2K Games has delivered a bunch of excellent news for fans of Evolve today, including a solo game variant for all of you single players out there, an open beta, which is set to take place in mid-January, and finally, the reveal of the game’s third playable monster. A little over six months after the game’s second monster, Kraken, was unveiled back during E3 2014, Turtle Rock Studios has graced us with the presence of a brand new beast, and her name is Wraith. Just look at her:
If I had to describe her in three words, they’d be these: predator on steroids. She’s a menacing stealth assassin and bonafide master of deception. Wraith’s assortment of threats include cunning trickery, lightening quick speed, cloaking, and the very sharp blades that are protruding from her arms. I was lucky enough to have the folks from 2K stop by Nerdist HQ a couple of days back and let me take her for a spin via the game’s newly announced “Evacuation” mode, which I’ll touch on a bit more later.
Right off the bat, I got a taste of Wraith’s teleport maneuver, an ability that allows her to quickly traverse the map while being difficult to keep a visual on. The teleport move is similar to that of Kraken’s flying lunge in that you can only perform the maneuver up until you’ve depleted your stamina bar– which is now visible on the outer rim of your reticule in this latest build of the game.
The first move, called “Decoy”, allows her to emit a damage-dealing clone of herself while simultaneously cloaking her actual presence, which also lets her to move around undetected. This is a highly effective ability to use when trying to escape rigorous confrontations with the hunters, and even is useful in simpler situations like feeding– mainly because her decoy can murder wildlife as you simultaneously feed, saving you lots of time and making her evolution process move much quicker.
Wraith’s next move, called “Abduction”, allows her to teleport long distances, snatch hunters, and return with them back to her original position, all in one fell swoop. This is hands down one of the game’s creepiest monster abilities: seeing one of your buddies get snatched up and disappear without a trace is harrowing to say the least. This comes in handy when attempting to single out a specific hunter, or when trying to split up the pack of hunters on your tail. Wraith can also use this ability on the game’s various indigenous creatures as well.
“Warp Blast” allows Wraith to teleport within range of a target, unleashing a devastating explosion before returning to her original position. And finally, there’s her “Super Nova”, which is when Wraith unleashes a flurry of quick melee attacks with her blades, dealing a heap of damage to anyone in close range. It’s rather evident that Wraith is equipped with quite the deadly assortment of skills, and players are going to have a hell of a time making use of her offensive maneuvers.
On the other side of the coin, however, is the fact that if Wraith was an MMA fighter, she’d likely be knocked out in the first round of any fight upon taking a few strikes. She is undoubtedly the “squishiest” of the game’s three monsters, meaning when it comes to health and armor, she’s no where near as durable in confrontations with the hunters. I found myself using “increased armor” and “take less damage” perks in order to keep her life bar from rapidly depleting, and even then, if there ever was a moment I found myself trapped by the hunters and at the mercy of their firepower, Wraith’s ability to withstand the onslaught of this was atrocious. This may sound like a drag after hearing about her killer set of offensive abilities, but Wraith’s lack of sturdiness is the one thing that balances her out, preventing her from being an overpowered and clear-cut top tier choice out of the monsters.
An increasing concern for many players after the Evolve “Big Alpha” conclusion, was the amount of replay value the game would offer out of the gates. Sure, the gameplay 2K has been feeding us up to now has been stellar, but the question of replay value has definitely been a worthwhile inquiry for many still on the fence about dropping $60 on the game. What about the gamers who prefer to play games alone? Turtle Rock has a solution for those players in their newly revealed “Evacuation” game variant.
This variant of the game plays a lot similar to the campaigns in the Left 4 Dead series, and consist of 5 different matches spread across the game’s various maps and modes. You can either play as the monster and take on 4 computer controlled hunters, or you can play as the hunters, with the ability to switch between them at any time while taking on a computer controlled monster. The first four matches in “Evacuation” take place across a rotation of the modes “Hunt”, “Rescue”, and “Nest”. The final round, however, is a match of “Defend”, and the winner of this round is the winner of the entire “Evacuation” session, regardless of how the other 4 rounds played out. Oh yeah, and there’s also a twist: every time one side wins a round, they get a special advantage called a “map condition” for the following round. Take a look at some of these for yourself right below:
So will you have to wait for Evolve‘s release to get your hands on all this new content? Not at all, partner! Turtle Rock Studios will be conducting an open beta on the Xbox One from January 15 through January 21. The beta will feature Goliath, Kraken, 8 of the hunters, and 12 maps to kick things off, and then add in Evacuation on January 17. 2K also mentioned that “closed technical test” would be held on the PC and PS4, but nowhere near the extent of the open beta being conducted on Xbox One. Looks like I’ll be yelling “Xbox on” quite a bit to start off the new year.
If there’s one thing that’s always been consistent about Evolve, it’s that I have never played a match in this game that wasn’t intense from the start to the very end. Perhaps it’s the thrill of being outnumbered four versus one, or the pressure of not losing a match when you have the numbers advantage. Maybe it’s the excess of hostile creatures and deadly environmental variables that make roaming the grounds of Evolve enjoyably nerve-racking. The latest additions that 2K Games has unveiled today are going to create even more glorious tension on the field of battle.
That was a lot of Evolve news to consume in one day, and certainly a hell of a way for Turtle Rock to close out a roller coaster year in the public eye. All signs are pointing at Evolve being a serious contender for best shooter of 2015, and we’ll be keeping a tracking dart planted all up in this game leading up to its public beta in mid-January.
Does the announcement of the third and final monster ramp up your hype levels for Evolve? Is the inclusion of an offline/single player mode enough to make you drop $60 on this if you weren’t planning to already? Unleash an orbital strike of your thoughts into the comments below.