Evolve Is One Of The Best Games We Saw At PAX

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 realized 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 favor

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. Okay 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 realize 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. OKAY

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 okay, 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 okay 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've 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 realized 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.