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    Evolve: Online

    Never have we played any game in any genre that’s as preoccupied with locomotion as Evolve. As hunters, you’re constantly tracking, chasing, regrouping. If you stop moving, your prey escapes only to come back bigger, stronger and deadlier. As the monster you’re constantly exploring, fleeing, feeding, growing… evolving.

    Some of our previous hands-on experiences have suggested that plumping for the monster, more often than not, ends bloodily and badly. Well, we’re not sure if it was down to some recent nifty re-balancing, the ineptness of our party or a seriously skilled monster player but it definitely isn’t humankind who emerges on top as we return to Shear once again.

    Both the Goliath and the Lovecraftian nightmare that is the Kraken are far more agile than they appear, taking advantage of some dizzyingly perpendicular geometry by launching themselves up cliff faces (even with our fancy short-range jetpacks, we struggle to keep up), feasting on the local wildlife and growing with each evolution.

    In-between encounters, nothing much happens… and it takes a little getting used to. Yep, there are definite lulls in Evolve’s pacing. Admittedly though, a lot of this is to do with the relative skill of both those playing the human hunters and who’s taking the reins of the monster. Nail a naïve monster player too early and the hunt feels anticlimactic at best, borked at worst.

    Sometimes this downtime is welcome, it gives your quartet time to talk tactics, provides precious breathing space to collect buffs, and cranks the hunt’s already tense atmosphere up another notch. Yet it also frustrates, especially when you’re aware your enemy is likely growing in stature and ferocity with every fresh second it evades you.

    Frenetic Genetic
    Then things explode and Evolve once again becomes the most exciting thing in multiplayer out there. The screen erupts in a frenzy of newgen pyrotechnics as harpoons fly, arc mines explode and people (and, very occasionally, monsters) die horribly.

    If you’re hunters, you abruptly feel very mortal, and all too aware that you need to join forces and work together to have even a half chance of slaying the beast. If you’re playing as the Goliath, it’s an insane adrenalin rush as you wade into the maelstrom, lobbing boulders and breathing fire. The sneaky Kraken, meanwhile, prefers a divide and conquer approach.

    With yet more characters and one more monster set for reveal, Evolve will hopefully pack the longevity to complement its frenetic action and undoubted originality.

    Awesome foursome
    A quartet of pure quality

    Hunter: Maggie’s coolest toy is her pet alien bloodhound Daisy, whose xeno nostrils are attuned to the monster’s scent. When it starts yapping, be ready…

    Monster: Cthulhu tribute act Kraken dishes out horrific ‘leccy damage and thanks to its ultra elusive nature feels more niche-y than the ballsy Goliath.

    Map: We’re on the fence here, all of Evolve’s maps are roomy, vertiginous, packed with charismatic local wildlife and crammed with neat ambush spots.

    Moment: Cornered and mad as hell, a fully evolved Goliath is a walking juggernaut. It will take a posse working in complete synergy to take the beastdown.

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