Evolve preview: meet the new Hunters

There's a monster on the loose and hunters are in hot pursuit. Until now, 2K and Turtle Rock had revealed four hunters for their upcoming four-on-one multiplayer monster fest Evolve. But the hunter roster is about to double, with four more characters joining the fray, one for each class. Shacknews got to check out these new characters in action, revealing a distinctly different teamwork dynamic than the other characters shown to this point. You already know Markov (Assault), Griffin (Trapper), Hank (Support), and Val (Medic). But they aren't the only ones going after the player-controlled monster, Goliath. In addition to the original four Hunters, Turtle Rock has also introduced:

  • Hyde (Assault) - Hyde has the distinction of wielding one of the most powerful weapons in the game. His flamethrower, attached to his left arm, does high damage, but it also has the shortest range of any weapon.

  • Maggie (Trapper) - Like Griffin, Maggie can trap the monster with her Mobile Arena device, keeping it in the range of other players. She also has a pet Trapjaw named Daisy, who can help track the monster by capturing the creature's scent. Daisy can also revive downed players, making her an invaluable fifth member of the team.

  • Lazarus (Medic) - While Val can heal players with her medigun, Lazarus is more of a stealth medic. Working in the shadows, Lazarus can remain cloaked and wait for his teammates to fall before reviving them.

  • Bucket (Support) - The only mechanical member of the team, Bucket's main function is recon. He can remove his head and fly it around the map to try and get an eye on the monster or spot anything else suspicious nearby. The new Hunters are meant to add unique new dynamics to each character class and give players more variety. Each character is designed from the ground-up with their own distinct personalities, dialogue, and interaction with other party members. For my first session, I took control of Hyde and attempted to make use of his flamethrower. While his standard rifle could do some damage, the goal was indeed to get in as close as possible. By activating Hyde's shield just as Goliath closed in, I was able to have his strike bounce off in time to get a face full of fire. This caused significant damage and quickly chipped away at the monster's armor. After my session with the new Assault character, I tried out the new Trapper. Maggie proved to be the best class for me, personally, as I was able to use Daisy to quickly track the monster and follow the chaos trail Goliath left around our team. Upon finding Goliath, I quickly deployed the Mobile Arena and also shot restraints on the ground to keep the monster in one place. Daisy was also a handy companion, not only acting as a guide towards the monster, but helpful at keeping other dangers at bay. Wild monsters and man-eating plants were scattered across the map and Daisy was able to keep many of these environmental dangers at bay. Goliath has also shown some improvement in recent weeks. Turtle Rock has improved his melee abilities, while also changing the manner in which he receives his abilities. Rather than select specific abilities as he levels up, Goliath will select particular abilities to focus on when the game starts. The monster will then gradually level up these abilities as the game progresses. The new Hunters add a new sense of chemistry to Evolve's team dynamic. There must be one representative from every class, but the combination of which characters take the field make for interesting variations. For example, Val could use her Anti-Material weapon to create a vulnerable spot on the monster, which Hyde could light up with his flamethrower for massive damage. It should be interesting to see what strategies teams come up with, especially as Turtle Rock reveals new monsters in the near future. Turtle Rock is also looking to expand Evolve's environments, as this demo took place in a new desert stage. The desert features caves and tighter areas, making cornering the monster more of a possibility. It also contains its own set of AI wildlife, including the massive Doom Beetle. This tank-level creature will not only make life miserable for Hunters by attacking them on sight, it will also compete with the monster for food, making it a nuisance for both sides. Evolve continues to progress in terms of its teamwork dynamic and how it treats the monster. Turtle Rock admits that balance will be a tricky endeavor, especially with the new variables tossed in by these new playable characters. But it's one that they're eagerly embracing. Evolve remains in line for a fall release on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.