After several years of development, Turtle Rock Studios has debuted its ambitious first title for the current generation: Evolve. Previously, the studio was most noted for its Left 4 Dead franchise, one that would earn it accolades and a valuable reputation.
Although Turtle Rock Studios went out of its way to craft something new and unique with Evolve, its years spent making Left 4 Dead games has resulted in some clear similarities. So, that begs the question: is Evolve or Left 4 Dead 2 the better game?
Gameplay: Runnin’ and Gunnin’
Both Evolve and Left 4 Dead 2 knock the ball out of the park when it comes to game control. Each game feels great in the hands with cohesive shooting mechanics and intuitive input. So, the major differences come down to game design.
Evolve forces its asymmetrical multiplayer, splitting players among two teams of different sizes. One team features four Human players (Hunters) of different class types that must work together to effectively utilize their skill-set, which includes gadgets and weapons with various properties. In contrast, Left 4 Dead 2‘s Human faction doesn’t have skills, and instead each player supports one another by not missing. Players can pick up weapons and tools, but there is less room for tactical play
On the other side of the fence, Evolve has four monsters that vary wildly in design. They can level up and bombard players with several attacks. Meanwhile, Left 4 Dead 2‘s core game modes don’t let players compete against one another, but in Versus they can take control of a single Infected with the option of respawning upon death. It’s far less fleshed out, mostly because Left 4 Dead 2‘s emphasis is on the four players versus A.I. style of play, something that Evolve simply doesn’t have an option for.
With all this said, Evolve is the more complex game, while Left 4 Dead 2 keeps it simple. Which you prefer is purely up to your tastes.
Setting: Where Am I?
Evolve and Left 4 Dead 2 place players in extreme scenarios.
Evolve is set in a futuristic sci-fi world where aliens challenge the livelihood of a space-borne humanity. While we’ve seen this “Humans versus Aliens” paradigm numerous times in the past, what Evolve has is particularly interesting. Its monsters are frightening to see on-screen, and its environments are unwelcoming. It is, for all intents and purposes, a cool place to be.
Left 4 Dead 2 is a zombie-themed game that stands out with its cleverly-designed Infected that range from the suicide-bomber style Boomer to the easily agitated Witch. This plays both as a strength and a weakness; while the zombie theme has been overplayed, everyone likes zombies. It helps that Left 4 Dead 2‘s flavor is one of the best that zombie games have to offer.
What these two games share in common is that their stories are told in an unconventional and minimalist manner. There aren’t long, drawn-out cutscenes like many other games off this day and age, and instead you are given bite-sized videos that substantiate your involvement in the universe. It is a style that plays well into highlighting the gameplay, but falls short of entertaining those who play games for their story.
Ultimately, zombie-themed games have been beaten to death over the years, and because of this Evolve‘s setting stands out more in the grand scheme of things.
Game Modes: The Objective
Evolve comes equipped with five game modes across 16 maps. For the most part the modes are fun to play, although Hunt tends to be heavily favored among players. It also sports A.I. that makes single-player possible, but not recommended due to their inconsistency. So, you could say that you get pidgeon-holed into playing online in its asymmetric multiplayer where there’s no room to relax.
Left 4 Dead 2 is very similar in that it brings with it several game modes, but there are two that are crowd favorites: Campaign and Versus. These two game modes feel far different in design than what Evolve offers; Campaign is all about tackling hordes of undead with your teammates with some light story to tie things together, and Versus adds an unpredictable and exciting side of competition to the game.
Frankly, Left 4 Dead 2’s options hit a wider range of entertainment types, making it a more dependable option.