At PAX East last weekend, Team Kotaku went and played Evolve, the upcoming co-op shooter that pits a group of four hunters against one vicious monster. Yesterday, we talked about it. Here's that conversation.
Jason S. Hello, Team Kotaku. We are here to talk about Evolve, the upcoming game from Turtle Rock Studios (the Left 4 Dead people), which we all played at PAX East this past weekend. Stephen (who is on vacation) was the monster, against me, Evan, Tina and Steve. Chris got to check it out too. So what'd you guys all think?
Tina A. Game of show
Jason S. It's totally up your alley
Tina A. I played it once more after you guys all left, on Sunday.
Jason S. with friends or randoms?
Evan N. I was keeping my expectations low, because I really love Left 4 Dead and have burned out on FPS for the last few years. But I loved it.
Tina A. Yeah it's exactly my kind of game. And I played the hell out of both L4Ds
Mostly friends, one random PAX goer.
Jason S. I thought it was really, really fun, even though I lost the game for us.
Tina A. Well, let's get into that.
Evan N. Let's shout out our roles. I was the Medic.
Jason S. The concept — four humans teaming up against an overpowered monster, and only overcoming him/her through teamwork — is brilliant.
Tina A. I think we made two big mistakes.
I was on Assault.
Jason S. I was the TRAPPER
Tina A. Absolutely, that's the backbone to L4D and why I love that series so much, too
Really, every FPS could go over more effectively/fun if everyone grouped together and worked like a team, but FPSes so rarely encourage that
Jason S. But in L4D you're playing against the AI, right? Here you're playing against another person, which changes everything
Tina A. Actually you play against other players too.
The difference is that there is one big "monster" like there is in Evolve — namely, the Tank
Tina A. But you have to wait to basically unlock it per level
As opposed to Evolve, where it's always the boss battle
Steve M. has entered the room
Jason S. Ahh
Chris P. I played as the Medic as well, on a different team from you guys.
Evan N. I was worried that playing as Medic would feel boring but it didn't.
Chris P. No, exactly
Jason S. Yeah, I love that core idea of a game being insurmountable unless you and your friends figure out how to work together.
Tina A. You're in constant need, and you did a great job
Jason S. So the Medic is fun?
Chris P. Yeah
Tina A. Stephen mentioned that he was having a hard time keeping our collective health down because of you, Evan
Evan N. The map we played on was so vertical that there was challenge in finding a downed player
Chris P. So, unlike a lot of other games (Like vanilla TF2) it was a really dynamic role.
Evan N. and tagging the Monster with weak spots for your partners to hit felt like a nice bit of co-operative design
Chris P. Yeah
Evan N. I'm great at healing, guys
Tina A. I thought as Assault I'd be first on the scene, but I realised quickly that the Trapper has to be tailing the monster the closest
Steve M. Using the shield on people was interesting, because you have to keep paying attention to who is getting attacked
Chris P. The Tranquilizer gun/sniper rifle combo makes it so you are pretty vital at taking this thing down.
Steve M. and the monster can spin at any second and switch targets to someone else, or to you
Jason S. Evan Narcisse, official Kotaku Healer
Tina A. Ain't that the truth
Chris P. Also, I liked how the monster's three stages varied so much in strength. The balance of power really shifts depending on how good the person playing the monster is.
Steve M. I definitely think the coolest part was that crocodile
Jason S. The crocodile that ruined our game
Tina A. Right. I played as the monster my second time around and I focused mainly on keeping distance from the hunters and eating wildlife
Evan N. Yeah, the map really felt alive with all this dangerous alien wildlife
Tina A. I was a bit more aggressive at stage 2 and went all out by stage 3
Jason S. Our team was so close to taking down Stephen Totilo, and then we ran into a crocodile. Story of my life
Evan N. YOU ran into a crocodile, Jason
Tina A. So, the monster can also get attacked by some red-outlined wildlife. Including that croc
Tina A. Yeah, with the game rep screaming for you not to!
Evan N. YOU, who was our trapper
Tina A. You trapped us
Jason S. He screamed at me AFTER I ran into the crocodile
Jason S. I only play JRPGs, so I assumed we'd go to a separate battle screen
Tina A. So that killed one of us, right? Was it you Jaosn?
Evan N. when I talked about it with Stephen afterward, he said he jumped over the crocodile and figured we'd run into it
Tina A. Yep, he knew what he was doing. I stole that tactic when I played as the Goliath, too
Evan N. and then afte we killed it, he ate it to get a bunch of energy to fuel the next stage transformation
Tina A. Except they downed him easy and got the health perk he drops when you kill him
Tina A. So that kind of didn't work out in my favour
Kirk H. has entered the room
Jason S. Did you win?
Tina A. Of course.
Tina A. I demolished them
Tina A. They never even got a chance to go to the generator that pops up when the monster hits stage 3
Kirk H. Hey are you guys talking about Evolve? That game is pretty damn fun. I won when I played as the monster. Just saying.
Kirk H. OK bye
Tina A. By that time the goal is either the monster kills the hunters, beats the generator down, or the hunters protect the generator
Kirk H.has left the room
Tina A. And they never even made it over there. I just cornered them and beat them down one by one
Evan N. We should say that we had Stephen pretty close to death
Tina A. We did! And there were two screw-ups that stole our victory.
Jason S. Sucker was on the ropes
Evan N. but Jason's screw-up and losing Steve gave him room to reover
Tina A. One was the croc we already mentioned
Tina A. The other was my fault
Tina A. I didn't realise there are venus fly trap looking things on the map?
Jason S. Kotaku readers, I want you to know that Evan has been talking shit about this crocodile for 3 straight days now
Tina A. And I ran right over one. And I guess no one was around to help me out of it because you need a teammate to shoot it off of you (thanks guys)
Chris P. That croc sucks, be fair
Tina A. So I died and knocked our team down by another hunter
Tina A. And you guys didn't stand a chance with half a team
Jason S. Well, toward the end we weren't sticking together. That's one of the keys to this game, as the humans: moving as one group
Tina A. I think we got nervous after losing Steve and Stephen having just hit stage 3
Tina A. The appearance of the generator adds some pressure
Evan N. Yeah, we weren't talking enough. Jason wasn't telling me when he needed healing, for example.
Tina A. So we all ran off to try to capture Stephen, sort of abandoning all the rules we set up at the beginning of the match
Evan N. Just one of the reasons our engagement is off, by the way
Jason S. EVAN
Jason S. I only play StarCraft II and JRPGs
Jason S. OK
Jason S. In fact, I think I deserve praise for figuring out how to control the camera in a first-person shooter
Evan N. And those games have healers, too. Do you just ram your way through those, too, Mr. Invincible?
Tina A. I actually thought you'd do much worse Jason!
Jason S. THANKS TINA
Tina A. Considering you don't love FPSes
Tina A. No I mean it as a compliment! Plus the Trapper is the most unique class to this game
Tina A. So it was harder to get a handle on
Tina A. I heard from other attendees that they had some trouble figuring out exactly how the Trapper worked
Tina A. I love the concept of the Trapper, though
Chris P. The DNA in this game is fascinating. Left For Dead and Team Fortress obviously, but also a bit of Tribes 2.
Evan N. The jet-packing was really fun and stressful at the same time.
Jason S. Yeah, the Trapper is tricky - you have to track down the monster, who could start off anywhere; then you have to trap him, keep him from escaping, and try not to get killed in the process.
Tina A. Also he can knock your harpoon off pretty easily
Evan N. Soaring up and getting great vantage is awesome but not having any fuel for when you REALLY need to zoom up was annoying. You really have to watch that meter.
Tina A. But dropping that arena around him is super helpful for the hunters
Tina A. The same goes for the monster, Evan
Jason S. Right, you can trap him with a big blue arena trap that basically keeps him within a certain radius, or you can use your harpoon gun to try to drag him around, but that's all easier said than done
Tina A. You have a three-leveled meter for jumping and have to gauge when to use it
Tina A. But he can jump pretty damn high
Evan N. ah, that's really interesting about the jump meter, Tina.
Evan N. Ok, Steve, we need to talk about you now.
Tina A. I also loved the tracking system. You either watch for blue-glowing footprints or look for disturbed birds, flying and squawking in the sky
Tina A. It feels like you're truly hunting this thing
Evan N. Steve's embarrassed.
Tina A. It's cause he was the first to die
Evan N. It's ok, Stev. We only become a better team by admitting fault.
Steve M. Only because of Jason
Steve M. So I'm not taking it too personally. I died to save him
Chris P. Steve, it's ok to cry.
Tina A. A valiant effort, Steve
Jason S. you died for my sins
Tina A. I'm only ashamed that the other team killed off the croc so easy
Steve M. I have a question
Tina A. When it took us some effort
Steve M. how was I the first to die?
Tina A. I think we were very caught by surprise
Steve M. If I was still there at the generator part?
Tina A. Didn't you die at the croc battle? Who died then?
Evan N. Is there a heaven for a G?
Steve M. Looks like we've got some more revisionist history going on here
Evan N. I think the dropship respawned one of you guys in time
Tina A. Yeah I thought that was what happened
Jason S. The dropship takes way too long
Steve M. oh yeah that's true
Tina A. I know someone died
Steve M. I forgot about the dropship
Tina A. Agreed. It took like a minute 30 for me to get back, and then there's a mini cut scene on top of that!
Steve M. No, I think it was a pretty fair amount of time. It could do without the cutsscene though
Tina A. By the time I was ready to drop back in, the generator failed
Evan N. MY big mistake was playing keepaway with Monster Stephen and trying to wait for Tina to respawn, when I was the last player alive
Jason S. RIP Steve Marinconz. He died as he lived: fighting crocodiles.
Evan N. I should been shooting at him
Steve M. I tried to use the orbital strike at the generator part but forgot we were indoors
Tina A. I don't know that you'd have taken him out. But yes, maybe
Steve M. I think if Evan and I had focused, we could've done it
Steve M. But the coach guy just kept telling me to run away
Tina A. We hadn't adapted to the game yet. I think after a few rounds we would have gotten our footing a bit more
Evan N. yeah, I was following those cues, too
Tina A. I was using my mines a lot more about mid-battle, for instance, when I realised how much damage they deal
Jason S. OK, so... game of the show?
Tina A. For me!
Tina A. I literally left the second playthrough cackling
Tina A. I think I scared some children
Steve M. Yeah, I think we had him in the pit and it was filled with mines is when we did the most damage
Evan N. I can't wait until the next time I can play it again. It's been a good long while since I've felt that way about an FPS.
Jason S. Problem is, a lot of awesome-looking games just don't demo very well. Evolve does, though. And I can totally see us all playing that a LOT.
Chris P. I didn't play enough Below, but Evolve is definitely a contender for me.
Steve M. Evolve didn't give us stroopwafels though
Steve M. Just keep that in mind
Jason S. I dunno what that means
Chris P. One of the indie booth had weirdo dutch cookies
Tina A. More like deliciouso
Evan N. delciouso seconded
Jason S. How come every time we talk about games we just wind up talking about snacks? TYPICAL KOTAKU. OK, thanks guys. Evolve is out this fall, I believe, for PC, PS4, Xbox One. Sweet.