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Make it a (Virtual) Reality: Evolve

You’ve lost sight of the target. Wading through bushes that stretch out into the dense forest, it’s becoming impossible to gather your bearings. Your teammates are all lost, trying to lick their wounds from the disastrous last battle. The light drizzle of rain creates a consistent din as it hits broad leafs and flickers of lightning provided momentary illumination. You hear a muffled grunt from above and your eyes begin to climb the nearest tree trunk. For a split second you catch sight of the Wraith hovering above you. A moment later and it’s all over.

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This week sees the release of one of the most intriguing new IP of the new console generation in Evolve. This first-person shooter (FPS) from Left 4 Dead team Turtle Rock Studios packs plenty of promise, offering a unique 4 vs 1 multiplayer in which a team of four player-controlled humans attempt to take down one of four different types of monster, which is also operated by another player. You don’t have to look at Evolve for long to realise that it prides itself on presentation and invention, making it an interesting candidate for a VR adaption.

There are of course two sides to playing Evolve with VR: human and monster. For the former, head-mounted display (HMD) integration would allow for one of the most immersive multiplayer VR experiences yet as players explore the richly-detailed planet of Shear, tracking monsters and using unique weaponry to bring them down. It’s perhaps the early stages of matches, in which players are searching for the enemy that could benefit most from VR. Creeping through jungles, industrial facilities and other environments as you frantically search high and low would bring life to the hunt.

That said, it’s hard to deny that mixing VR with playing as the monsters is where Evolve could truly standout. The videogame offers four unique beasts and each one of them would be a thrill to control in VR. The Goliath, for example, is a brute that towers over his enemies and attempts to crush them link ants, something that could feel truly empowering in VR. The Kraken, on the other hand, soars through the air and unleashes long-ranged attacks that could give players a truly liberating feeling in VR. The aforementioned Wraith is a versatile stealth killer that silently hovers around maps, turning players into virtual predators. Finally, the Behemoth dwarfs everything in its path, making it something of a powerhouse that would turn VR players into near-invincible tanks.

Hopefully the Evolve franchise has a future ahead of it. While current VR technology might not be suitable to bring truly immersive experience to this fast-paced action videogame, it might have caught up by the time a potential sequel rolls around. If that’s the case, then perhaps VR could be on the map for this intriguing series.