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Game Review

There's not a lot of involved story that ever crawls up out of the ocean here. Human colonists, we're told, have landed on a distant planet called Shear. But there's no alien super-race of purple-blooded ravagers to gun it out with. Nope. We simply land on a vast world packed with lots of colonizing potential ... along with a passel of deadly plants, dinosaur-like wildlife and a gigantic flesh-munching monster of course. That's about all there is to tell.

So what does it mean, then, to play a first-person shooter hybrid? Well, in the case of Evolve, you can slip into the shoes and gun belt of a Hunter to take down that gigantic flesh-munching monster. Or, if you're tired of the same repetitive grind of running around and blasting things ... you can be the flesh-munching monster.

A Talented Team of Strangers
Building a human squad of heroes is pretty familiar for anyone who's played this sort of game before, so let's start there. You can play on your own in single-player mode with a team of game-controlled AI compatriots if you want. But, frankly, this adventure is designed for online multiplayer skirmishes with individual real-life players choosing up teams on the spot and jumping into the action as one of four different types of Hunters: Assault, Support, Trapper or Medic.

Assault Hunters are the big men with the big guns on the alien campus, leading the charge into the wild black yonder. Support guys help their squad with projected shields and cloaking devices. Trappers track the beasties and lay down things such as anchoring harpoons and creature-slowing force fields. And Medics, well, they just work to keep everybody else alive. There are actually 12 unique characters in these classes to choose from once they're all unlocked, each with a special gift, skill or weapon that none of the others can match.

There are numerous topographically varied maps these teams will have to explore and memorize. And there are a number of modes to play through: among them the straightforward Hunt mode, the monster egg-destroying Nest mode, the generator-protecting Defend mode and a five-match-combining mega-battle called Evacuation mode.

One Behemoth Beastie
The "team" on the other side of the densely forested battle map is, well, just a single player manning one of three possible roaring, ripping, fire-breathing and boulder-tossing monsters. There's the textbook ground-pounding Goliath, the airborne fight-from-a-distance Kraken, and the physically weaker but lightning-fast hit-and-run Wraith.

The mission for these mountain-like critters is pretty similar every time. The monster starts off as a rather weak entry-level foe. Why, he can barely crush a building or devour a torn-open titan without getting a bit winded. So it's up to players to use climbing and sneaking skills (yes, this mountain-sized monster can somehow sneak), along with a keen sense of smell, to kill and devour as many nearby smaller dinos as possible before the big showdown.

Every goopy, bone-crunching meal builds strength and armor, storing up genetic material that eventually triggers an "evolve" mechanic and moves the beastie through three stages of "being"—each level improving his ripping, burning and even trap-placing skills.

Who Are You Calling Fresh?
And here's where the intensity and strategy planning on both sides kicks in:

If the monster can't keep himself hidden long enough to gobble up all the evolution-spurring flesh and entrails he needs, the heavily equipped humans will slice him to ribbons. But if the earthlings can't efficiently work together and track Mr. Monster down before he levels up to King Kong strength, then he'll be pretty much unstoppable.

From a pure gameplay perspective, then, the landscape maneuvering and strategic teamwork choices can feel fresh when compared to your typical battlefield war game. From a pure content perspective, though, fresh falls on some hard times.

This is an intense and frenetic kill-or-be-killed battler. All the Hunters switch quickly between tools and weapons as they blaze away at their prey. From that ground-level viewpoint, there are people falling from vicious monster attacks, spewing blood, etc. Screaming wildlife gets caught in the crossfire, and fallen carcasses fill the screen with gory, ripped-apart torsos and dangling intestines. There are also f- and s-words littered across the digital dialogue.

From the towering monster's-eye view, things aren't quite so goopy. But you're still smashing, blasting, clawing, frying and wetly gobbling up anything that moves. The final Plugged In assessment, then, is that this is indeed an FPS with some interesting half-turns from the run-and-gun same ol'. But truly evolutionary it is not.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

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Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

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Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

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