:

      I didn’t see any of those occurring or don’t see them as issues. Controls felt perfectly responsive. You have to hunt the Monster and get it taking health damage otherwise you will not win the level 3 encounter. I never saw a single game where the Hunters just gave up and let the Monster level up.

    • MrUnimport says:

      I found that the game got more fun as players learned the game mechanics. Both hunters and monsters IIRC can take permanent health damage across the course of the game. It’s to the monster’s benefit to score early takedowns and kills, which will mean the hunters are squishier for the final confrontation, and likewise the hunters are incentivized to inflict non-regenerating damage to the monster ahead of time.

      Worth noting that an AI Goliath was a true terror and that it was handing us our heads until we were delivered at the last second by a player joining as the monster. All of a sudden its movements became sluggish and its judgment compromised. Battered and broken, we won.

    • ironhorse says:

      THANK GOD someone else sees this design flaw.
      Users who haven’t seen it have been playing with uneven or unskilled teams.

      The game is just FAR too forgiving, plain and simple. It makes it a grind fest, brain dead, and repetitive. Nevermind removing hunting altogether by letting the AI dog do it..

      Let’s take just one mechanic for an example : Killing just one human.

      Sounds easy as a monster, right? Not exactly.
      While you are wailing away attacks on him, he is being healed by another while his armor is also being restored by another player, taking 20 seconds just to get his health low enough that he engages his own personal shields (that don’t require teamplay and that everyone has?) that keep him alive for another 15 seconds. But ok.. So you got him down now, BUT WAIT, you have to “finish him off” still while he is getting healed! If you decide to focus on another human or run, well they can revive him in THREE EFFING SECONDS undoing all that grinding you worked on. But what if you didnt, what if you stuck with it and at your own peril and loss of life you eventually do kill him? …. He just spawns back into the world 40 seconds later anyways…

      SIGH.

      I sincerely hope they allow modding so we can create a real PvP 4v1 skillful game that isn’t a MOBA inspired, unlock incentive, grind fest of a console game.

      • Asurmen says:

        Erm, sorry but this is all wrong. I find it funny you say people who didn’t notice this are playing unskilled people, but then say the dog removes hunting. No it doesn’t. Any team that blindly follows the dog WILL lose against any Monster with a brain.

        Killing one Hunter is easy. While you wailing on one Hunter, you can, you know, switch to another target? Reaction times included they’ve just burnt their resources on maintaining one Hunter while you then switch to your real target. Or you maneouver them into a position where your AoE prevents the support classes from keeping everyone alive. If you let them get someone back up it’s your own fault for not paying attention. Nothing grindy about that. In fact the only aspect that’s ‘grindy’ is the unlocks, and it doesn’t take very long at all. You could easily unlock all the classes during the beta.

        You do realise that if you repeatedly knock someone down they go into the spawn queue even if you don’t finish them off and have decreased health as well?

        • ironhorse says:

          Did you ever time how long it took to accomplish that?

          Because I did, and it took about 30 seconds on average to FULLY kill a human that was getting support from the others and that used his personal shields. And then they spawn back in later anyways, negating any advantage you might have had later in the round (yes i know they come back with less maxed out HP, but it’s a negligible amount and that player’s contributions are still highly impactful after your health was sacrificed to down him)

          How is that NOT grinding and overly-forgiving gameplay??
          Go play CS (or any fps for that matter) and attack an enemy without missing and time how long it takes.
          I would have preferred fast skilled movement, counters and fu mechanics alongside quick deaths, impactful, meaningful gameplay – over whatever this mess is now.

          I understand chipping or hit and run tactics, but they just again have zero impact against humans who regenerate both armor and health and have unlimited ammo.
          You suggesting to lay off the human I initially attacked just results in them being fully healed while I go risk even more HP loss by extending my exposure time attacking the human who *temporarily* doesn’t have ammunition for ONE of his weapons due to a short cooldown?? Are you kidding me?
          Same goes for the AI dog comment.. I wasn’t saying good players blindly follow the dog – she only works in a straight path anyways – but it at least removes any actual “hunting” the game could have employed, by directing humans to a quadrant of the map where they SHOULD split up to cover the very limited paths of escape and then trap / slow the monster inevitably.

          No offense, but suggestions and comments like those are what solidify my opinion I gave in my opening comment regarding most players who seem to have played against unorganized, imbalanced, or unskilled teams. Oddly enough, when everyone is adept at the game and evenly matched, is when the design seems to fall apart into a repetitive grind instead of what it should be: skilled, tactical and punishing gameplay. It’s actually a good thing for the devs that matchmaking was broken during said Alpha..

          • Asurmen says:

            I’ll post a full reply in time but this just comes across as you being not very good at the game.

    • liq3 says:

      I disagree with you on everything.

      The controls were fine for me.

      “The main problem was that there was very little incentive for the Hunters to, well, hunt the monster”.
      The Hunters have every incentive to hunt the monster. It’s literally how they win the game. They also have every incentive to do it as quickly as possible, since the slower they are, the stronger the monster gets. How difficult the match will be for the monster revolves entirely around how fast the hunters hunt him.

      “Before the final showdown all you can usually do as a hunter is weaken the monster.”
      Yes, that’s good game design. It would be boring if it was easy for the hunters to kill the monster. Regardless, I’ve killed a bunch of monsters VERY quickly – under 5 minutes. If the Monster fails to move fast it gets destroyed by skilled Hunters. Weakening the monster is great though. The less hp it has, the harder it is for it to fight. If it reaches stage 3 with 1/3rd health, there’s a real good chance it can’t win anymore vs skilled Hunters.

      I played one game as Goliath where I reached stage 3 fairly easily, and tried to fight them at power gen. lost 1/3rd hp, couldn’t kill them, so I backed off to get my armour up. They just waited at the power gen. So I tried again. Lost another 1/3rd hp, couldn’t kill them again, so backed off for armour again. Tried one last time (this time with only 1/3rd hp left), and just lost to them. They played extremely well.

      “so you pretty much cannot achieve anything as the creature unless you somehow kill all 4 hunters BEFORE reaching your final form”
      Actually, every time you KO a hunter he permanently loses some max HP and gets a “strike”. If he has 2 strikes, he dies instead of being KO’d. If you KO the hunters several times before stage 3, they’re INCREDIBLY easy to kill in the final showdown, since you can kill one or two of them almost immediately (they die instead of getting KO’d).

      “Don’t get me wrong, the show-downs for the final objective were quite fun but this was THE ONLY part of a 15-30 minute match that was. What happened late in the Alpha after everybody figured this fact out was that the hunters just rushed to showdown site and let the monster roam and power up freely.”
      I’m sorry you had bad Hunter teams or just didn’t play Trapper. This isn’t how my games went at all. I played Trapper mostly because I didn’t trust anyone else to play it. Let me tell you, if my team wasn’t super slow, I was a living hell for the monster. If they were slow they died in under 5 minutes in one or two domes. If they were fast, they couldn’t get much of a break to eat food, since stopping would constantly risk getting domed. The good ones would get their health whittled away so they had extreme trouble in stage 2 and 3. Of course, this depended on having good teammates. Bad ones would move around slowly, get caught up with wildlife or even go the wrong direction. Still, I found the chase extremely enjoyable. Some of the most fun gameplay in years.

      I recorded two videos of me catching and killing the Kraken very quickly. Take a look. link to youtube.com
      link to youtube.com

      I don’t consider any of these problems, I really hope they don’t change much of anything.

    • Sian says:

      “The controls feel very floaty, sluggish and unresponsive – like a direct port of the control settings from consoles to the PC. When doing such things it’s not enough to map the controller axes and buttons to keyboard and mouse, some other parameters have to be adjusted as well. Otherwise you have phenomena like the WASD keys seeming to have a “dead zone” like a stick”

      That doesn’t sound very logical. After all, the software only ready what state the stick or key is in at the time and then executes the command on that basis. A key being pressed is a digital signal that says that the axis is at its full tilt – the software doesn’t then gradually shift movement speed up to full tilt.

      • Lim-Dul says:

        The movement system is at fault. Both the hunters and the creature have quite a bit of turn speed to them instead of instantly switching directions. One could argue that this adds to the realism of leaning into a turn but actually this system is clearly designed for the console-y type of FPSes.

  5. Tinotoin says:

    Spice Girls, Xmas number one. Monster, monster.