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2K Games and developer Turtle Rock Studios plan to add four new hunters and another monster to Evolve's roster at the end of the month with DLC, and I recently got some hands-on time with the upcoming content pack.
All of the additional characters introduce novel mechanics to the game, whether it's the use of charged shots with the new Trapper or the heavy emphasis on offense with the new Medic. And monster fans will surely appreciate the Behemoth and his insistence on rolling, quite literally, to victory.
I decided to try out the new Support character, Sunny, in my first few matches. If I had to rank my favorite classes, Support would probably be at the bottom of the list. The Support character plays an important role, but it can often be a less active one. Sunny remedies the situation with the Shield Drone, which automatically shields the first teammate to sustain damage in a surprisingly generous range. Placement of the Shield Drone turns out the be the most important task for Sunny, but after that, players can switch to the Mininuke Grenade Launcher to deal some serious damage. Instead of looking for teammates to shield, I was free to take an aggressive approach while my Shield Drone worked its magic… or until it was destroyed by the monster.
The other unique Sunny ability is a Jetpack Boost, which does exactly what it says and sends teammates flying across the map. It can only be used on other players, but it's a great way to cover a ton of ground in a short amount of time. The problem is that the support character ends up being left behind, and it seems largely beneficial to stick together with the rest of the group in most Evolve matches. I just didn't see many opportunities to use the Jetpack Boost in any meaningful way.
Next up is Slim the Medic, possibly my favorite new Hunter. He's an insectoid hybrid who smokes, so I was immediately on board the first time I saw him. My love of Slim only grew with the Leech Gun, which creates a "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality for the Medic class. It sounds atypical, but the Leech Gun actively reloads Healing Burst. The more you shoot the monster, the faster you recharge Healing Burst. If Slim isn't dealing damage, he isn't healing the team. I don't mind playing a support role, but the idea of playing a support role while shooting the monster sounds like an even better proposition.
Slim also carries a Healing Drone to restore teammates to 100%, but it's best used outside of battle when Hunters search for the Monster. His last tool, the Spore Cloud Launcher, is an incredibly important one. Obviously it creates a spore cloud, but it can mask the Hunters' scents. If that doesn't sound like a game changer, just wait until you see it in action. Player-monsters regularly use the outlines of Hunters to track them down, often subconsciously. The spore cloud removes those outlines, making it much harder to see the Hunters and attack them. Every time I was in a spore cloud, I had all sorts of trouble. Just another reason to love Slim.
Crow the Trapper is another character who sports an entirely different look within the world of Evolve. He wears bright green goggles and carries around his trusty bat Gobi. Players can send Gobi in any direction with the press of a button, and he flies a couple hundred meters ahead to find the monster. He comes back after a short time, acting like a boomerang of sorts in which the cooldown of the ability correlates to his return. Crow also touts a couple of fancy weapons, the first of which is the Stasis Gun. Unlike other weapons in Evolve, it features two firing modes. The rapid-fire approach slows down the monster for a short time, but a charged shot increases the duration significantly.
Crow's Kinetic Long Rifle similarly includes two firing modes. Rapid fire deals damage as any other gun does, but a charged shot completely ignores the monster's armor and deals direct damage to their health. Just think of all those times the monster only has a sliver of health left and runs away to accumulate armor. Now the Trapper can ignore all that armor and go straight for the jugular. It creates a whole new layer of strategy for the class when the player isn't busy trapping the monster with the Mobile Arena.
The last of the new hunters is Torvald the Assault soldier. His cybernetic implants allow him to use a portable Mortar Cannon, which is as awesome as it sounds. The slight arch of each shot prevents it from being used reliably indoors, but outside is the perfect opportunity to unload on the monster and deal a ton of damage. He also uses Shrapnel Grenades to create a series of weak points on the monster, which teammates can then use to their benefit. Watching all those weakpoints pop up on the monster always brings a smile to my face. Torvald also carries an Autofire Shotgun, which pops off a series of rounds with just one touch of the trigger. It means players will have to get up close and personal with the monster, but the damage makes up for the risk.
The new Hunters create a formidable team, but the Behemoth poses an even greater threat. Although he's slower with a weak point right in the center of his belly, his abilities will surely have Hunters quaking in their boots. The most prominent one is the movement ability, which allows him to roll around the map in a ball. It provides a quick escape from hunters and doubles as an offensive ability. I enjoyed rolling around the map, but I enjoyed rolling over enemies even more.
Behemoth's roll operates on a cooldown, but he also utilizes four main abilities just like the other monsters. The first one is Lava Bomb, which does splash damage and continues to burn a single area over time. I only used it on groups of Hunters, but those few instances proved to be effective. Tongue Grab was another one I used sparingly, an ability which grabs hunters from far away and pulls them towards the Behemoth. I did see someone else adopt the Tongue Grab strategy, though, and it can be terrifying in the hands of the right player.
The last two abilities are Fissure and Rock Wall; the former creates a vertical blast that can damage multiple hunters, and it ended up being my go-to offensive skill. Rock Wall was my personal favorite, a versatile ability that gets Behemoth out of jams or separates hunters. The default wall is already big, but a fully leveled up Rock Wall completely blocks hunters from reaching the monster. It's probably the Behemoth's best tool, especially in conjunction with the other abilities. Put up a Rock Wall, wait for it to go down, and then launch a Tongue Grab at an unsuspecting Hunter. Trust me, I know because I was on the receiving end many, many times.
The new mechanics of the four Hunters and the Behemoth emphasize offense and activity—it never feels like players are just waiting around for something to happen. Even the quieter roles like Trapper and Medic get their opportunity to hunt the monster, as support and offense become one with these new characters and abilities. Also, I'm pretty sure I'll never get tired of rolling around maps as the Behemoth.
Evolve owners can purchase the upcoming DLC on March 31. The $25 Season Pass provides access to all content, while the Behemoth costs $15 and the individual Hunters $7.49 each. All players will experience the content though, as Turtle Rock does not plan to divide the community. So yes, players who don't purchase the DLC may have to fight Behemoth. My condolences in advance.