Evolve is fun.

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So I’ve had a few days with the beta for Evolve Stage 2, and it’s been pretty intense.

While the game apparently had a revamp, I have never looked into the original version enough to be able to tell you what changed exactly. As such, I can say I’m looking at this game through fresh eyes.

The game consists of just one game mode called “Hunt, which has one player assuming the role of a monster who is trying to kill the other four players who are in turn tasked with killing the monster. If the hunters take too long to track the monster, he can eventually “evolve” and get more powerful. This hunt or be hunted gameplay is really compelling to me as an idea, as depending on execution it could lead to lots of interesting interactions between teams from match to match.

Each human player must be from one of four classes; there always has to be a medic, a support, a trapper and an assault character. A player is assigned one of those roles at the start of the match, and can then select which character in that category they want to play. Further gameplay customization comes to being able to select perks that affect your character for the duration of a match, things like health regeneration and jetpack control.
There is around six monsters for a player to choose from, each with their own variety in attacks and abilities. As with humans, the monster has a selection of perks he can utilize in a game depending on the strategy he plans to use and points can be placed in the monster’s attacks.

The games I have participated in have all been fairly similar, with the humans chasing down the monster, who is trying to both outrun it’s pursuers and eat other creatures to get more powerful. Eventually the monster gets domed (trapped by the hunters in an enclosed area) and the fight ensues, ending only when one side is downed, or the dome disappears and the monster can escape to repeat the process again.
While this sounds like something that would get stale after a few matches, I don’t think this is going to be the case. Between all the different characters and their individual abilities I feel that there’s a lot of opportunity for depth of strategy n this game. Already I’ve encountered several different monsters which seem like they will require individual strategies to beat.

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With the game being free, I’m expecting we’ll see more additions to the game as time goes on to add variety and slow any feeling of the game growing stale. Apart from balance changes I’m expecting more game modes as I’m expecting some of the removed modes to be retooled and put back in, hopefully some more maps and characters as well as obviously skins. They’re obviously hoping to push the longevity of the game, so the plan is hopefully long term.

Monetisation seems to be non-existent at this point; everything in the game at current is available for the in-game currency “Keys”, including skins, characters and perks. I have looked around and it seems there’s no way to actually purchase anything for real money. This is kind of neat, but has me wondering what their plans for the future are. Are we getting lots of Steam DLC packs? Or will Turtle Rock eventually implement micro-transactions that can be bought with real money.
The “Free To Play” aspect of the game has us restricted in a lot of ways initially. Your choice of characters is fairly limited at the beginning, with only one of each class and monster available. They are rotated each week so every week you can try something different, and if the tutorial is completed, you can unlock a monster and one hunter for free, permanently. After that all skins for hunters, monsters and weapons cost Keys, as well as any perks you want to own or upgrade.

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I’m worried as to how they plan to make money on the game going forward. The obvious two choices that come to mind for me are either allowing people to purchase packs of Keys for real money, or selling additions to the game in DLC packs on Steam.
Both have their pros and cons. Addressing the latter first, DLC packs only serve to split a community as they become either the “Haves” or “Have Nots”, with the Haves having access to maps the “Have Nots” do not and leaving them unable to join in.
Purchasing Keys seems like a great method, but then you have a group of people who are able to just buy all the perks for all the characters from the get go. While I don’t consider it “Pay To Win” because there’s still a level of competency expected in your play, this still creates a system where one person has more access to advantages than another.
This might seem like pointless nit-picking, but I really like as fair a playing field as possible. The monetisation of a game is something I seem to be particularly sensitive to, if my past posts on this website are anything to go by.

As it stands, I’m actually glad this happened to Evolve. If they didn’t have such a terrible release, we might not have had the game in it’s current form and maintaining high player counts. As such, I might never have gotten to experience this.
While I’m cautious about the future of the game there really is no denying it is fun, and the game both looks nice and runs smooth even on my somewhat dated machine. The best case scenario for me would be that this game continues to grow, and maybe even form a bit of a competitive community. We’ll see.