Gamers everywhere have been waiting for this alpha, and last week saw it’s arrival on Xbox One. If you are an Xbox preview participant you would have received your code the same time as I did, when it went live on the 30th of October. Evolve, the new multiplayer IP from 2K Games and Turtle Rock Studios, was about to give us all a chance to delve into its 4v1 matches, either as a hunter or the hunted, and I was as excited as a kid at Christmas, to say the least. This was also my first hands on time with the title and I was expecting great things from Evolve since its announcement. When Titanfall hit the market some were calling it the evolution of multiplayer, I was not one of those, I was tipping Evolve to be the saviour of online play with new and unique ideas such as the 4v1 matches we have all seen on YouTube.
Diving into my first few matches and trying out the different classes of hunters was a thrill, each with their different weapons and equipment, all of which are necessary and needed to work together in order to take down your quarry. Then came the biggest thrill of all, the chance to be the monster, the massive alien Goliath. Breathing fire, throwing boulders, and leaping great distances in one stride, while eating alien life forms in order to build up your armour and eventually evolve to stage 3 when you get to turn the tables and attack the power core. Then it all ended, the excitement left, the thrill of the hunt dissipated an fizzled out into complete and utter repetition and boredom. Now before you go and say, “oh this is only the alpha”, I know that, but this is the hunt mode, one of the modes that will be included in the finished game and after a few matches it lost all appeal. Once you have tried out each of the hunters and their unique abilities and weapons, and once you have played the monster, well there is nothing more to it. There is little in this mode to keep players entertained, yes you will have the odd player that will play it non stop until they reach the level cap, or get that achievement for winning one hundred Hunt matches, but for me I have been there and bought the t-shirt, and that mode has little replay appeal.
I am sure that there are gamers out there among you that will be more than happy to chase a monster around 50 different maps if you could, and be perfectly happy in doing so, but for me that would be the same shit ,different place. Evolve did get a lot right, such as the environments that were just as dangerous as your quarry. For instance, the man eating plants, the monsters that appeared from the water like the Loch Ness monster, and the other wildlife roaming about the alien world that provided you with something to shoot at while constantly running around in circles trying to locate the monster you were actually chasing. Graphically it was also impressive for an alpha build, and the atmospheric effects on the maps were brilliant. I was hoping for an experience that would leave me baying for more, and instead I got one that left me wondering if this title will even be worth my money once it releases. With other characters and a second monster to unlock in the alpha, I struggled on, but this being an alpha I was not receiving any of my XP points for some reason, so I was disappointed even more when I could not try out these other characters. Again this was an alpha and problems such as these are to be expected, with none of the XP being carried over to the beta or the full release I was not bothered by it too much, it was the fact that I could not unlock the new character skins or second monster that really stuck in my craw.
Thanks to the alpha I now know that this mode is something that will quickly dissipate into obscurity for me, and will have little bearing on whether or not I purchase Evolve in the future. Evolve is on the back burner with me now and has everything to prove, with other modes and play types coming in the full release I am left wondering if this will be another hyped up waste of time. Sure it will be a novelty for a few hours, but putting £50 into a novelty these days is wearing thin with many gamers as they struggle to pay their bills in this economy. On the one hand I thank 2K Games and Turtle Rock for the alpha and giving players a chance to experience their game, on the other hand I am left completely disappointed and lost as to where Evolve is going or what it will have to offer in the way of real value. This is one gamer that is truly on the fence about Evolve.