While us viewers pine over the beautiful Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga), it’s disturbing to see Norman’s ancestral fantasies realizes on screen.
A&E recently set the premiere for the third season of “Bates Motel” for March 9, 2015, and now has released the most compelling promo yet.
While it’s already known that Norman’s descent into madness is well underway, nobody expected it to progress this quickly. The promo shows a ton of footage from Season 3 that teases just how dark it will go. Watch your skin crawl as Norman obsesses over “mother” in a series of truly disgusting shots.
“Bates Motel” is a contemporary prequel to the genre-defining film Psycho, and gives viewers an intimate portrayal of how Norman Bates’ psyche unravels through his teenage years.
Series stars Vera Farmiga in her Emmy-nominated role as Norma Bates and Freddie Highmore as Norman.
After a blissful summer of closeness with his mother, living within the safe confines of home and the Bates Motel, Norman’s fears about what really happened with Blaire Watson resurface and Norma questions what really happened. Forced to look at the truths about Norman for the first time, their deeply intricate relationship continues to evolve. Norma finds herself turning to the other man in her life, Norman’s half-brother, Dylan (Max Thieriot) and begins to rely on him in ways that she never expected. This relationship inevitably triggers jealousy in Norman and a new kind of love triangle between Norma and her two sons erupts. Estranged brother and uncle, Caleb (Kenny Johnson) returns to haunt the family throughout the season challenging the family bond even further. Pressures of the outside world take a hold of the family when newcomers Kevin Rahm (“Mad Men,” “Desperate Housewives”), Tracy Spiradakos (“Revolution”) and Ryan Hurst (“Sons Of Anarchy”) arrive at White Pine Bay. After a summer of living at the Bates Motel, Sheriff Romero (Nestor Carbonell) and Norma have grown closer but there will always have that troubling question mark surrounding Norman. Something doesn’t feel right, but spite of his instincts, Romero finds himself continually drawn back to the Bates family — and to Norma. Emma (Olivia Cooke) also determined to find out what is happening to Norman becomes more emboldened, fearless, goes after the things she wants. Familiar face, Bradley (Nicola Peltz) returns to surprise the family and digs up old memories.
Filmax (the [REC] franchise, Summer Camp) has released an international poster for Sweet Home, with Rafa Martinez at the helm. It will open in Spain on May 8, 2015.
Sweet Home is described as a realistic and claustrophobic film that keeps track of the scariest side.
Here’s a translation of the film’s plot: “The plot is situated in a daily environment: a couple decides to spend a romantic evening in a floor of a semi-abandoned building that slip because she works as a consultant for the council house and got the keys. During the evening they discover that a hooded murderer is the only tenant left in the building…and they have become the new target.“
Ingrid Garcia Jonsson (Beautiful Youth) stars with Bruno Sevilla (Mindscape).
Martinez co-wrote the screenplay with Teresa of Rosendo and Ángel Agudo.
The English-language Sweet Home is produced by Julio Fernandez.
The UK distribution of The Babadook (review, review #2) is going all out, having just released the ‘dook onto the London streets, and now teasing hidden content. The film is now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital, and we’re told that there’s special features hiding within the disc. Below is a clue…
“Six years after the violent death of her husband, Amelia (Essie Davis) is at a loss. She struggles to discipline her out of control 6 year-old, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), a son she finds impossible to love. Samuel’s dreams are plagued by a sinister monster he believes is coming to kill them both. When a disturbing storybook called ‘The Babadook’ turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that the creature in the book is the monster he’s been dreaming about. His hallucinations spiral out of control and as he becomes more unpredictable and violent, Amelia is genuinely frightened by her son’s behaviour.
But when Amelia begins to see glimpses of a sinister presence all around her, it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about – The Babadook – may be real after all…“
Directed by visionary first-time director Jennifer Kent, The Babadook looks set to be the most terrifying release of 2015, as well as one of the most critically acclaimed.
Today brings the 4th entry into our exclusive weekly series of teasing the upcoming My Enemies & I EP Sick World, which comes out March 10th! This is the penultimate teaser, with next week wrapping up this exclusive run!
For this week’s clip, we’re teasing the track “Parables”, which begins with a rather sinister vibe before entering an anthemic chorus, one that will no doubt get fans singing along!
Tour dates with Arcane Haven and Alaya
Feb 18th | Richmond, VA Canal Club
Feb 19th | Fayetteville, NC The Drunk Horse Pub
Feb 20th | Spartanburg, SC @ Ground Zero
Feb 21st | Evansville, IN The Hobo Jungle
Feb 22nd| Sauget, IL @ Pop’s
Relapse Records is celebrating 25 years of bringing some of the best metal, sludge, hard rock, and more by offering a MASSIVE 184-track compilation that features songs from their entire roster over their career. Clocking in at right around 13 hours of music, this compilation is perfect for anyone seeking new music. You’ll get amazing retrosynth from Zombi, badass sludge metal via Mastodon, experimental noise courtesy of Merzbow (watch your headphone volume level when starting this one up), and a helluva lot more.
Oh, and did I mention that it’s set at a ‘Name Your Price’ model? This is a 100% no-brainer, so get your ass over to Bandcamp and snatch this one up. I also highly recommend picking up a shirt or beanie to show your support and make sure that Relapse is around for another 25 years and longer!
Stream the full collection of music below.
Mick Taylor is among the greatest slashers of all time, and even though it feels like Wolf Creek 2 would be the final entry in the franchise, the Aussie slasher will be taking his carving talents to the small screen.
Australia’s 9 News reports that subscription video-on-demand service Stan announced it has signed a production development deal for a six-part “Wolf Creek” series!
John Jarratt will return as the villain Mick Taylor in the series, which is currently being developed by director, writer and producer Greg McLean, who was behind the first and second Wolf Creek films.
In terms of a timeline, the series continues after the hilarious and awesome sequel, now on home video.
The series is being produced by Screentime and Emu Creek Pictures.
“Wolf Creek and the character of Mick Taylor have become household names, and the opportunity to tell a rich and complex story in his world in a high-quality drama series is a thrilling creative opportunity,” Emu Creek Pictures CEO Mr McLean said.
Bloody-Disgusting has teamed up with metalcore band Motionless In White to bring you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at their official video for “Break The Cycle”, which comes out tomorrow! The song appears on the band’s latest album Reincarnate.
The 12 pictures, which you can see below, shows the band performing in a room lit by candles with empty picture frames, some hung askew. Also in the images you’ll see a creepy elderly woman that looks very much like Parker Crane (aka “The Bride In Black”) from Insidious, as well a demonic creature that is reminiscent of Ig Parish’s character from Horns. Well, once he gets a little roughed up, that is. Overall, it looks like this video is going to be right up the alley of any horror fan!
Make sure to snag Reincarnate via iTunes.
-Motionless In White Headline Tour “Beyond The Barricade Tour” : Feb 20 – Mar 29
-Motionless In White w/ Slipknot and Lamb Of God : July 24 – Sept 5
Treatment here is a nightmare…
Staying alive is not what the doctor ordered when Bedlam checks in on Digital HD and On Demand April 14th and on DVD (plus Digital) April 28th from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.
“When George (Edmonds) seeks treatment for his mental illness, the hospital is a darker world than even his demons could conjure up. Now, he’s fighting to survive his cure…at Bedlam.”
From After Dark Originals, Bedlam stars Guy Edmonds (Super Awesome!), Peter McAllum (The Tunnel Movie) and Johnny Boxer (Pros and Ex-Cons).
Based on a true story, Backcountry, which stars The Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘s Eric Balfour, follows an urban couple who go camping in the Canadian wilderness – where unimaginable beauty sits alongside our most primal fears.
IFC Midnight has finally set the film for release, scheduling it to hit VOD and digital platforms March 20th.
“Alex (Jeff Roop) is a seasoned outdoorsman while Jenn (Missy Peregrym), a corporate lawyer, is not. After much convincing, and against her better judgment, she agrees to let him take her deep into a Provincial Park to one of his favorite spots – the secluded Blackfoot Trail.
On their first night, deep in the forest, they have an unsettling encounter with Brad (Eric Balfour), a strange alpha male with eyes for Jenn who may or may not be following them. Alex’s desire to quickly reach Blackfoot Trail only intensifies. They push further and further into the woods, Alex stubbornly insisting that he remembers the way. After three days their path disappears; they are hopelessly lost. Without food or water, they struggle to find their way back, the harsh conditions bringing out the best and worst in them, pushing their already fragile relationship to the breaking point.
When they realize they have entered a bear’s territory, being lost suddenly becomes the least of their problems. Terror, horror, will, and survival become paramount.”
Playing as part of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival’s Midnighters section is Mickey Keating’s hotly anticipated Pod, which will World Premiere at the fest running from March 13 – 21, 2015 in Austin, Texas.
The first trailer has been released and features Lauren Ashley Carter, Dean Cates, Brian Morvant, Larry Fessenden, and John Weselcouch.
In it, “A family intervention goes horrifically awry within the snowy confines of an isolated lake house.“
Budapest electronic/retrowave artist Lazerpunk has released a video for his track “Worldeater”, which comes from the Game Over album. The footage uses a speedrun of the lost mission from Doom 3: BFG edition. The music works incredibly well against the backdrop of sheer unadulterated mayhem, carnage, and violence.
You can download Game Over for free via Bandcamp.
Gregory Levasseur, who worked with Alexandre Aja on the screenplays for High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes and Maniac, will see the release of his The Pyramid on Blu-ray and DVD May 5, 2015 and Digital HD April 17, 2015.
Special Features include a New Extended Ending, featurettes “Partners”, “Fear”, “Space Archaeology”, and “Egyptian Myths”, as well as an Image Gallery.
In Pyramid, “The ancient wonders of the world have long cursed explorers who’ve dared to uncover their secrets. But a team of U.S. archaeologists gets more than they bargained for when they discover a lost pyramid unlike any other in the Egyptian desert. As they unlock the horrific secrets buried within, they realize they aren’t just trapped, they are being hunted.”
Ashley Hinshaw, Denis O’Hare, James Buckley and Daniel Amerman all star.
Now that Columbia Pictures has locked in their new Ghostbusters, it’s going to be fun to speculate what they’ll look like in costume.
In terms of how they’ll gel together? Well, we can see that right now!
The “Saturday Night Live” 40th Anniversary Special brought together pretty much all the big names in Hollywood, including all four of the new ‘busters.
Leslie Jones, one of the newly cast members, shared the following photo of her with Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, and Kate McKinnon. It’s fun to see what they look like together…
Bridesmaids‘ Paul Feig is directing for a July 22, 2016 release.
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) February 16, 2015
While no details are available, THR is reporting that The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones director Harald Zwart has signed on to direct Blumhouse Productions’ latest microbudgeted horror film.
Robert Ben Garant (Jessabelle) wrote the script that’s geared toward families.
Blumhouse’s Jason Blum is producing with Garant, while Jeanette Brill and Couper Samuelson will executive produce.
Zwart directed the 2013 YA adaptation Mortal Instruments and also helmed 2010′s The Karate Kid starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, which grossed nearly $360 million worldwide.
Scott Beck and Bryan Woods directed what is being styled as an innovative take on the found footage genre told from a singular point of view.
Nightlight, in limited theaters and On Demand March 27th through Lionsgate, Bloody Disgusting has landed the film’s official trailer!
“For years, the Covington forest has been shrouded in mystery, with a dark past as a final destination for troubled youths. Undeterred by the news of a classmate who recently took his life in those woods, five teens journey into the forest for an evening of flashlight games and ghost stories. But their plans go awry when the friends awaken a demonic presence, an unseen evil that will seize upon their deepest fears—and plunge them into a nightmare of absolute terror.”
Shelby Young, Chloe Bridges, Taylor Murphy and Carter Jenkins star.
The deeper you go, the darker it gets.
Not since 1998 have we seen Leatherface treated so well.
To commemorate The Texas Chain Saw Massacre‘s 40th anniversary, NECA has unveiled the remarkable new 7″ scale ‘Ultimate Leatherface’ as he appeared in Tobe Hooper’s 1974 slasher.
NECA revealed the masterpiece at the ongoing New York Toy Fair. It comes rocking an all-new body featuring over 25 points of articulation, plus 2 equally gruesome interchangeable heads. Leatherface comes with chainsaw, knife, mallet, meat hook, cleaver, and a vinyl apron. Loaded with features, detail and articulation, and packaged in a Deluxe 40th Anniversary window box.
NECA’s ‘Ultimate Freddy’ is out now, which already leads to speculation that an ‘Ultimate Jason Voorhies’ is up next!
McFarlane Toys introduced us horror fans to Leatherface in both a bloody and regular variant edition as part of their inaugural Movie Maniacs line back in 1998. It was impossible to get back then because, not only was there no way to pre-order online, but the warehouse employees at all the toy stores were bribed to pull the toys by local comic shops. It sucked.
Anyways, fans now get what they deserve with this absolutely stunning new figure as shown below. If NECA can find a way to triple our shelf space, we’d buy that, too.
Metalcore band Miss May I may have struck a goldmine with the name of their last album, Rise Of The Lion. The quintet from Troy, OH have been fighting and clawing their way to the top of the game, steadily releasing one album after another, each doing better than its predecessor. They’ve also toured relentlessly, sharing the stage with acts such as Whitechapel, Parkway Drive, Killswitch Engage, Pierce The Veil, and more, not to mention appearances at Rock On The Range and the Rockstar Mayhem Festival.
Horror fans might know their music from Saw VI, which saw their song “Forgive And Forget” appear on the soundtrack.
The band is currently on tour with August Burns Red and Northlane and we caught up with drummer Jerod Boyd to discuss the future plans for MMI, including details on their upcoming fifth album, as well as his love of gaming.
Bloody-Disgusting: How are you doing?
I’m good man! How are you?
BD: I’m doing really well! I hear tonight is gonna be a blast. A lot of people have been telling me that the shows and the setlist for each band has been spot on.
Yeah, we’re having a blast! The shows have been really awesome, better than expected. We’ve been doing a lot of these radio festivals and nu-metal sorta tours lately, which I guess would be the best way to describe it. You know, like Five Finger Death Punch and we did Mayhem Festival.
Now that we’re doing this tour, we’re back to the fanbase that we had in the very beginning. Not younger fans, I guess, but now that we’ve done all those other tours we have these older fans that come out rather than the typical, and I hate to say it this way, the “scene crowd”, you know what I mean? We wanted to touch based with them and tell them, “We’re still here. We’re not going anywhere.” We were out there picking up new fans and doing things like that rather than sticking in the same place and staying there forever. We needed to break out and become part of the actual metal community.
BD: You said that it was like coming back to the fans at the beginning. What were their reactions after that period?
It was mainly just last year because we did a lot of overseas stuff as well, doing those other festivals like Download Festival, Graspop, Rock Am Ring, all over. So, it was a bunch of out of the country stuff and that obviously required us to not be touring in the States. Now that we’re back here again, I can’t really remember our fist tour State tour, besides Mayhem, which is silly.
It seems like the fans are totally okay with it because it’s been a year and they still remembered us and enjoyed the new stuff. The set brings new songs, and old songs, and we’ve got songs from every album. Yesterday, we were finally just like, “Cool, this is the set we need to keep doing.” We’d been changing the set every day, testing things to see which would work best and the original idea seems to be the good one [laughs].
BD: You spoke about a lot of festivals you were on, both foreign and domestic. Do you see that happening again this year in the summer?
It really just depends on what we get offered for this summer. I can say that we have things planned but I can’t exactly say anything right now. But we are definitely staying busy. I can say that it will be something within the States, although that’s not saying that we can’t go to Europe or something like that. We just have to see what’s offered.
BD: Do you see a difference in the audiences in Europe versus the ones in the States?
Well, a regular show and a festival show have almost a completely different feel. I mean, when you’re at a festival it seems like almost everyone is there just to have a blast. Sometimes when you play a venue show, let’s say you’re headlining, maybe half the crowd might know who you are and half the crowd might now. That’s when you think, “Aw, darnit!” But when you go play a festival, everyone just seems to want to see music and experience it and have a blast. Most of the time, they’re drunk anyways [laughs], which is fun! Why not go to an outdoor festival with your buddies, get drunk, and then slam around and crowdsurf!
BD: You stated that there are plans that you can’t go into detail about yet. What future plans can you state openly?
Well, we’re going to be going in to record our fifth album and I can’t say who with or anything like that. However, we’re really excited, we have probably over 20 songs written for this album. We may not put all 20 on there but we always like to create more music all the time. Let’s say we write a song that we all think is really good and then next month write a song that we all think is even better. Then we go back to the other one and think, “Man, it’s not as good as this one here.” This way we have options and can say we wrote a ton and we get to pick out the best of the best stuff.
Those are our plans coming up. We’re still writing every single day and throwing out ideas. But how we are is that we like to work together as a team, so a lot of our writing gets done when we’re not on tour. A hint of that is after Mayhem we took a three month break. We did play Knotfest in California and Japan and then we did a little run and that’s all we’ve done besides write write write write write. So people might have thought, “What happened to Miss May I?” But it’s us trying to prepare for the next album, the next chapter of Miss May I.
BD: What do you think that next chapter is going to sound like? What should fans expect?
We’re definitely going back a little more to the heavier sound like from our first album. But on top of that we’re going to try and incorporate larger choruses, like “Dawn” off of our new album and also “Refuse To Believe”. And maybe “Hey Mister”, off of At Heart. We’re really just trying to get the real “raw” and “brutal” feel back into it, maybe some breakdowns that people will be able to pit and dance to. We’ll definitely have some nice some circle pit style riffs. We want people to be having fun the whole time.
BD: So it’s writing for the whole audience? The entire Miss May I crowd?
Exactly! And always how Miss May I have written is that we like to pretend that we’re playing live on the CD. Sometimes we don’t like to overproduce things. Sometimes we like to just go in there and say, “This would be sweet live! Whatever’s coming next is going to be super fun!”
BD: I’ve heard a rumor that you are a fan of horror video games! Is there any merit to this?
Of course! I’m a huge fan of horror games! I’m a fan of games in general but I do really enjoy some horror games.
BD: Tell me some of the ones that stand out to you.
If we wanna really go back, the first one that I played was Resident Evil for Playstation 1. It was amazing and it got me hooked. I was super scared of it, actually. My dad bought it and I was so scared because of the opening cinematic. I was maybe 7 or 8 when he was playing it. I wanted to see more, even though I was scared. Always been a fan of those games.
Now, with the new generation, I have a Playstation 4, I’ve been playing this game called Outlast. I thought I’ll try it out and it’s one of the most terrifying games I’ve ever played. That game is really fun just because they took a whole new spin on it. Your guy doesn’t have any weapons. All you have is a camera, which has a light, but that light will run your battery and you’ll be stuck in pitch black. So you’re in this insane asylum with all these monsters and you have to find things and run and hide under beds and in closets and lockers and stuff like that until these guys leave, so that you don’t alert them. All this while trying to find out how to get out of this insane asylum, because all these doors are somehow locked up.
I remember playing it in pitch black because I wanted the full experience. I remember, right at the beginning, there’s a guy in a wheelchair and he’s all messed up. So I slid against the wall thinking, “Okay, I’ve played enough horror games. This guy’s gonna hop out.” I walked by and I was thinking that it’s coming, it’s coming, any second now, and there was nothing. I walked into the next room and there’s a TV with static and a bunch of crazy guys sitting watching it. I saw a button that I had to push, or something like that, and I thought, “Duh! I’m going to push this and they’re going to freak out. Classic scenario!”
So I push the button and hide in the back. I start to come out and they’re all still watching the TV. So I keep hugging the back wall and go out the door, thinking to myself, “Okay! I guess I’m fine!” Totally forgot about the guy in the wheelchair. Tried to run past him and he suddenly jumped on me, screaming “Help me!”. That was the only time while playing a horror game that I actually screamed. I was just so scared! [laughs]
Then there’s The Evil Within, which is a great game. I haven’t beaten it yet, but I’ve been really enjoying playing it here and there.
Then, I don’t know if you can count it or not but Diablo III has been one of my favorite games. I always played Diablo when I was younger and then when III was coming out I was counting the days until its release. I love it. I don’t know if you can count it as a full horror game. I know that it takes place, at times, in a sort of hell environment but it’s a little gruesome persay but it’s not like The Evil Within or Outlast, where anything could pop out at any second and I’ll scream.
BD: I remember when Diablo II came out and my friends came over with their computers and we had a LAN party. By the end, there were pizza boxes stacked to the ceiling!
[laughs] We did the same thing! My neighbor got me into it. He brought his computer over with his buddy and we’d all play around. I played a Paladin and it was awesome. Until everyone started hacking.
BD: Jerod, thanks so much for talking!
It was a pleasure! You be safe and have a good one!
As a kid, we all had those fantasies where we wished we could be a vampire or a superhero or some kind of amazing fictional character that took away our weaknesses or defects. I’d often build towns out of my Legos and then stomp on them as though I were Godzilla or some other gigantic monstrosity.
So let’s get a bit nostalgic and try to recall those days to see which kind of famous monster you’d be, based upon a few simple questions!
I turned out to be the “Gillman”, which states:
You are the dweller of the deep waters! Whether you haunt the waters of a local backwoods lake, an alligator infested swamp, or a remote, tropical lagoon, you are every swimmers worst nightmare. You’re a bit of a loner, preferring the company of your finned companions, but you secretly yearn for love and can’t resist a pretty face. All who try to interfere with your quest for the ideal mate will meet their doom beneath the waves!
You know what, I can live with that.
This is cool. Guy Cihi, who you may recognize as the voice and face of James Sunderland, recently played Silent Hill 2 for the first time ever. I can’t imagine being a part — a big part — of such an influential video game, horror or otherwise, and not trying it at least once, but until recently, Guy hadn’t played the game he helped make so memorable.
Silent Hill 2 was one of the first horror games I ever played, and it was definitely the one to hook me into this genre. In a way, I owe my gig here at Bloody Disgusting to this game. Thanks, Guy!
I’ve embedded the first part of his lengthy playthrough below. If you want more of it, head on over to the Play With Friends Hitbox channel.
Evolve, the newest game from Turtle Rock Studios, is a 4-versus-1 first-person shooter in which soldier “Hunters” team up to battle a human-controlled monster in a variety of alien environments. It has all of the expected characteristics of a multiplayer-focused game, including perks and skins, but what separates it is the main conceit: Asymmetrical multiplayer.
That is itself an interesting design choice, not entirely new but part of a growing trend in the industry. In that way, this game is basically an end-boss battle played over and over again.
Even though the concept hasn’t been done to death, Turtle Rock Studios has a proven track record worthy of making Evolve a major 2015 release. The team’s most acclaimed effort, Left 4 Dead, still boasts an engaged online community, so it should go without saying that Evolve is blessed / cursed with high expectations.
The game showed really well at industry and fan events, but as with any online-focused game, the question remains: will it hold a player base well beyond the initial grace period of its release?
Despite some issues concerning the game’s longevity (and DLC plans), Evolve nevertheless remains a challenging, stable, well-realized gaming experience.
In Evolve, players choose from one of four Hunter classes: Assault, Support, Medic, and Trapper. Assault is your basic soldier, while Support protects the team and offers additional firepower. The Medic class is tasked with reviving injured comrades, and the Trapper tracks down the monster. Each possesses its own strengths and weaknesses, and the dev team has made sure to balance the game so that you can’t just choose a class and then go in guns-a-blazing, unless, of course, you have no real desire to defeat the Monster.
In addition, players can choose to be the Monster, and the variety of monster types ranges from the Godzilla-esque Goliath to the Cthulhu-ian Wraith and the classic Kraken. Like with each Hunter class, the Monsters possess different abilities. Goliath breathes fire and pummels hunters into submission, the Kraken rains down lightning on hapless warriors, and the Wraith uses teleportation and subterfuge to kill off Hunters en masse.
Besides evade and kill the Hunters, the Monster’s function is to level up by killing and devouring the less domineering creatures in the game. Monsters begin at Level 1 (relatively killable) and end at Level 3 (nigh upon invincible), so the element of time becomes extremely important.
As players progress in each class, they unlock new characters, whose powers and abilities differ from their “classmates.” Unlocking them in multiplayer modes requires players to master the current character’s abilities, measured through hitting certain numerical benchmarks (6600 damage, and so on). The progression tips the odds in favor of the hunters, but at no point does the struggle become easy for the hunters. It’s a continuous struggle.
Regarding upgrades, the way that the game engages players with numbers, too, is kind of fascinating. It has a pretty in-depth system for interpreting data from matches and using that data to reward or encourage players. After each match, for example, your performance is compared against the worldwide baseline, which then informs how your play stacked up.
During matches themselves, the Monster is so overpowered, to defeat it will require a concerted effort from the Hunters. That goes for each of the three (currently released) Monsters. As mentioned above, a gang of single-minded vigilantes is much less likely to take down one of the creatures than a cooperative unit. It really comes down playing the class.
If everyone plays the character as intended and the team works together — and they manage to track down the monster before it reaches Level 3 — it’s not impossible to earn a quick kill.
However, let the monster reach Level 3, and it becomes a lot — a LOT — less pleasant to track down “the target.” If that happens, you’ll spend a lot more time watching other players from a postmortem position, waiting for the Dropship clock to wind down so you can rejoin the match. Not only that, but the ultimate maguffin for each level comes in the form of a reactor that can be destroyed by a Level 3 Monster, so players are encouraged to take the thing down anytime before that final evolution occurs.
All of this is to say: if you’re the Monster, the game is a whole lot more simple. Your job is to evolve (level up) and destroy every single thing in your path. I will say that I found myself more excited to play the basic Hunter than to take on the responsibility of tormenting the four-person team, but I also cannot deny that I’m probably in the minority on that.
In addition to the seismic destruction put forth by the Monsters, each environment is filled with an abundance of hazards, including man-eating plants and other creatures. Even if finding the Monster requires some tracking, you’re not going for an idle walk in the woods. There’s still plenty to kill and maim you within the confines of the arena.
Logistically, the matchmaking works well, based on my personal experiences, and it seems to do a fairly complex job of evening out the fairness of play in each individual match. No Level 20 player is going to be paired with a Level 1 beginner. The dev team boats on the Evolve website that balancing is one of their main concerns, and so far I think they’ve done a fine job of keeping games interesting.
That process is further streamlined by the way the game front loads user preference in choosing a Hunter class. New players are required to rank the classes 1-5 (including the Monster), and the matchmaking attempts to accommodate those wishes. I’m sure class popularity might complicate that somewhat, but I’ve managed to be Hank (Support) at least 75% of the time, which was, honestly, surprising for me.
Furthermore, I didn’t experience any lag or slowdown, even when the game warned me that my internet connection might cause some issues. The load times might guard against that, but it’s definitely nice to play the game without a drop in frame rate.
The game looks awesome, from the highly-stylized Hunters to the environments, which are definitely modeled on the game’s influences. One arena, for example — The Aviary — is reminiscent of, say, the jungle from Predator. The cartoonish character designs are somewhat reminiscent of Team Fortress 2, and that’s not the only place where one could draw those kinds of inferences, but the overall aesthetic works.
Evolve is serious but doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is definitely a plus.
Its only real problems, in my opinion, extend from the time players will potentially spend waiting. The load times are nowhere near those of, say, PS1-level, for sure, but being a multiplayer-only game, the wait times will be more significant. The game runs efficiently in a lot of ways; all I’m saying is, maybe have something by your side while you wait for matches to begin.
That fact is compounded by other non-action-oriented aspects of being in-game in Evolve. The discrepancy between the time spent hunting down the Monster and actually battling it can be quite wide, depending on the skill of the Hunters / Monster. That particular factor can account for much more actual playtime than one might expect. A few matches have dragged on far longer than necessary merely because the Monster successfully evaded our searches.
Ultimately, Evolve is a solid multiplayer experience, but it is also quite ambitious. Putting out an ostensibly multiplayer-only game plants a seed in the minds of gamers, and that question is: What is this game’s shelf life? For much higher-profile brands, like Call of Duty, the question doesn’t matter, precisely because the series is guaranteed to have players. For a new intellectual property, the uphill battle is acquiring and keeping users.
Still, Evolve is, despite the controversy over its DLC plans, an extremely solid and stable game experience. I’ve had zero problems connecting to servers or engaging in the game’s various play modes. The sort of repetitive maps can be problematic down the road, I’m sure, but for the time being, I’ve hardly noticed it.
The Final Word: Time will tell if it holds players’ attention the way it wants to, but judging by the studio’s plans for supporting the game through DLC, it appears that Evolve will continue to garner attention long after this week’s initial release. In the meantime, I’ll be hunting Monsters.