The first downloadable content for Evolve is nearly here and it’s a meaty one with four hunters, a new monsters and a few other extras.
As the hunter that stands out, it’s clear from the start that it is not only Slim’s appearance that makes him unique. One of this Medic’s best abilities was the use of a Healing Drone that would stay close to one character that needed healing. Although handy to keep this healer away from the fight, his abilities weren’t healing characters as quickly as those of other Medics.
It was quite difficult to get used to playing with Slim since his abilities were mainly focused on healing – whereas characters like Val can still assist the other hunters by weakening the monster. Those playing as Slim have to stay back and focus on helping others. It wasn’t such an easy task given that both of his healing abilities – Healing Drone and Healing Burst – required spending a fair amount of time learning how to use them.
The gun this character uses isn’t as effective as those used by medics such as Val. The character could also use a Spore Cloud to make it so the monster couldn’t use his smell to track the hunters. What’s clear is that Slim is a technical character and so most of his powers will most likely only make sense for advanced players, who are willing to learn how to make the most of each ability.
Crow the Trapper seems like one of the easier new hunters to get the hang of. This character is able to assist the other hunters in two very useful ways. The Stasis gun was the best out of these two when it came to facing the monster. This gun makes it possible to slowdown the monster. Charging it by holding the trigger button for a few seconds will result in a longer lasting effect. It was used many times not only to ensure the monster couldn’t escape the more deadly attacks – such as the mortar cannon – but to also give players a better chance to dodge the monster.
The other gun felt very similar to Val’s armour piercing weapon. It is called a Kinetic Gun Rifle, but it is also used to highlight weak points in the monster’s armour. Another useful ability, given that it makes it possible for other hunters to deal more damage.
Crow also has a bat like pet called Batray that is used to survey the map and look for the monster. Whilst Batray is a catchy name, it isn’t so useful when it comes to tracking the monster. It rarely managed to track down the monster during the matches player. However, it’s quite possible that this creature’s aim is to find the monster once it’s trapped within the dome that this character possesses.
The Crow definitely felt like one of the more interesting new hunters.
As is the norm with Assault classes, Torvald is a powerhouse with very low health. This hunter is packing an Auto-Fire Shotgun that will deal some serious damage – if he can get close enough to the monster.
One of his better abilities is a Mortar Cannon as it is really powerful. The use of this weapon could backfire though, since it can also harm any hunters that are too close to the area where the attack is launched. It’s also necessary to make sure that the monster doesn’t escape before the attack hits the target area.
As with other Assault classes, Torvald has a personal shield to temporarily protect him from the monster’s attacks. This hunter also possesses Shrapnel Grenades that helped distract the monster several times.
The final new hunter is Sunny, who is a Support hunter. Although Sunny’s rule is that of helping others, this is actually one of the most diverse hunters in Evolve. Sunny’s abilities mean this character can not only provide support to other hunters, but also directly helps defeat the monster. The Fuel Booster is an ability that might seem quite useless at the start. However, it helped other hunters to evade the monster several times, by recharging their jetpacks. A portable shield drone also made it possible for characters to survive monster attacks whilst waiting for downed hunters to return to the field.
This versatile hunter can also take on the monster with a lethal Grenade Launcher that will leave a mark or two. As usual for support roles, Sunny also has a cloak that makes it possible to easily evade the monster.
There is no doubt that Sunny was one of the most fun hunters to play as. It’s the perfect hunter for less experienced players to use, since it’s a well balanced character.
As expected, the Behemoth is a beast worthy of the name it has been bestowed. This monster seemed to have the most destructive powers out of all monsters so far. Its Rock Wall power alone can separate hunters or protect the monster from their attacks. The Fissure attack made it possible to attack several hunters in one go. Although not used as often, a Tongue Grab made it possible to focus on a single target. Finally, the monster could also throw Lava Bombs to target one or more hunters.
The sheer size of the Behemoth means that these powerful attacks are balanced out by its slow movement speed. However, the monster can curl up into a ball and temporarily roll around the map. A rather handy ability that made it possible to avoid being trapped by the Trapper on more than a few occasions. This ability also damages any hunters foolish enough not to get out of the way.
This monster is perfect for those who like taking their time to build up his abilities and then charge in to mercilessly crush the opposition. It’s easy to say that it’s just as much fun to play as the Goliath and a monster that anyone can play as regardless of skill level.
There’s a few other extras, such as the two new maps exclusive to the Xbox One for 30 days. The Broken Hills Foundry map was the one that stood out. This is because it consists of lots of areas to explore and contains quite a lot of building to check out as well. This resulted in a few amusing games of cat and mouse with the monster managing to evade the hunters by making use of the various paths found within the buildings.
Finally, those keen to watch friends play the game can do so with the new Observer mode. Whilst this is something that Twitch can do, there are some ideas that make it worth using. The player observing is presented with statistics, such as which side is most likely to win. These statistics are constantly updated depending on the actions of each side. It’s an interesting idea and one that hopefully Turtle Rock Studios can build on in future updates.
There’s certainly a nice mix of characters that will appeal to different players. What is even better is that the addition of these characters doesn’t make the ones on the disk redundant. In fact, it just made it better to have more characters that make different use of some abilities already used by other hunters. This first round of downloadable content is proof that Turtle Rock Studios and 2K are committed to supporting Evolve for a long time.