If Evolve were a B-level science fiction movie, there would be a scene where a scientist, looking on at the film's star with a frightened expression, states, “They're breeding.” The hero, decked in weaponry, postures into a manly position and says, “My god. We need to get the people evacuated.”
From there, it would take one of three cultural directions: In America, the monster(s) is murdered – possibly sympathetically – by a zealous and cutthroat military near or on a notable landmark. Missiles and machine guns need apply; nothing survives this barrage of red, white, and blue. In Japan, Evolve would settle down into intellectualism. Men would clamor around a table in their lab coats to survey their latest weaponized technical advancement. Their monster is doomed by science.
In Europe, it was probably just Peter Cushing all along so they cook him with sunlight.
For Evolve the video game, it's definitely American, sort of a brutish and beefier version of those relentless mid-tier Cabela shooters released by Activision. It's all guns. Everything is solved by bullets.
The action is splendidly primal.
Humans are the invasive species on Evolve's planet Shear, although no one seems to notice or care, the same callous attitude shared with those insensitive Cabela diversions, the latter game-dom's gun-toting nadir. Much of the dialog exchanged between four shamelessly caricatured mercenaries in Evolve is too vapid for such an exploration of the possibly provocative concept. There are creatures to kill, after all, during an otherwise alluring map-wide hunt.
The action is splendidly primal. Appropriately awkward as it can be controlling the lone monster in this four-on-one conflict, there exists a lethality in their design which is naturally heartless. They have no morality, merely habitual instinct. The planet appears to have conjured them as a result of our civilization's meddlesome settlement, requiring a native defense mechanism against this rogue population.
Without such a purpose, these beasts are needless bruisers – far too dominant to be of any use to an organic food chain and their freakishly instantaneous evolution unconquerable. They're wholly illogical beings without circumstance.
Turtle Rock Studios has made a game which is big: stuffed with big guns, big people, big ships, big maps, and big villains. There are even jetpacks because who doesn't love jetpacks? Evolve is a shooter fan's checklist, hitting each of currently necessary formalities to appease a mass audience. It is rather clear they had to: speaking of big, Evolve is also plagued by big DLC.
Online multiplayer-centric releases need their community. Without players, they die off. Servers rot. Dissatisfaction rates climb. Distrust in your studio grows. Hence, why redundant cosmetic content and those confusing, flow chart ready pre-order bonuses prove insufferable. Instead of something to earn, something to keep a base of players active, Evolve pinches its material. Publisher 2K is showing little faith in their developer's work to sell during a period of first sale, so a chunk is shoved into the monetized back-end. It is a sign of woeful business immaturity and gutlessness considering the $5 spent on frivolous textures could be spent introducing yourself self to five exceptional indies.
Either way, it stings. Evolve is mildly feature thin. An offline “campaign” is a multiplayer mode with bots. World building is drab, included components cycle on repeat, actual play modes are few, and Evolve dries out after expending a perfunctory level of energy. Consumers are left to wonder if the premium priced Evolve could have been richer were development finances and time not spent on superfluous costumes or skins created to sell later.
The world of Shear should be a capable planetary host. The fairly typical class layout of medic, support, assault, and trapper (the latter contextually unique) work well as an indispensable tandem. The three monstrous faces of opposition, either anchored by gravity or capable of flight, each carry a skill set balanced to deal with their comparatively diminutive threat.
Turtle Rock's balancing is exemplary given the offset in numbers. A dog-esque creature sniffs the monster's trail and birds notably flee in a panic at the creature's presence. Dominant footsteps are heard growing closer. The sense of fear as mercs draw nearer to combat distance is palpable. Likewise, the escape method for monsters – climbing rock surfaces, cloaking - can be riveting. And, servers appear stable. That has become an all too infrequent phrase.
But instead, it's hard not to be aware that Evolve's excessive DLC ignites a disappointing social retrospective. In the 1800s, participants of the upper class tipped wine glasses, danced the waltz, wore odd wigs, and socialized. Now those with similar financial standing can pay to play AAA video games where they shoot colossal monsters. We haven't evolved as consumers of leisure time. We've devolved and are expected to spend additional money for such a dwindling privilege.