Do you run solo as a giant monster or hunt the beast with your friends? That’s the question you’ll need to start thinking about today when you pre-order and pre-download 2K and Turtle Rock Studios’ upcoming asymmetric shooter Evolve.
To celebrate the launch of the game, the following two Evolve game bundles are available for pre-order globally, starting today, through the Xbox Store online or on your console:
- Xbox One Evolve Pre-Order Edition, available starting today for $59.99, includes the standard game, plus a Monster Expansion Pack, Team C and Wraith.
- Xbox One Evolve Deluxe Edition, available starting today for $79.99, includes the standard game, plus a Season Pass, a Monster Expansion Pack, Team C, and Wraith.
Starting today, anyone with Xbox Live Gold can also begin to pre-load the Evolve Xbox One Open Beta so that they’re ready to begin playing the moment the servers come online this Thursday, January 15.
As a refresher, the beta will be open to anyone with an Xbox Live Gold account and will feature two playable monsters (Goliath and Kraken), eight hunters and 12 playable maps. In addition, beginning on Saturday, February 17, beta players will get the exclusive chance to go hands-on with Evacuation mode. And don’t forget, any hunter or monster characters gamers unlock during the beta will carry over to their game when Evolve launches on February 10.
We recently had the chance to take another look at Evolve, and at first glance, it might seem that it’s about what other shooters are about: aiming and shooting. Sticking and moving. Having the biggest gun. But it’s not about any of those things – at least, not primarily.
“It’s about controlling space,” says Turtle Rock Studios Co-Founder Chris Ashton, “It’s not about ‘Can I get that head shot or hit the right pixel,’ it’s not twitch-y. It’s about choosing to fire the right special ability at the right time.” Of course, Ashton is referring to people playing Evolve‘s monsters, one-half (or one-fifth, depending on how you look at it) of the game’s playable characters. Playing the monster – whether it be the ground-and-pound Goliath, or the Cthulhu-looking Kraken, or any of the other monsters – is about knowing how to corral the hunters (the other half/four-fifths of the game), focus on the one you want to eliminate, and use the right special abilities to take them down.
None of this requires snap-like reflexes, or killer stick sensitivity, or even a heck of a lot of previous shooter experience. Instead, says Ashton, Evolve rewards the same sorts of skills you might get in a fighting game, like the Street Fighter series.
Perhaps that’s why Evolve plays so smoothly and so well on the Xbox One controller. Many shooters, born and bred in the world of keyboard and mouse, require a huge learning curve to get good with thumbsticks and bumpers. Not so with Evolve; in fact, Ashton admits to being primarily a keyboard-and-mouse guy for most of his games, but says he plays Evolve exclusively with the Xbox One controller, despite his more familiar control options being available. “We designed it from day one with controllers in mind,” Ashton says – and that philosophy is clear.
But it’s also the specific experience of Xbox One that makes this game so fun to play. Evolve is a game of moments writ large: an amazing save to rescue a teammate, a monster bursting out of nowhere to wreck a perfect plan, a struggle to save that one last survivor. And the Xbox One allows you to easily record, share, and relive those moments with your friends. According to Ashton, much of Evolve‘s basis is in the great monster movies of the past – and with the Xbox One, you can create that personal monster-movie experience, while at the same time enjoying the heck out of Evolve‘s shooter aspects.
Of course, playing the hunters gives you a bit more traditional first-person shooter look… but even here, Evolve emphasizes teamwork, strategy, and quick thinking over twitch reflexes and pinpoint accuracy. You’ll need to pick from among the 12 available hunters to form a party that can complement each others’ skills, and then make sure you come up with a plan and execute it properly – even during disruptions by the monster – if you want to succeed. Even the biggest, baddest Call of Duty or Counter-Strike MVP won’t be of use if he doesn’t know the strengths and weaknesses of his team in Evolve.
In short, Evolve does Xbox One FPS right. Its control scheme is the smoothest we’ve seen for a shooter on the Xbox One controller, its gameplay emphasizes community and teamwork, and it allows for the unique kinds of entertainment experiences that Xbox One is designed to provide.