Despite plenty of attention from press and mainstream gamers alike, Turtle Rock Studios' Evolve is something of an unknown quantity. Sure, it’s 4v1, asymmetrical multiplayer concept sounds cool, and by and large the ideas built around that concept have been appealing since the first reveal, but it’s still unclear whether gamers will actually flock to the game like Turtle Rock hopes.
Hoping to make that decision a little easier, Turtle Rock has decided to lift the Evolve review embargo a day before release. They want gamers to know exactly what Evolve offers, and therefore have let the press play the game a little early.
However, many of the reviews for Evolve have been released in either “In Progress” or “Provisional” form. Rather than give the game a final score before it can be tested in a live setting - in other words. with real server load - several sites have decided to hold off on passing a final verdict, or at the very least they have given themselves the option to change the score. No one wants another Halo: The Master Chief Collection situation.
Day One Update
Many reviews have also held off because there is a massive Day One Patch coming to Evolve – one that features gameplay tweaks, balance changes, and performance improvements for matchmaking and load times. That matchmaking element will be key for a game that must fill a team of four hunters as well as a monster. The longer the wait, the less likely gamers will be to stick with Evolve in the future.
In addition to gameplay tweaks and performance improvements, the Day One Patch also adds some elite skins to Evolve’s Hunters and Monsters. More specifically, Turtle Rock has tweaked these skins to make their differences more obvious to players. It’s a small detail, but one that could go a long way towards making a player’s Hunter stand out from the pack. Also, in the case of the Savage Goliath skin, it just makes the monster look cooler.
BALANCING TWEAKSWe already noted this in an interview with Turtle Rock’s Chris Ashton, but we are constantly adjusting things in the background so that every Hunter and every Monster is finely tuned. What we learned about what’s being done to Wraith alone was eye-opening. A lot of the data gathered from the Big Alpha and Open Beta weekends helped us make these tweaks.
GAME AND LEVEL-LOADING OPTIMIZATIONSAs we strive to push the engine and cram as much as possible into your Evolve experience, we’re also working are to optimize performance on your system. These improvements range from load times to improving matchmaking and network bandwidth optimizations.
GENERAL BUG FIXESDuring the Big Alpha and Open Beta periods we asked you – our community – for your help and feedback. We are addressing bugs found during our tests and we have you to thank for making Evolve that much stronger with this patch.
NEW ELITE SKINSAfter the Big Alpha, we wanted to rework the Elite skins for Hunters and Monsters based on feedback we got from the community. The results of those requests are right here in this patch. We’ve updated or outright replaced the assets that were already in the game. All you need to do to unlock them: earn them.
CONNECTIVITY TO THE EVOLVE HUNTERS QUEST APPThis patch adds connectivity to work with Evolve Hunters Quest. We recently unveiled the game / companion app for Evolve. In one respect, it’s a fun Match-3 puzzle combat game. But it also has ties into the main console game through the my2K servers. Earn experience and watch overhead match replays through the app. Best of all, it’s free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
As far as the reviews for Evolve are concerned, they are mostly positive and praise the game’s unique approach to multiplayer. The positivity is not overwhelming, mind you, but enough to make Evolve sound like a recommendable release. Check out some choice quotes from those reviews below:
Evolve Review Scores
Polygon (Arthur Gies)
"Evolve occasionally brushes against a real breakthrough for Turtle Rock, with its distinctive take on a different kind of multiplayer shooter. New territory always presents new problems, and Evolve doesn't always solve them. But it distinguishes itself from the pack of multiplayer options out there with the flair of something truly different."
Gamespot (Kevin VanOrd)
"As with Turtle Rock’s Left 4 Dead, Evolve is best when you play with buddies; getting matched with a novice can lead to ghastly results if your newfound friend constantly seeks out the nonexistent “I” in “team.” It doesn’t take long to whip a newcomer into shape, at least, meaning you can usually focus on Evolve’s unique brand of greatness: the suspense of the hunt, the exhilaration of battle, and the drive to dominate Shear. Even Sasquatch would shiver at the dangers."
IGN (Vince Ingenito)
"Overall, I’m very impressed with Evolve. It’s a smart, unique multiplayer experience, and the asymmetrical design gets me thinking about new creative tactics that don’t even apply to any other game. I crave that kind of incentive and opportunity for inspiration, and I can tell that I’ll be playing Evolve, and watching streams of it for quite some time."
The Escapist (Ron Whitaker)
"All in all, when Evolve is working well, it's one of the most enjoyable co-op experiences I have had in a long time. It looks great, the varied classes are all fun to play, and there's almost certain to be one that becomes your favorite. It's a great addition to Turtle Rock's resume, and a solid entry into the early release slate for 2015."
PC Gamer (Evan Lahti)
"Evolve’s emphasis on skillful movement, spotting, and out-maneuvering your opponent make it an excellent competitive game. The Hunters and monsters have some of the most elegant, simple-but-deep mechanics I’ve laid hands on. And Evolve is one of the best-looking games on PC, blessed with splashy particle effects, smart UI, and monsters worthy of Pacific Rim. But I’m concerned about Evolve’s longevity. At first touch, Turtle Rock’s 4v1 formula has tons of novelty. Over dozens of sessions, though, the short, intense matches that it (usually) produces felt less memorable and remarkable. Without maps that bolster its replay value, or mod support to fill in, I worry that it falls to paid DLC and Evolve’s planned free map releases to keep pace with players’ content fatigue."
While the rest of us will have to wait a little longer to play Evolve, it sounds like Turtle Rock has a hit on their hands. We were impressed with the game back at E3 2014, but had our reservations. Sounds like any concerns wash away once the action starts.
Are you picking up Evolve this week? Do you think Turtle Rock Studios’ upcoming game will be a success?
Evolve releases February 10, 2015 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.