Evolve [official site] is Turtle Rock's monster vs hunters asymmetric multiplayer title. Recently we've been more likely to talk about the game for its pre-order content shenanigans or its free-to-play progress promotion app but this time we're focusing in on how the game actually works. To that end we've tracked down Phil Robb – Turtle Rock's creative director – for a briefing on how each of the characters work. (This is entirely a selfless act and not just a way for Pip to get a tactical advantage over the rest of RPS, by the way.) Here are the fruits of our conversation:
This article focuses on the Hunters. If you're looking for monster tips you'll need our Monster guide which will be up soon.
Assault class guide
"His job is damage - he's the guy who gets up in the monster's face and deals as much damage as he possibly can."
According to Phil, monsters tend to ignore the assault player, knocking them out of the way and focusing on the squishier characters. The idea there is that the monster is hoping to reduce the number of personnel he's dealing with as well as removing characters like the supports and medics which might be buffing or sustaining the assault player.
None of them have a great range on their weapons so being all up in the monster's business is what you want, particularly with Hyde and his flamethrower. You're also trying to distract the monster, tearing his or her attention away from the squishier members of your squad who will then be able to help protect you as you deal damage.
Markov is the first assault character you get to play and is, as you might expect, the most straightforward. His lightning gun locks on to its target so is good for beginners as well as being powerful against quicker monsters like Wraith where you're trying to hit a rapidly moving target. Markov can also lay mines around the map so that skill will improve as your map awareness increases or as you gain experience against particular monsters. Generally you're looking for choke points and places the monster will tend to head when you lay those at first though – mine-laying 101 stuff.
Parnell has a rocket launcher so can do a lot of damage but needs to aim so he's trickier for new player and against more sprightly monsters. He does have super soldier serum on hand, though, which means that dosing up on that then getting a clips-worth of on-target rockets means you'll have dealt a hefty amount of damage to your foe. There's some obvious synergy with characters who can slow the monster – either with grenades or harpoons or tranquilisers – and make it easier to hit.
Hyde sits somewhere between Parnell and Markov. He can dish out damage but needs to be up close. He has that flamethrower so aiming isn't as important, plus he's also equipped with toxic grenades which poison the monster.
Trappers class guide
"The trapper is super important early game because the trapper is the one with the equipment to help find the monster. Once the trapper finds the monster it's their job to hamper their movement in some way."
All trappers have a mobile arena which is a small dome which descends over the monster like a glass cake protector. A stage one monster (that's early game, before the monster has grown stronger and more dangerous) is likely to be running away as it's more vulnerable. If you can pop a dome down on to of it and smack it around early you're going to be giving yourself more of an advantage over the beast.
The first trapper you can access is Maggie. Well, Maggie and Daisy, her alien dog pet. Daisy's ability is that she can sniff out the general direction of the monster if there are tracks or clues in the area. That means you'll be heading in the right direction when you're tracking your opponent. Maggie can also lay harpoon traps to hit and slow the monster. You're allowed five of these on the map at any given time so you'll need to be strategic when placing them. Phil recommends putting them on the rock pillars of maps. Monsters tend to go high, is his reasoning. Plus they're harder to see before you activate them AND they're good for snagging the Kraken who tends to be airborne.
Then there's Griffin who lays a network of sound spikes which, if disturbed by the monster, register on the minimap. Phil recommends using them to divide the map in half so you can get a broad idea of where the monster is, or using them on common pinch points making them hard to avoid. Where Maggie is an active hunter, Griffin is more reactive. He also has a harpoon gun which he can use persistently to slow the monster.
Third is Abe. Abe is bad at finding the monster initially because he doesn't really have anything in his kit for alerting you to its presence. What do does have is a tracking dart pistol. That means once you do find the monster you should be able to keep an eye on where it's headed for long periods of time. You can also dart wildlife in the hope that the monster will eat it and activate the tracker. Abe also has stasis grenades which slow the monster and a shotgun which you can aim for longer in order to give better precision for targets who are further away.
Medics class guide
"Their main job is keeping everyone healthy and in the fight."
All of the medics have a burst heal ability but Val is probably the most straightforwardly medic-y of the characters. Her damage mechanic allows her to shoot an anti-material rifle which gives the monster a weak spot. Others can shoot that weak spot and do damage. She has a dart which tracks and tranquilises the monster so it gets slowed, although the tracking effect is far shorter than Abe's dart. She also has a visible green healing beam which she aims at other hunters to restore health. The bean is a bit of a mixed blessing though – it lets the monster see exactly where Val is and target her. A tip for Val is to ready her dart when the trapper brings down the mini arena. That way the monster is slowed as well as being tracked when it can finally escape.
Lazarus sucks at healing as the only way he has to keep people healthy is that burst heal all Medics have. His name should give away his main strength though. He can bring dead or incapacitated hunters back to life. He has a personal cloak so can go invisible as he sneaks towards bodies but using his resurrection glove pops the cloak so you'll still need to be careful. Smart monsters also know to camp the bodies of Lazarus' teammates as he'll likely turn up to save them. Keep an eye out for monstrous lurkers. His gun works in a similar way to Val's although it creates smaller weak spots instead of one big one – it combines well with projectiles like rocket launchers to do damage.
Caira is more aggressive – an angry doctor. She's got napalm grenades which do damage what they hit and then then continue to burn so there's a damage-over-time component. She's also got an acceleration field which lets your hunters clump up and move a bit faster than the monster for a while. That's useful at the start when you're trying to mitigate the monster's headstart as well as when trying to catch up or to escape. She also has healing grenades which mean she can also throw them at the floor by her feet and apply them to herself.
Support class guide
"It's the Swiss army knife of the group. Their abilities vary but their gen theme is one of helping the team"
Every support has a cloaking field ability – like Lazarus's but you can apply it to others. Hank is also equipped with a laser cutter which is a big rapid-fire laser gun. He has a shield gun which is kind of like Val's heal except it cloaks the recipient instead of healing. It won't run out til it has taken a certain amount of damage so you can use it to get someone like Hyde up close to the monster and keep him shielded a little from the inevitable attacks. Hank also has an orbital barrage which is a kind of air strike. It's hard to hit with but if you sneak up on the monster and use it to get the first hit you can do a heap of damage. Other cool tricks are possible with this too. It won't injure hunters, only throw them about a bit so you can aim it at yourself if a monster is in pursuit. Phil says he actually saw someone win the game that way in the beta phase.
Bucket is a robot with a laser-guided rocket launcher, He also has sentry drones which you can place around the map or save up and use in the mini arena. Phil and I were pondering placement and one idea we were kicking around was placing the sentries nearish to Griffin's sound spikes. That way if a monster is sneaking so as to avoid the spikes it won't be able to dodge the sentries and would either need to reveal himself or take damage. He also has a UAV capability which involves piloting a drone which pops off Bucket's body. Obviously you'd need to put the body in a safe place while doing this or task another hunter with guarding you, but you can use the UAV to scout out the monster and – if you keep it in your crosshairs long enough – you can track it. It's easier to do that in the mini arena as the monster can't roam and dodge nearly as much.
Lastly there's Cabot. Cabot's great for helping the team find the monster. He has this cloud of radioactive dust he can call down which reveals all wildlife including the monster for 15 seconds. It's great if you have a general idea where the monster might be but no specific intel. His own damage mostly comes from his rail gun which can actually shoot through walls. He also has a damage amplifier which applies a debuff to the monster doubling the amount of damage it takes from hits.
Phil finishes with an example combo:
Hyde, Abe and Bucket on same team gives you Hyde's toxic grenades, Bucket's sentries, Abe's stasis grenades – "You'd have a slow monster choking on poison and getting shot by robots and – if Val was on the team – getting tranqed. That's pure monster hell!"