This is the fourth occasion that I've played Evolve, having now taken the reins as eight different hunters and two monsters in Turtle Rock's 4 vs. 1 multiplayer Jurassic Park wannabe. What's most striking about the game is that every match played has been so different that the rest. It has never failed to feel anything other than fresh each time.
Our latest demo took place on the newly-unveiled Distillery map, an environment of cliffs and valleys punctuated by dilapidated grey/brown industrial equipment and infrastructure. It's the kind of place that the marketing goons responsible for box-of-the-blurbs would describe as featuring 'awesome verticality'... whatever that means.
Match one sees me play as Lazarus the medic, my team taking on the Kraken monster. The quadruplet of hunters must consist of one of each class type (medic, support, assault, trapper), but there are multiple versions of each class - so some minute customisation is possible. Lazarus, for example, has a silenced rifle that deals a small amount of damage. Val, another medic, has a rifle that is not silenced, doesn't deal damage, but creates weak points on the monster for other hunters to exploit.
Both of them can heal themselves and others, obviously.
The Kraken can fly, making it dangerous in Distillery's open spaces and generally any area featuring a lack of ceiling cover. Ideally, as the hunters you want to ambush it within one of the map's small gorges using the trapper's dome and harpoon gadgets. Dome creates a temporary force field through which the monster cannot pass, while the harpoon restricts and slows its movement. If you let the Kraken simply soar above you and use its ranged electrical attacks from the air then you're going to be quickly fried.
Game two saw a complete switch, different hunters and a different monster. Goliath has been shown off before and has become somewhat of a snarling poster boy for Evolve. He's all teeth and muscle, the stereotypical Godzilla-esque monster behind which this otherwise-not-very-intuitive game can rally around.
The rules for facing Goliath are different. Whatever you do, you don't want to confront it in confined spaces. He is enormously powerful when up close and can sustain significantly more damage than the Kraken, simply standing in front of him and unleashing lead is going to get you all killed.
I lost my match against the Goliath, but some success was achieved by dropping the dome around him in an area that featured that 'awesome verticality' inherent to Distillery. By spreading the hunters across different platforms Goliath cannot focus its attacks on one area and, because the bulk of its abilities work best in close combat, whenever he attacks one of you the other three can rally together in unison without much fear of being picked off at range.
Evolve continues to display that level of diversity that is so crucial for a multiplayer-focused game to achieve. Of course, all that I've played so far has been done so alongside other players that are far from a level that could be described as 'expert'. Developer Turtle Rock's real challenge will be in balancing the game to such a point that top-level players cannot simply regurgitate the same tactics and strategies once they've learned a successful pattern for each given map/monster.