EVOLVE / THE CREW [Alpha/Beta Face-Off]: Feed Me More!!
GodHatesGeeks was recently blessed with some closed Alpha and Beta codes for two of our most impressive games from E3 — Evolve (out February 10, 2015) and The Crew (December 2).
We bring back the fan-favorite Geek vs. Nerd face-off format for our thoughts on the aforementioned sluggers.
GEEK – I’m slightly afraid that Evolve is a one trick pony, a term that came from my Nerd opposition below. I can’t argue that Evolve sort of reminds me of Titanfall, where the “campaign” will more or less be a series of co-op multiplayer match-ups with little-to-no-story attached.
What Evolve does well though, it does pretty damn fucking well.
Just like Titanfall revolutionized the FPS (don’t believe me, just take a look at “Advanced Warfare”), Evolve may very well revolutionize the Co-Op experience. I mean, how many games can you think of where you can actually play as the MONSTER? Better yet, these Monsters have feelings too. The Goliath is the most basic, yet there is still a hell of a lot of strategy behind playing as this beast. Which mayhem skills do you choose? Which wildlife should you choose to spend time and eat? Yes, your Goliath (and, later, the flying, electrocuting Kraken) boost its XP on hunting down wildlife. Once either monster reaches Level 3 within the match, you can say “bye bye” to victory. In the case of Evolve, everyone is hunting everyone.
And it’s pretty damn fun– except that I really sucked playing as the monster and definitely excelled mostly with the Support character. Turtle Rock was smart enough to allow players to rank, in order, their character preference so they wouldn’t be stuck being, say, a Medic repeatedly. I love Hank — and later, Bucket (who I creamed with at E3 and Comic-Con) — because he appears to be the most well-rounded hunter of the bunch. You’re not entirely close to the action, at least you shouldn’t be, but you’re sort of relaying all the goods. Hank’s combo of shielding, camo’ing, turret-gunning, and missile-launching proved, at least to me, the most rewarding.
My only concern, after giving the Big Alpha a go for about 6-8 hours, is the question of how much it will hold up for the longterm. I stopped playing Titanfall after the first round of DLC, despite the fact I LOVED the game and still would love to go back and play more. But, let’s face it: the attention span of gamers — with the plethora of games that release weekly — is short, and just hunting down monsters (or trying to destroy a quartet of hunters) over and over and over and over and over again will get sickening. This monsignor also gets the feeling it’s goin to be another Destiny, where, if Evolve if your only gaming option, you will excel among the ranks. If you like to play a wide variety of games, you may get left behind.
Another issue I had with the Evolve Alpha are the maps themselves. They all look outstanding, and its ecosystem is full of life (especially dangerous wildlife that you’re better, for the most part, ignoring). Unfortunately, the maps thus far — and yes, I completely understand this is only an Alpha — all look the same; and the chilly wilderness, woods, creeks, etc. all give off the same vibe. Of course, we’re months away from release, so I expect more, even for the Beta.
If there is one…and let’s pray there is.
NERD – A good of number of AAA video games can be boiled down to a rinse and repeat ad nauseam video game design. Usually a lack of variety in crucial areas like gameplay, maps, etc is to blame. I don’t see Evolve running into that problem after getting some hands-on time with the Alpha.
I approach Turtle Rock’s Evolve the same way I approach their Left 4 Dead franchise. It gives back as much as you put in. If you have a good squad of friends that want a co-op/adversarial multiplayer game to sink hours and hours into then Evolve is your cup of tea.
My only complaint with Evolve is that it takes too long, and the challenges too obtuse and grindy, to unlock variety in the gameplay. I shouldn’t have to throw a rock 15 times as the Goliath to unlock the Kraken. I shouldn’t have to adapt my gameplay style and have something forced upon me to unlock more goodies. I know that worked with Call of Duty and Titanfall but it feels unnecessary in Evolve.
I would also like Evolve to provide more context of the world and reason as to why four ragtag people are cobbled together to fight one foe. Unless the Goliath killed my mother and sodomized my father, I don’t want an explanation of “because it’s a video game.”
NERD – Once you pick up The Crew and go, it’s going to be hard to stop! Especially if you’re like me and you manage to confuse the brake button with the boost button. It’s just the Beta, so I’m factoring in the additional fluidity that will come with the full version.
The Crew is fast paced and wide open. From the looks of it, the map is going to be absolutely massive and the cars will be ruthless. The missions seem creative enough to keep the game interesting. I’m looking forward to experiencing the whole story and tearing up the road in the high horsepower toys.
The vehicles have great upgrade potential and the driving physics feel a little Grand Thefty [Grand Theft Auto 5], so I have no complaints there.
The Crew is awesome so far; I hope and expect the full version will be even better. I can’t wait.
GEEK – Funny how we’ve switched roles for this one, Deacon.
As many who’ve followed GHG’s video game coverage from the past couple years know, I’ve been a huge proponenant for The Crew. In fact, I even took a liking to this new racing franchise from Ubisoft so much that I delayed purchasing critic-darling Forza Horizon 2.
I’ve always liked Forza, but there was something different — and wicked fun — about The Crew that had me switching over to the dark side. Indeed, the fact that you can drive across the “country” in 3 full gaming hours was rad. The game also played great in the handful of times at two E3’s and one Comic-Con I was able to push it along. It didn’t quite pack the speed of Burnout, or the street intrigue of Midnight Club, but it was arcadey enough to mesh with both Dirt and Need For Speed to deliver something quite unique and invigorating.
Unfortunately, my hype for The Crew ended this weekend.
Now, you’re right: It’s a Beta. Also: It was closed; very few codes were given out; and hardly anyone else was on the map to toy around with. I’m also unsure whether I was able to communicate with anyone NOT on my friends list/crew party (just like the annoyance of Destiny). That’s for sure. But, then everything appeared like Watch_Dogs again, in terms of feel and appearance. That’s not exactly a bad thing, especially since style may have been the best thing about that disappointing game.
Driving in The Crew, at least thus far in the Beta, isn’t so smooth. I love the presentation, and the upgrade system was fairly simple to use. The game just feels too tight, as if a lone lugnut was holding this one back from the finish line. The solo mission reminded me of something you’d see out of Fast & Furious or, hell, Need For Speed; I’m just waiting for all the busty Asian/Mexican babes to come kick my ass, too.
It’s cheesy, sure; but so long as enough folks like and buy The Crew to give racers plenty of multiplayer action on the tracks, there’s still plenty of hope for sunshine on this murky road trip. - Travis Moody