I've never been one for multiplayer games, especially shooters, but the idea of the game intrigued me. Having four hunters teaming up to hunt a monster that is trying to feed on wildlife to get stronger is such a perfect idea. Each class is wholly unique, and the characters within the class are equally unique. The concept is so perfectly balanced and does not favor either side. This is a pretty big deal in an asymmetrical multiplayer game. This was on my short list of games that I wanted to pick up when I got my PS4, and a low price for a used copy convinced me to take the plunge.
So how do I feel about my big leap into multiplayer shooters? I'm having a blast. While I don't play it as often as other games I have, such as Bloodborne, I have a great time just picking it up and playing a couple matches. Since I'm such a shooter amateur, I find myself mostly playing the single player (which is just the same game, but with computer controlled bots) in order to unlock most of the hunters. In the past few weeks, I've been actually jumping in and trying the online modes, and it's a whole 'nother game. The monster is so much more difficult to track when it is controlled by an actual human, and the hunting goes better when it's not a bunch of bots following you. Again, I haven't played too many multiplayer shooters, but with the way this game is laid out, it seems to be a lot more strategic than other games out there, while still remaining viscerally exciting.
Not only is the gameplay concept very clever, the visual and character designs are also wonderful. The central concept of the game is that a planet called Shear, that is very much a jungle type habitat, is overrun by increasingly dangerous wildlife that has finally evolved into these huge, horrifying monsters. Anytime one of these monsters is located, a group of hired hunters gets together to take it out. Each character is visually unique and has a design that really tells their story. My favorite characters include the Assault character Hyde, who punishes the monsters with a combination of a flamethrower and a minigun, and Bucket, a yellow robot who can detach his head and scout for the creature. The monsters all look appropriately hideous and a distinct from each other both in playstyle and look.
I do have to address the elephant in the room that has been haunting the game since its release: the DLC pricing/structure. The game launched with 12 hunters (three in each of the classes) and three monsters. One of each is unlocked at the beginning, and the rest are unlocked through playing the game and meeting certain requirements. Even before the game was launched, they announced a Season Pass that would include one more hunter for each class, and a new monster that would be purchased separately. The Season Pass was $25 and the monster was $15. So with the game being $60, it would cost you $100 to get all the characters. They are doing another Hunting Season, where it will be $25 for four hunters and a monster. I'm really glad that they are supporting this game so much post-launch, especially since the game didn't really sell as much as they thought it would, and the hunter designs are really awesome, especially the ones released from the second season so far. Even so, this just seems like a poor pricing structure. In a world where free-to-play games have found ways to be hugely successful without requiring any money to start with, it seems crazy to price things like this. Since I got the game for cheap, I may end up getting one of the season passes, but it's still kinda crazy to ask for so much for something that doesn't shake up the core of the gameplay.
I really hope Evolve is something that continues as a franchise. The concept is so awesome, and the gameplay is super well balance. I feel like the developers have listened to the video game community's response to the DLC schedule and would adjust a new game to fix these things. I would love to see it come out as a free-to-play game with a few characters, the new ones could be unlocked either through money or a 'premium in-game currency' earned through play. Maybe they could even create a single player campaign mode that you could grab for a reasonable price. I would even like to see a one-on-one monster fight mode that would make you really feel like you were in a Godzilla movie. Whatever happens, I really hope the community picks up a bit, as there have been some pretty neat tweaks and features that are added at a regular interval.