Evolve Stage 2 Is One Of The Best Free-To-Play Games Around

Evolve Stage 2 Is One Of The Best Free-To-Play Games Around

Evolve has gone free-to-play, it’s something many expected and predicted. The original retail release was bogged down with pre-order content, retailer exclusives and season pass trickery. Things were so messy that charts were created in order for customers to see what they’re money entitled them to.

The backlash was glorious, people widely rejected the game and bemoaned the DLC heavy model. Evolve’s player base tanked, barely reaching respectable numbers. Turtle Rock Studios still produced content, but what was the point if no one was playing?

Known as Evolve Stage 2, the new free-to-play format is exactly what the game needed. Evolve was never a bad game, it was just bogged down by all DLC bullshit. This new model allows more players to jump into the game, breathing life into concepts that hold a ton of potential. Four Vs One gameplay is slowly growing in popularity, giving Evolve Stage 2 a healthy platform to grow.

Cautious minds will no doubt approach the game expecting the worst. Free-to-play is regularly used a ruse to sell content via pay walls. This is done by making 90% of the game’s good stuff difficult to unlock. Either grind for hours upon hours, or pay to instantly unlock it. Evolve Stage 2 is nothing like that. Everything you see in the game is easily obtainable, fancy skins included.

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This, above everything else, is the main reason why I feel like I almost have to champion the game. They’ve seen the problems caused by the initial release and responded. There was nothing stopping them from making all of the in-game content require long play sessions to unlock, while tempting with instant access for a premium.

Evolve Stage 2 is the perfect example of making the best of a bad situation. The game was dead in the water, people used it as a punchline rather than a video game. Gifting it a new lease of life in a free-to-play format is the perfect step forward. Will it result in the game becoming hugely popular? Perhaps not, but at least it’ll have a damn player base.

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There’s still a few issues, but it’s all found within the DNA of the game. Chasing the monster around the map can become a little repetitive. Some of the characters can feel a little weak, leaving a sense of dissatisfaction when playing. Maps have always, and still do, come off as feeling tame. Given the world, its wildlife and the concept of the game, each map never feels like it makes the best of its resources.

For the most part, Evolve Stage 2 is pretty damn good. Boasting a large selection of hunters and monsters, there’s a fair amount of depth and variation to explore. Everything can be unlocked by simply playing, nothing is trapped away behind a pay wall or huge requirement of your time. Evolve still looks and sound brilliant, running nicely in the process.

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Even though the damage might have already been to the name, Evolve Stage 2 is certainly wroth checking out. There’s hours of quality content on offer for free, with very little negative to speak of. If this proves to be a successful transition, maybe 2K’s other dead product Battleborn will follow suit.

Just to give the free-to-play transition a sense of perspective…

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Sean Halliday


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