The monstrous Goliath was the first to be thrust into the spotlight, but it didn't take long for the human characters of Evolve to shove their way in. The makers of Left 4 Dead are taking their approach to team-based multiplayer not to a bigger and broader scale, but honing in on what makes teamwork satisfying, pitting four players against a single, terrifying opponent.
Assembling the right team of four largely means selecting the proper blend of classes; the team has provided a closer look at Markov, the Assault class, and the Trapper known as Griffin. But even the deadliest soldiers need some Support from time to time. And in the case of Evolve, the task of both protecting the Hunters and maximizing their effectiveness falls to 'Hank.'
The latest character detailed as part of Game Informer's coverage, Hank - the first Support class character available - proves that while the development team at Turtle Rock is taking the task of balancing and combining abilities seriously, they're keeping their sense of humor intact. For starters, we had assumed that the mustache sported by Griffin was impressive, but Hank's beard is intimidating on an entirely different level.
Once looking past the beard, playing cards, and lit cigar (not something recommended when tracking a hulking killing machine), it seems like Hank's arsenal will be as memorable as the man himself. As the name implies, it is Hank's job to keep on the fringes of the fight, utilizing his Cloaking Device (available to all Support characters) to become invisible for short periods of time. The ability can also be projected onto allies for protection, either rendering Medics invisible to the game's lethal wildlife, or keeping downed Hunters from being finished off.
Besides blessing himself or his enemies invisible, Hank is also capable of giving his team brief bouts of invincibility with his aptly-named Shield Gun. Support players will need to use the weapon precisely, since its effects last for mere seconds, but a moment of invulnerability can keep a Medic protected from a devastating attack, or give an Assault player even more potency - both decisions that could win or lose an entire match. Provided the team can work together, of course.
Hank isn't helpess by any means, and carries a few lethal tools of his own. Whether calling down an Orbital Barrage - an area of effect attack that can be used defensively or offensively, assuming the Hunters can keep a monster contained - or wielding his impressive Laser Cannon, Hank can dole out damage with the best of them. But as yet another example of the extensive balancing that Turtle Rock has spread throughout all player classes, Hank may be most vulnerable when he is also most dangerous.
The Laser Cannon can deliver serious damage to the Goliath (or any of its evolved forms), but in a game when moving undetected through the darkness is paramount, the weapon's discharge is impossible to miss. In other words: a Medic had better keep their eyes on Hank when the fight begins. Once the monster is cornered, however, there are few attacks more likely to finish it off.
Hank, much like the Goliath, is only the first step players can take once deciding on their desired progression path. Even so, his slim loadout provides a wide variety of strategies and effective attacks in a range of situations. We can only hope that the rest of the Support characters will engender as much variety. But with only the Medic class left to be detailed, it's clear that a true understanding of Evolve's gameplay will only come after extensive experience.
Expect more details and images to arrive as more of the classes are revealed. For now, which character design or class has gotten your attention? Has Evolve convinced you its a next-gen title to watch? Sound off in the comments.
Evolve is targeting a Fall 2014 release for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
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Source: Game Informer