Evolve Online: Survival of the quickest (on the class menu)

The many frustrations to be endured by playing with individuals who won’t work as a team in Evolve are well-covered in our main review . But while that’s not entirely Turtle Rock’s fault, at least some of the teeth-grinding could have been averted by smarter matchmaking.

Would it have sent development budgets spiralling out of control to include a voting lobby enabling the swift banning of troublesome players? Probably not. And while it’s true that Evolve’s class system guides each player’s hand into cooperation with broad success, it only takes one…

Matchmaking works inasmuch as it’ll get you in a game quickly, but there  are bizarre issues along the way. You’re given the opportunity to rank your preferred classes in order before the match begins and you’re all assigned roles, for example, but more than once I found myself ousted from my beloved Medic and into the Support role, the round’s sole AI participant now on healing duty. Bizarre.

It’s happier news in terms of server stability. In tens of hours of play I could count the number of times I was spat back out into the main menu on one hand. The hand I’m missing two fingers on due to a freak ‘speaking ill of Destiny while Matt and Dave are within earshot’ accident. Lag has never been a perceptible issue in all that time, either. Frankly, by contrast to its contemporaries it’s something of a launch day golden child simply for managing to keep its servers afloat.
We’ve bigger fish to fry here: Evolve’s long-term plan. You’re probably familiar with its DLC schedule by now, such was the internet braying it instigated. There’s already an extra monster, the Behemoth, waiting in the DLC wings for those players who pre-ordered, along with several extra skins. A new Hunter in each class is also headed to all season pass holders in the spring, and while there are DLC maps on the way they’ll all be free, so as not to split the community. In fact, Turtle Rock has promised all DLC maps will be free.

So will the game’s longevity depend on your willingness to drop some coin? Well, no-one likes day one downloadable extras, but those extras don’t seem likely to hobble long-term appeal. There’s enough enjoyment to be had in figuring out the perfect combo of on-the-disc Hunters within each class to keep you going for a while. Currently the volume of maps isn’t an issue but environment diversity is so Turtle Rock’s free drops may well prove to be more important than its premium ones.

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