Evolve Preview with Beta access Information

Get ready to be the hunter or the hunted as Turtle Rock and 2K's Evolve comes ever closer...

Evolve Preview for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC

Against all odds…

Turtle Rock Studios imprinted itself onto the minds of gamers with its action packed Left 4 Dead adventures, headlined by two key features: almost non-stop shooting and co-op for up to four people seeking to survive the zombie apocalypse. Considering the original Left 4 Dead debuted in 2008 and co-op is such a big staple of multiplayer games today (Destiny and Assassin's Creed Unity come to mind), the developers at Turtle Rock are pioneers.

The company's newest project, Evolve, also features co-operative play, except it's four versus one. This seems like unfair odds at first until you realise that one person controls a gigantic monster, set loose within a hostile planet where almost every living thing (plant or animal) poses a threat. Players may fall into a man-eating plant's clutches, or wander upon some four-legged beast. The person controlling the monster, however, can feast upon these indigenous critters to regain health. All told, it's one of the more ambitious first person games we've seen in quite some time.

Hunters' paradise

Broken into its most basic elements, Evolve pits four Hunters against one monster in a winner-take-all fight to the death. The Hunters must work as a team and play off their strengths, while the lone wolf guides his or her creature through this alien world plotting the next course of attack.

That said, there are four classes of Hunters to choose from, broken into three unique characters per class. The tank-like Assault class, for example, comes with weapons designed to do serious damage. Markov the cyborg comes equipped with an Assault Rifle and Lightning Gun that spews electricity, while Parnell packs a Combat Shotgun and multi-fire Rocket Launcher, as well as the ability to deploy a personal shield.

The Trapper class, on the other hand, excels at finding the monster. Enter Maggie, who can activate her Harpoon Trap to contain the creature within a much smaller area while her pet Daisy nips at its heels. Complimenting her is Griffin, who contains the monster and his cohorts within a dome using his harpoon gun.

From there, the Medic class does its best to keep other teammates alive. Val can increase health with her Healing Burst, or fire a regenerative ray with the Medgun. If she doesn't suit you, Lazarus carries a device that revives dead Hunters, as well as a cloak that makes him temporarily invisible.

Finally we have the Support class, which appears to have a jack-of-all-trades type focus. Bucket the robot deploys sentry guns and "tags” the monster with his detachable head; a monster may give away its position if it wanders through some birds that immediately fly away. The grizzled Hank, however, calls upon an Orbital Barrage and activates a shield to protect his buddies. Keep in mind there are more characters in the game, each of which carries signature weapons and equipment.

Going bump in the night

At first glance, the Hunters have the clear advantage with their missile launchers, flamethrower and armour-piercing sniper rifles. Rest assured, though, that the monsters are capable of squashing whoever gets in their way, starting with the powerful Kraken, a squid-like beastie that conjures images of H.P.'s Lovecraft's Cthulhu. In addition to floating around the maps, the player can pull off a lightning strike to zap his or her opponents, lay down explosive banshee mines and a vortex that knocks Hunters backwards.

The Goliath, a ground-based brute, melts enemies with its fire breath. If that doesn't work, the destructive charge lets it smash through Hunters, and when all else fails, it can hurl boulders their way.

Evolve Preview for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC

Evolve will also let someone control the Wraith, a space alien with the ability to create a clone of itself that deals damage, and a warp blast to instantly travel to a Hunter, leaving this unlucky person wide open to an abduction. Keep in mind that Turtle Rock plans to release new monsters after Evolve releases, including the lava spewing Behemoth, the largest character in the game.

How does it all come together? One of Evolve's mode's, Evacuation, tasks Hunters with evacuating a colony, destroying monster eggs and completing other objectives. The monster's goal, conversely, is to thwart the Hunters' plans and consume as many colonists as possible in the hope of evolving and thereby growing stronger.

The player controlling the monster must resist the urge to rush in and attack all four Hunters at once, instead opting to sneak around. The thought of a humongous creature sneaking around may seem strange, but the different maps have plenty of fauna and high areas.

The thrill of the hunt

Evolve's biggest potential issue comes down to balance, or lack thereof. Turtle Rock must do its part to make both sides even while teaching monster players how to survive against four heavily armed adversaries. If it succeeds while offering a steady drip of downloadable content, Evolve could become one of the first hits of 2015.

You Beta be ready! - Beta access has now ended.

From January 15th to January 19th, Xbox One gamers will be able to Lock-and-Load or, sharpen those claws, depending on their allegiance, as the Evolve Beta lands on Xbox LIVE.

During the Evolve Beta, players will be able to play Evolve's "Hunt” mode using the Goliath and the Kraken, as well as using the first eight hunters across all 12 maps that use "Hunt”.

On January 17th, Evolve's "Evacuation” mode will go live. "Evacuation is a dynamic campaign that sees the hunters trying to escort as many people off world as possible whilst the monster tries to eat them. Evacuation combines maps and modes to create unique and diverse experience everytime you play.

As a bonus, any monster or hunter character bonuses that you unlock whilst playing will carry over to the full game when Evolve launches February 10th!

SKU: Previews-321843
Release Date: 15/01/2014