The Evolve Alpha Was Slightly Disappointing, But There’s Plenty Of Potential

So I’ve been playing the Evolve alpha for the past few days on the Xbox One and, I must admit, it’s kind of a disappointment. In fairness, I expected a hell of a lot from the game; probably too much, in fact. I had pictures in my head of a futuristic, monster based Left4Dead, and it just wasn’t that. In fact (other than the idea of four players playing together in a co-op team), the games are completely different. I guess that’s a good thing. Still, I didn’t fall in love with Evolve whilst playing the alpha, but there is a lot of potential there.

Before I start talking about why I was disappointed with the alpha, I’ll just point out the fact that it is, indeed, an alpha. That means that it’s a VERY early build of the game; so it’s going to be changing considerably between now and next year. That kind of means that anything I mention here is about a version of the game which, in all probability, doesn’t exist anymore. So keep that in mind whilst you’re reading my drivel. That, and this is also the opinion of one member of IM PLAYIN, so I don’t represent the other writers who have been playing Evolve over the past few days.

My first disappointment with the alpha is that there was a lack of any real direction. There was very little introduction to the game mode and you were just kind of thrown into the game without really knowing what you were supposed to be doing. They explained bits and pieces, here and there; like how best to use your class type or the monster type. But, for how to play the game mode, I kind of learnt by doing, or pieced it all together from the tips on the loading screens. A proper introduction would have been nice, and it could have gave the game mode a little more direction.

This lack of direction was really evident in the alpha. Every time I played it just turned into a massive game of cat and mouse, with the monster (ironically) spending most of its time as the mouse. The four hunters sprinted around the map, following the monster, whilst the monster tried to find a quiet place to eat smaller monsters and, eventually, Evolve. That was until the monster reached the third tier of evolution, then all hell broke loose. That was the story of every single game; and it got boring, fast. But, in fairness to the game, this was just one mode and I’m sure that there will be a few other online game modes when Evolve is released… and a story mode… hopefully.

I think my biggest problem with the alpha is that I was expecting Evolve to be a really ‘stand-out’ game. I was expecting it to be kind of fresh, and a bit revolutionary but nothing about the alpha felt special. It reminded me a lot of the Versus Left4Dead game mode, but not throughout the entire match. When I was playing as the monster, I felt exactly like the Tank from L4D; especially as most of the animations were incredibly similar. And, once I’d reached the final tier of evolution, the game quickly divulged into an all-out grudge match – exactly as it did when the Tank spawned on Versus mode. The only difference here is that the monster has a secondary objective; to destroy the hunters’ power station. In all, despite the fact that the monster had some relatively cool special abilities, Evolve was incredibly samey and not that much fun. It didn’t stand out, and that was a real shame for me.

But again, I can still see the potential with Evolve. That, and you can never really judge the final product by the alpha. Whilst the game mode eventually got kind of boring, it was pretty fun in the first two or three plays. I think it got boring because I was only playing the same mode, as the same characters. I think, once they’ve thrown in a few game modes and you get to play as other monsters / hunters, Evolve will be able to extend that initial period of fun and novelty a little longer. However, I am hoping that the game mode we played in the alpha, isn’t their crowning mode. If that’s the best they have to offer then I really hope they step things up between now and early 2015. Still, the alpha isn’t a game demo, they’re not trying to sell Evolve to me just yet. So it’s good that there was the occasional bug, or things I thought could be changed. That’s because I, and other gamers, can give our feedback and, hopefully, Evolve will change for the better.

In all, after playing the alpha, Evolve wasn’t the best thing since sliced bread. From what I’ve played so far, I wouldn’t call Evolve revolutionary or ‘game changing’. But I do see the potential that’s there. It could be a great game. Could it be game of the year, though? I’d struggle to see it getting that title from what I’ve played so far. But I’m holding out hope, because I really want it to be a great game. I guess we’ll see over the coming months!

  • starscream1180

    agreed , i played a few hours when i first got it … and after playing thru all the roles … i gotta say this game will get boring way too fast … i dont see it as a full retail game. playing as the monster was fun tho … but theres no depth to it.

    • I think the problem, as I said in the answer to the comment above, was that people weren’t playing it how it was meant to be played. Still, that’s an inevitability of these sorts of games when you don’t play with friends, in party chat. My biggest concern is how they’ll encourage people to play it properly, because I think that when played properly, it has great potential.

      Plus, when they throw in more content, it’ll hopefully add a little more variety.

  • starscream1180

    agreed , i played a few hours when i first got it … and after playing thru all the roles … i gotta say this game will get boring way too fast … i dont see it as a full retail game. playing as the monster was fun tho … but theres no depth to it.

    • I think the problem, as I said in the answer to the comment above, was that people weren’t playing it how it was meant to be played. Still, that’s an inevitability of these sorts of games when you don’t play with friends, in party chat. My biggest concern is how they’ll encourage people to play it properly, because I think that when played properly, it has great potential.

      Plus, when they throw in more content, it’ll hopefully add a little more variety.

  • starscream1180

    agreed , i played a few hours when i first got it … and after playing thru all the roles … i gotta say this game will get boring way too fast … i dont see it as a full retail game. playing as the monster was fun tho … but theres no depth to it.

    • I think the problem, as I said in the answer to the comment above, was that people weren’t playing it how it was meant to be played. Still, that’s an inevitability of these sorts of games when you don’t play with friends, in party chat. My biggest concern is how they’ll encourage people to play it properly, because I think that when played properly, it has great potential.

      Plus, when they throw in more content, it’ll hopefully add a little more variety.

  • xyklone

    I had a ton of fun with the game.

    I’m sorry you felt the objective was too complicated but I just don’t see how it can get any simpler than just ‘hunt’. I thought the video intros to each character were sufficient to explain the neccesary tools for said hunt.

    You probably expected the game to find the monster for you and probably fight him too. No. It’s a game about hunting. You have to think about how someone would move through the map. Plenty of times as the monster I would leave false tracks, double back and sneak attack stragglers to slow the hunters and other strats.

    As a Hunter I would break from the group and cover more ground to find the monster and tail him until we get to regroup and engage.

    Sadly, I’m reading a lot of first impressions, like yours, that seem to indicate that gamers are getting lazier. It’s depressing that developers like turtle rock, who try to come up with interesting game mechanics and take risks, ultimately get dirt because people really do like to be fed the same old crap and be constantly rewarded with flashy meaningless achievements. I really do hope that they’re not discouraged and continue to make games for those seeking new challenges.

    • In fairness, I never said that the objective was complicated. I just said that it was boring.

      I think that it would have been less boring were I playing with friends / people online who actually cared about what they were doing – but the whole experience was just carnage. I never played a game where people seemed to know what they were doing, it was just an all out grudge-match. As I said before, nobody ever ‘hunted’ the monster – it was just a race to see who could get to it first. Again, that’s probably down more to who I was playing with than the game itself. But, that’s still how the game played out, nonetheless.

      I also said that I could see the potential, and everything that you mentioned (about how you were playing it) is the potential of Evolve. Had I been playing with / against someone like you, I’m sure that it would have been a fun game. But people running into / after the monster like headless chickens, or aimlessly chasing it just ruined it and made it an incredibly repetitive experience. Again, this isn’t TR’s fault, but it still made for an un-engaging experience.

      • xyklone

        I understand. And I will tell you that once you do play with a group that understand that the game is equal parts hunt and fight, the game becomes an amazingly thrilling experience. My problem is that those in the media are judging the game by the players and not the mechanics. You didn’t go far enough to make that distinction.

        The game is deeper than the guns and carnage imply. Good players make it a psychological experience where you feel hunted even as the hunter. But it takes time to realize it and I fear most people are giving up before they spit the taste of generic shooter out of their mouths.

        I will concede to the fact that the game hinges on content. But this is the developer of the original well-supported left4dead. It’s safe to trust them.

        • I really do want to play with a group who get the point of the game, and know how to play it. But sadly, after playing it for the three days, I never got that chance. But is it not down to the developers to encourage the players to play the game properly? Surly they must have done something wrong if the majority of people weren’t playing their game how it was meant to be played? Great game or not, lots of people are disliking it because they didn’t understand how to play it properly, which is having a damaging impact on the final product.

          (accidentally posted it too soon).

          It’s clearly a problem, because I’m sure that if they gave a little more direction, people would love this game because the majority would be playing it how it’s meant to be played. I wonder if TR assumed far too much that people would just pick it up and get it off the bat.

          • xyklone

            Sadly the problem lies in the expectation of what a game with guns should be.

            What they did ‘wrong’ is not curb the COD FPS mentality enough by advertising the game more appropriately. But that’s not turtle rocks problem, it’s a publisher/industry/media one.

            I’m not creative enough to know how they could sell the game on its own merits to a crowd that is always looking for the same old mechanics. So i guess they have no choice but to bait and switch.

            The most TR could do is try to get people to watch a well played game, and they might just do that closer to release. With the exception of assualt, there are few damage weapons in the game, the rest are healing and tracking. I found that enough to realize what the game is about, so much so that the assualt was my least favorite class. But that’s me, and most people aren’t that observant.

            So they’re in a very tough spot. If they add any longer tutorials, even optional ones, you’d have journalist going to town on perceived learning curve. So we really do have to hope the switch in people’s head goes off after they realize it’s not all about the dps. but for that they have to sell the game.

  • xyklone

    I had a ton of fun with the game.

    I’m sorry you felt the objective was too complicated but I just don’t see how it can get any simpler than just ‘hunt’. I thought the video intros to each character were sufficient to explain the neccesary tools for said hunt.

    You probably expected the game to find the monster for you and probably fight him too. No. It’s a game about hunting. You have to think about how someone would move through the map. Plenty of times as the monster I would leave false tracks, double back and sneak attack stragglers to slow the hunters and other strats.

    As a Hunter I would break from the group and cover more ground to find the monster and tail him until we get to regroup and engage.

    Sadly, I’m reading a lot of first impressions, like yours, that seem to indicate that gamers are getting lazier. It’s depressing that developers like turtle rock, who try to come up with interesting game mechanics and take risks, ultimately get dirt because people really do like to be fed the same old crap and be constantly rewarded with flashy meaningless achievements. I really do hope that they’re not discouraged and continue to make games for those seeking new challenges.

    • In fairness, I never said that the objective was complicated. I just said that it was boring.

      I think that it would have been less boring were I playing with friends / people online who actually cared about what they were doing – but the whole experience was just carnage. I never played a game where people seemed to know what they were doing, it was just an all out grudge-match. As I said before, nobody ever ‘hunted’ the monster – it was just a race to see who could get to it first. Again, that’s probably down more to who I was playing with than the game itself. But, that’s still how the game played out, nonetheless.

      I also said that I could see the potential, and everything that you mentioned (about how you were playing it) is the potential of Evolve. Had I been playing with / against someone like you, I’m sure that it would have been a fun game. But people running into / after the monster like headless chickens, or aimlessly chasing it just ruined it and made it an incredibly repetitive experience. Again, this isn’t TR’s fault, but it still made for an un-engaging experience.

      • xyklone

        I understand. And I will tell you that once you do play with a group that understand that the game is equal parts hunt and fight, the game becomes an amazingly thrilling experience. My problem is that those in the media are judging the game by the players and not the mechanics. You didn’t go far enough to make that distinction.

        The game is deeper than the guns and carnage imply. Good players make it a psychological experience where you feel hunted even as the hunter. But it takes time to realize it and I fear most people are giving up before they spit the taste of generic shooter out of their mouths.

        I will concede to the fact that the game hinges on content. But this is the developer of the original well-supported left4dead. It’s safe to trust them.

        • I really do want to play with a group who get the point of the game, and know how to play it. But sadly, after playing it for the three days, I never got that chance. But is it not down to the developers to encourage the players to play the game properly? Surly they must have done something wrong if the majority of people weren’t playing their game how it was meant to be played? Great game or not, lots of people are disliking it because they didn’t understand how to play it properly, which is having a damaging impact on the final product.

          (accidentally posted it too soon).

          It’s clearly a problem, because I’m sure that if they gave a little more direction, people would love this game because the majority would be playing it how it’s meant to be played. I wonder if TR assumed far too much that people would just pick it up and get it off the bat.

          • xyklone

            Sadly the problem lies in the expectation of what a game with guns should be.

            What they did ‘wrong’ is not curb the COD FPS mentality enough by advertising the game more appropriately. But that’s not turtle rocks problem, it’s a publisher/industry/media one.

            I’m not creative enough to know how they could sell the game on its own merits to a crowd that is always looking for the same old mechanics. So i guess they have no choice but to bait and switch.

            The most TR could do is try to get people to watch a well played game, and they might just do that closer to release. With the exception of assualt, there are few damage weapons in the game, the rest are healing and tracking. I found that enough to realize what the game is about, so much so that the assualt was my least favorite class. But that’s me, and most people aren’t that observant.

            So they’re in a very tough spot. If they add any longer tutorials, even optional ones, you’d have journalist going to town on perceived learning curve. So we really do have to hope the switch in people’s head goes off after they realize it’s not all about the dps. but for that they have to sell the game.

  • xyklone

    I had a ton of fun with the game.

    I’m sorry you felt the objective was too complicated but I just don’t see how it can get any simpler than just ‘hunt’. I thought the video intros to each character were sufficient to explain the neccesary tools for said hunt.

    You probably expected the game to find the monster for you and probably fight him too. No. It’s a game about hunting. You have to think about how someone would move through the map. Plenty of times as the monster I would leave false tracks, double back and sneak attack stragglers to slow the hunters and other strats.

    As a Hunter I would break from the group and cover more ground to find the monster and tail him until we get to regroup and engage.

    Sadly, I’m reading a lot of first impressions, like yours, that seem to indicate that gamers are getting lazier. It’s depressing that developers like turtle rock, who try to come up with interesting game mechanics and take risks, ultimately get dirt because people really do like to be fed the same old crap and be constantly rewarded with flashy meaningless achievements. I really do hope that they’re not discouraged and continue to make games for those seeking new challenges.

    • In fairness, I never said that the objective was complicated. I just said that it was boring.

      I think that it would have been less boring were I playing with friends / people online who actually cared about what they were doing – but the whole experience was just carnage. I never played a game where people seemed to know what they were doing, it was just an all out grudge-match. As I said before, nobody ever ‘hunted’ the monster – it was just a race to see who could get to it first. Again, that’s probably down more to who I was playing with than the game itself. But, that’s still how the game played out, nonetheless.

      I also said that I could see the potential, and everything that you mentioned (about how you were playing it) is the potential of Evolve. Had I been playing with / against someone like you, I’m sure that it would have been a fun game. But people running into / after the monster like headless chickens, or aimlessly chasing it just ruined it and made it an incredibly repetitive experience. Again, this isn’t TR’s fault, but it still made for an un-engaging experience.

      • xyklone

        I understand. And I will tell you that once you do play with a group that understand that the game is equal parts hunt and fight, the game becomes an amazingly thrilling experience. My problem is that those in the media are judging the game by the players and not the mechanics. You didn’t go far enough to make that distinction.

        The game is deeper than the guns and carnage imply. Good players make it a psychological experience where you feel hunted even as the hunter. But it takes time to realize it and I fear most people are giving up before they spit the taste of generic shooter out of their mouths.

        I will concede to the fact that the game hinges on content. But this is the developer of the original well-supported left4dead. It’s safe to trust them.

        • I really do want to play with a group who get the point of the game, and know how to play it. But sadly, after playing it for the three days, I never got that chance. But is it not down to the developers to encourage the players to play the game properly? Surly they must have done something wrong if the majority of people weren’t playing their game how it was meant to be played? Great game or not, lots of people are disliking it because they didn’t understand how to play it properly, which is having a damaging impact on the final product.

          (accidentally posted it too soon).

          It’s clearly a problem, because I’m sure that if they gave a little more direction, people would love this game because the majority would be playing it how it’s meant to be played. I wonder if TR assumed far too much that people would just pick it up and get it off the bat.

          • xyklone

            Sadly the problem lies in the expectation of what a game with guns should be.

            What they did ‘wrong’ is not curb the COD FPS mentality enough by advertising the game more appropriately. But that’s not turtle rocks problem, it’s a publisher/industry/media one.

            I’m not creative enough to know how they could sell the game on its own merits to a crowd that is always looking for the same old mechanics. So i guess they have no choice but to bait and switch.

            The most TR could do is try to get people to watch a well played game, and they might just do that closer to release. With the exception of assualt, there are few damage weapons in the game, the rest are healing and tracking. I found that enough to realize what the game is about, so much so that the assualt was my least favorite class. But that’s me, and most people aren’t that observant.

            So they’re in a very tough spot. If they add any longer tutorials, even optional ones, you’d have journalist going to town on perceived learning curve. So we really do have to hope the switch in people’s head goes off after they realize it’s not all about the dps. but for that they have to sell the game.

  • happymealer

    I played it with a friend and we took turns. It was fun to play AND fun to watch. I don’t think this is the kind of game you play alone for hours without getting bored, however. It’s meant to be social. You’re supposed to work with your teammates. My buddy and I were alternating turns each game, pointing out things to each other to help play better, and it was damn fun. I don’t think I was ever bored…

    The environments are alive and dangerous. The gameplay is good and well balanced. It could use some polish but I’ll definitely have my eye on it around release.

    I played on PS4 and PC. PS4 seemed to be operating at ~30fps and while it looked good, I think I’d prefer 60fps even if it meant taking a hit to the graphics. Playing on the PC was so smooth and for the way this game plays, I think the smoothness of 60fps is a necessity… I’d really appreciate the option for 1080p 30fps and 720p 60fps in the final game on PS4… or 1080p 60fps. That’s good too 😉

    As I understand it, you currently can’t have a party of 5 and have one of your friends play the monster against you and three others. I hope this is something they can work out. I like being able to play against my friends so it’d be great to see them incorporate 5 person parties.

  • happymealer

    I played it with a friend and we took turns. It was fun to play AND fun to watch. I don’t think this is the kind of game you play alone for hours without getting bored, however. It’s meant to be social. You’re supposed to work with your teammates. My buddy and I were alternating turns each game, pointing out things to each other to help play better, and it was damn fun. I don’t think I was ever bored…

    The environments are alive and dangerous. The gameplay is good and well balanced. It could use some polish but I’ll definitely have my eye on it around release.

    I played on PS4 and PC. PS4 seemed to be operating at ~30fps and while it looked good, I think I’d prefer 60fps even if it meant taking a hit to the graphics. Playing on the PC was so smooth and for the way this game plays, I think the smoothness of 60fps is a necessity… I’d really appreciate the option for 1080p 30fps and 720p 60fps in the final game on PS4… or 1080p 60fps. That’s good too 😉

    As I understand it, you currently can’t have a party of 5 and have one of your friends play the monster against you and three others. I hope this is something they can work out. I like being able to play against my friends so it’d be great to see them incorporate 5 person parties.

  • happymealer

    I played it with a friend and we took turns. It was fun to play AND fun to watch. I don’t think this is the kind of game you play alone for hours without getting bored, however. It’s meant to be social. You’re supposed to work with your teammates. My buddy and I were alternating turns each game, pointing out things to each other to help play better, and it was damn fun. I don’t think I was ever bored…

    The environments are alive and dangerous. The gameplay is good and well balanced. It could use some polish but I’ll definitely have my eye on it around release.

    I played on PS4 and PC. PS4 seemed to be operating at ~30fps and while it looked good, I think I’d prefer 60fps even if it meant taking a hit to the graphics. Playing on the PC was so smooth and for the way this game plays, I think the smoothness of 60fps is a necessity… I’d really appreciate the option for 1080p 30fps and 720p 60fps in the final game on PS4… or 1080p 60fps. That’s good too 😉

    As I understand it, you currently can’t have a party of 5 and have one of your friends play the monster against you and three others. I hope this is something they can work out. I like being able to play against my friends so it’d be great to see them incorporate 5 person parties.

  • Bo Treat

    this game looks like it is just one aspect of borderlands 2…

  • Bo Treat

    this game looks like it is just one aspect of borderlands 2…