Turtle Rock knows a thing or two about co-op shooters; after all, this is the studio that brought us the Left 4 Dead franchise in the previous generation. It seems that the zombie-infested cooperative shooter was only the beginning for Turtle Rock, and the studio is now ready to move on to the next big thing – Evolve.

Evolve, just like the name suggests, feels like the next evolutionary stage for the cooperative shooter genre. It features both cooperative and competitive gameplay in the same mode (the only one revealed so far) in what the dev team calls “asymmetric 4v1 gameplay”. More importantly, it features one giant monsters and four heavily armed (but still very squishy) hunters – all controlled by human players.


Unlike the hectic nature of the Left 4 Dead games, Evolve is a much more calculated experience – on both sides of the hunt. The monster may be big, but it is still vulnerable if cornered, especially in the early stages of the round. The hunters, on the other hand, are at their full strength right from the start, but can be easily killed by the monster or the local wildlife it they fall behind the group. Thinking ahead and planning for the next encounter is just as important as having quick reflexes and a steady finger on the trigger.

When we entered 2K Games’ booth at E3 2014 to play Evolve for the first time, we were treated to a short video tutorial that covered everything you just read. We were than assigned specific roles to play during the hands-on demo that followed. I was assigned the role of Bucket, a support class hunter, while GamersPack’s Avi Kaisermann took the role of the monster.

As a hunter, Evolve is a thrilling chase full of adrenaline. Even when the monster is out of sight, you’re busy maneuvering the world (with a jetpack), tracking it down and fending off hostile wildlife. Joining me as Bucket was a group of recently revealed hunters: Hyde, Maggie and Lazarus. Since Maggie was our Trapper, we also enjoyed the company of her pet trapjaw Daisy. Daisy could track down the monster easily and made sure we were constantly on its trailer. With that covered, our team of hunters charged forward gaining on the monster and whittling at its health from afar whenever we could.


When we caught up with the monster, the real action began. Trapper Maggie brought down her big energy dome to contain the monster, and Hyde charged head first to deal some damage. Since Bucket is a more offensive character then most other support characters, I joined Hyde in his charge, but not before deploying some turrets for backup. It turned out to have been a smart choice since unlike Hyde, Bucket does not have a personal shield that protects him for damage and I went down rather quickly. My turret drones, however, kept firing even while I was incapacitated, forcing the monster to retreat from my broken body.

Luckily for me, Lazarus was on the scene. While most medic specialize in healing and health boosts, Lazarus can bring hunters back from the dead. Which he did. Repeatedly.

The dome eventually came down and the monster got away. The hunt continues.


As the monster, being trapped in such an early stage of the round can be fatal. The game is called Evolve for a reason – the monster needs time to feed and grow strong before it can take on the hunters. After gurging itself on the local fauna, the monster can evolve to its next stage. If it ever reaches stage 3, then the match it pretty much over for the hunters.

The monster that was shown at E3 was the Kraken. Unlike the Goliath we saw in previous videos, that is more of a brutal melee fighter, the Kraken is at its best from long range. It can levitate and throw energy balls that track the hunters or unleash on big lightning bolt at one of them. When the hunters do manage to get close, the Kraken has a special attack that pushes everything away, allowing him some breathing room.

As the match when on, the Kraken proved exceptionally good at keeping its distance, effectively neutralizing the assault hunter and his closed-range flamethrower. After a few more failed attempts at pinning down the monster, a terrifying message flashed on-screen. The monster has reached stage 2. The was when the monster stopped being the hunted, and became the hunter.

As we entered a large open area, the Kraken made its move. Ambushing us from above, it came crushing down on us, scattering us to the four winds. It was a slaughter. Confused and uncoordinated, the Kraken picked us off one by one, until both Lazarus and Hyde fell together and the match was over. The monster won.


This experience proved to me just how important tactics are while playing Evolve. For example, if I have used Bucket’s surveillance drone (his own detachable head) before entering the exposed open space, I could have spotted the monster’s ambush. It the trapper harpooned the monster during our first encounter, Hyde might have been able to deal it a massive amount of damage with his flamethrower – damage it might not have been able to recover from.

I’ll be able to learn from my past mistakes and evolve my gameplay skills once Evolve comes out October 21, on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Hopefully, you’ll join me in the hunt.

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