Evolve: Single Player Hands-On

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I got to spend some time the other day in New York with Brian Roundy, Senior Public Relations Manager at 2K. I was there to try out the single player experience in the upcoming Turtle Rock shooter, Evolve.

What you need to know right up front is that there isn’t a separate campaign mode or anything to that effect, you’ll be playing with the same modes and characters as multiplayer. If you’re alone then bots will fill in the extra Hunters and/or the Monster. For this experience I was given the choice of Monster or Hunters to play through Evacuation, a series of five consecutive matches linked together in across different maps and modes. I went with the Monster.

The Evacuation mode always starts with Hunt and ends with Defend. The three rounds in between are voted on by the players, or selected if you’re playing alone, with the only caveat being that you can’t play the same mode in back-to-back rounds.

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Hunt is the mode most people have seen and even played in the Alpha and recent Beta for the game. The Hunters are tasked with tracking and killing the Monster before it either evolves to Stage Three or destroys a power relay. Because I hadn’t seen it yet I decided to try out the Wraith first. Of course I ended up getting killed pretty quickly, ending the round. Since the Wraith has the lowest health and armor the trick is to warp in, do a ton of damage and maybe grab a Hunter, then warp out and kill them. Doing so gives you time to recover and regain some strength. I couldn’t get a handle on that type of combat quickly enough and was doomed.

Predictably, my plans quickly went awry.

Because I lost that first round, a ship was patrolling skies when the second round started. If the ship spotted me it would alert the Hunters to my location. Had I won the round I would have had another Monster roaming around causing havoc.

Since I wanted to try everything I chose the Kraken in the second round and went with Nest. Here I was tasked with defending six eggs while the Hunters had to destroy them all within a set time limit. I decided to hatch one immediately in order to send a minion out to harass the Hunters while I tried to level up as quickly as possible. Predictably, my plans quickly went awry. When it came down to the last two eggs I went after the Hunters full-on instead of harassing and hanging back to defend the last one. Had I done that I may have actually won the round.

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After losing two in a row Brian thought it was a good idea to point out to me how the balancing mechanic worked. After each round the losing side will get a boost to give them a better chance in the next one. That can stack up if you lose successive rounds giving struggling players more of a fighting chance. Another nice thing is that all the XP gets built up and held until the final round so these two mechanics combined should discourage players from quitting prematurely.

So in the third round I switched to the Goliath and decided to try Rescue mode. Since I lost the previous two rounds the ship was still overhead and now turrets were placed around the map making my life more miserable. In Rescue mode the Hunters have to revive and escort survivors to a pickup point while the Monster has to kill a certain number of them. Again, I lost.

For the fourth round I decided to try Nest again and spent more time trying to level up. Too much time though because the Hunters were headed for my last egg with nearly five minutes to go in the round leaving me little chance to stop them. It was all going to come down to the final round, Defend.


As the Monster you’ll have several minions which will respawn about thirty seconds after they’re killed and you’ll be tasked with trying to destroy two generators to open up doors so you can reach and destroy the fuel pad. Doing so will destroy the colony rescue ship before it can escape. You start as a fully evolved Stage Three Monster but it’s a long round so you really need to pick your spots. Charging in ahead of my minions and drawing some fire helped them to wear down the generators. I’d then fall back, rebuild my armor, and charge in again when they respawned. I focused on the turrets first so my minions would have a better chance to deal damage to the generators. I still ended up sticking around when my minions were killed to daliver the knockout blow to the generators.

Pounding away at the fuel pad, yelling at the screen, watching the health go down on both it and me as the timer ticked closer to zero – it was frantic.

The fuel pad had more turrets and was much bigger, requiring more time to destroy. I was keeping my eye on the timer and when I saw it fall below a minute I was busy trying to bulk up my armor. Thirty seconds to go and my minions were down. They weren’t going to respawn before the round ended so I had to charge in and throw everything I had at it. Pounding away at the fuel pad, yelling at the screen, watching the health go down on both it and me as the timer ticked closer to zero – it was frantic. I actually pulled it off with two seconds to go in the round, destroying the fuel pad and the ship and winning the overall battle, despite having lost the previous four rounds. It was exhilarating.

What I started to realize about halfway through is what an invaluable tool the solo experience can be. You have the ability to play every mode and character just like the multiplayer, but here you can work out strategies and learn the strengths and weakness of each of the Monsters and Hunters. It really allows you to hone your skills before jumping into a multiplayer match.

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Another cool aside is that when playing solo as the Hunters you have the ability to switch between each of the four characters at will during the round. Say for instance you don’t like how the AI is laying traps, you can switch to that character and lay them down yourself.

So the single player mode, such as it is, becomes the perfect training ground for players. It’s an excellent way to learn the nuances of the game and develop your skills at your own pace. This should make the multiplayer experience much better for anyone who takes advantage of it.

Evolve releases February 10, 2015 on PlayStation 4.

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Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 25 different consoles and 6 different handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation – minus the Switch.

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