Turtle Rock Studio’s Evolve was released on February 10th, 2015 to mixed reviews. Many people, including myself, love the four-versus-one multiplayer component where four hunters fight/hunt a fifth player who is in charge of the monster. A couple of the rounds that I played with my friends were fun, even though we lost a lot. However, I do have to agree with the harsher reviews that the game is held back by too many design issues that really bring down the overall experience. It illustrates why not all games should be $60, and why everyone is losing faith in many of the Triple A developers. Not only do you have some overpowered monsters like the wraith, but each match became inconsistent in terms of having a fun time. There is basically no story mode, no well-developed characters, a universe that feels like there was not an abundance of thought put into it, inconsistent AI teammates when playing by yourself or with only one other friend, and, of course, the biggest issue with the game is it’s ample amount of awful and pointless DLC. Sure, Evolve is going to release some more DLC with new hunters and one new monster, but the game has some serious issues, and more gamers need to make this a bigger deal rather than just sitting on the sidelines, accepting what they are given. So then, let’s list those changes.
7. Expand the universe
One of the elements I think Turtle Rock Studios could have improved upon was the whole universe that they created about humans landing on this planet where there are giant monsters. Well, why are we on this planet? Why didn’t we send a team down to see if these giant creatures were even there? I kept questioning this as I played the tutorials and the game itself. I never felt pulled in because the universe had no effort put into it. If they don’t give a hoot, then why should I?
6. Make grinding less tedious
A common problem I see with multiplayer-focused games is the fact that grinding for levels and gear is downright tedious. Of course, you don’t want to get everything on day one, but after a while, the grinding for stuff gets boring. It’s why I usually don’t play multiplayer-only games often. Evolve, to no surprise ever, is no different. Having to do the same thing with using every single weapon just to get a new character, and then start over with him is annoying. It drags the game out. There really isn’t much to do, since every player had a favorite class and they won’t want to play the others. As an example, I loved playing the tank and had no urge to play the other classes. If playing the other classes and grinding for better equipment was more entertaining, the players would have more incentive to try out the other characters.
5. If you are going to make a storyline, make a storyline!
One of the biggest failures that Evolve has is that it doesn’t have a story-driven campaign. The “story-driven campaign” is basically five different modes, which to be honest are not very different from one another, and that’s it! It has one or two cutscenes lazily put into the different game modes to try and “make” a story. What’s worse is that there are no personalities to our characters. They might have written descriptions of their character, but are you honestly going to read them? Of course not! Show us! Don’t tell us! Not only that, but during the Hunt modes, they have little tidbits of “interaction” between the hunters, but in the end, they really don’t interact with one another. The ending cutscene also doesn’t make much sense. Why don’t the hunters, who are doing all the work, leave with the rest of the evacuated civilians? What is keeping them down on the ground to shoot all of the giant monsters? I’ll tell you, nothing! Bigwigs in game companies like to think that we don’t care for story in games and so on, but they are dead wrong. We do care about story, characters, and everything else. Don’t think you know what we do and do not like.
4. More varied game modes
Even though there are five different game modes in Evolve, no one really plays them all, and they all play the same. Why not have a mode where a team of monsters go against another team of monsters? Go “Destroy All Monsters” on the mode. It might be chaotic and not polished, but it would be super fun. What about a team of hunters who have a monster go against a level 3 or a special level 4 monster? Don’t just make the same Hunt mode and sprinkle in eggs that need destroying, or awful escort missions. Or what about a team of monsters that have to take down a giant military ship? Or since it seems like monsters have the bigger advantage, give hunters robot suits. It feels like the developers just went with one idea and did not think of expanding on the concept!
3. More monsters
Even though I love the designs of the four monsters in Evolve, they still aren’t that interesting. Why do they have two floating monsters and two monsters that are forced to run and jump? Why not have a monster that flies the entire time? What about a monster that swims? Why do I have to go through 12 maps that aren’t really that memorable to fight the same monsters that I have already fought? Did these guys not play Monster Hunter or Toukiden? You know games that give you hunting content that isn’t locked behind a paywall?
2. More interesting first-person gameplay
The core gameplay element of four players hunting down another player is very cool. I love how developers are tackling this kind of gameplay, from Evolve to the upcoming Fable Legends. However, in terms of fun, the game needs to be more interesting due to how inconsistent the matches are. Heck, a lot of my matches ended in me running from point A to point B without getting to shoot off one bullet at the main monster. Why not add in more interesting levels as well? Like a level that requires you to take down a monster while in the sky? Or take down a monster that is swimming in the depths of an ocean? Why not implement the fast-paced movements from Titanfall? Why am I basically playing a game that has no variation? I know some people think a game being repetitive shouldn’t count as a criticism, but it really does, and there is no way you can make that argument valid. If a game is boring to play, and doesn’t offer much variation, then why should I keep playing?
1. No Terrible DLC/ Business Models!
Overall, the reason why Evolve is thought of as technically a flop, if you consider selling over 300,000 copies in the launch month a flop, is because of how the individuals at Turtle Rock Studios and 2K Games marketed the game. Before any gameplay was even shown, there was this huge push for preordering the game, and a multitude of different versions of the game to purchase. Of course, the nail in the coffin for Evolve’s success is the fact that the developer said it was built from the ground-up for DLC. The developer have gone on many websites with articles defending this business model as “we are giving gamers variety”, but in reality, you are finding ways to squeeze more money out of us. I honestly felt like Turtle Rock Studios had a great idea with Evolve, but decided to find a way to rake in more cash and live off their legacy of being the team behind Left 4 Dead. In the end, the DLC isn’t worth it, and the DLC was appalling. Oh, they might be out with new hunters and monsters, but if you want to buy the monster, you have to spend $15 for it! Yeah, no thanks! I actually like spending money on games I want to support because they are not sapping my checking account! You can tell there was work put into this game, but corporate greed got in the way, and this is really what killed Evolve before it could even come out.
If you don’t think gamers or anyone can’t make a change in the gaming industry, then you need to remember the huge fan campaign to bring Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower over to the states, and the change Bioware made to Mass Effect 3’s infamous ending. We should be telling the developers that they should improve on the design and not do incredibly shady business decisions.