The Evolve Big Alpha has come and gone, but the impression it made is lasting.
The Kraken was my personal lure to play in the Big Alpha, and wow was he fun. I got to play a sneaky monster and chomp down on hunters and destroy power relays to great satisfaction. Mastering the character was difficult at the start. With my guide that follows, you should be able to sink your teeth into your prey with ease. The Classic Gamer is giving away five copies of Evolve on release day. Be sure to read to the end for how to register to win your copy. It’s time to release the Kraken.
Evolve Kraken Guide | Introduction
The Kraken monster is not as tough and melee oriented as the Goliath. It needs to feed in secret to build up its arsenal through evolving. Armed with many abilities that can target large spaces (AoE or Area of Effect abilities), the Kraken can output massive damage in quick bursts all around himself. Also having his banshee mines and vortex attacks, he can be lethal at far range. With the mix of his attacks and his limited ability to hover and air dash, it’s very hard to trap the Kraken in a bad position.
Evolve Kraken Guide | Kraken Basic Moveset
Playing as any monster in Evolve, you have to be very concerned with feeding. Feeding provides you shielding, buffs, and evolving to gain enhanced stats and new abilities. Once your shield is gone, all life loss is permanent–which further emphasizes the need to feed. To feed you have to approach wildlife and kill it (Right Trigger is your basic attack on consoles) then hold the feed button (holding Left Trigger on consoles) as you stand on top of it. The best way to feed on wildlife is from stealth. After having pressed the stealth button (Circle or B button on consoles), you can press attack to pounce on your prey with a sneak attack. Sneak attacks are great in that hunters and smaller wildlife cannot fight back once pounced. They need support from a friend to be rescued.
As you try to get stronger venturing out into the zone, you want to use the map button to view your position to make sure you don’t corner yourself. You’ll also want to set up your attacks and evasion by smelling (Clicking the R3 on the right thumbstick for consoles). Smelling puts out a pulse in 360 degrees showing you all life nearby. Dead wildlife you can feed on is marked grey, normal wildlife is yellow, larger monsters are outlined with a reddish orange, and hunters are red-typically with their life bar showing over their head. You want to absolutely put as much distance as you can between you and the hunters at the start of the match. Press stealth whenever you have plenty of distance from the hunters to enter a crouched state that leaves no footprints for the hunters. Climbing is important (holding Left Trigger on consoles while moving) to get to good vantage points, but especially so to get out of sight.
As the Kraken, you get a very limited hover power as well as a glide ability. Hovering can be done by using your banshee mines, after shock, and vortex abilities. After jumping and while mid-air, you can perform an air-dashing glide ability up to twice by pressing the jump button (A or Cross button on consoles) before you lose the stamina to maintain it. This ability is key when you get located and need to make as much distance as possible before the trapper sets up the mobile arena. Climbing to high points on the map before jumping then gliding is amazingly effective.
Evolve Kraken Guide | Abilities Gameplay Video
Evolve is coming in February 2015, but The Classic Gamer has already started its strategy series. See the Kraken abilites in action.
Evolve Kraken Guide | Kraken Abilities
In Evolve, when you are choosing your monster, you get to invest three skill points in abilities before the match begins. You can only use abilities that you have invested at least one skill point in. With four abilities available, you have to be picky where to put your points at the start of a match. Each time you evolve, you gain an additional three skill points to distribute. With additional points in an ability, it gets increasingly potent and causes more damage. When starting a match, you might want to focus on the effectiveness of one damage/mobility ability or spread the skill points around for higher utility.
Pressing the lightning Strike button (LB on consoles) creates a cross-hair of sorts that you can target on the ground. Hunters can see the focal point of where the lightning bolt will strike. Maneuvering the target of the lightning strike to maximize the area it hits to cause the most damage to the most hunters becomes an art. It is especially effective if the hunters are stuck together in a ditch or when trying to rally together to rescue a downed teammate. The lightning strike causes great damage and gets even better with further skill point investment.
Tapping the Banshee Mine button (RB on consoles) releases mines with projectile properties. They are extremely effective from extremely high vantage points or when setting up a trap around a corner (great in the mobile arena). I’ve seen matches completely won on bansheee mines alone.
After Shock is the real bread and butter of the Kraken. It is a point blank attack that surrounds the Kraken. Damaging anything closeby, it deals an extra damaging pulse when it ends. When fighting on uneven terrain, ensure you hit the most on-the-ground targets by holding your stealth button (B or Circle on consoles) to descend from your hover.
Vortex is a very wide projectile with many useful qualities. It travels very far dealing great damage and knocking back anything it hits quite a far distance. This is very useful for pushing away hunters to get safe or to isolate a hunter you are trying to finish off. Use it to get the assault off your back if he uses his invincibility shield.
Evolve Kraken Guide | Monster Perks
Depending on your account level, you will have different monster perks available to you when choosing the Evolve monster you want to play. Later in leveling, earlier perks scale up. Perks can offer decreased damage taken, boost movement speed, increase feeding speed and provide other useful permanent boosts during a round. The monster perk I recommend the most is the Ability Cooldown Reduction perk. With it, you can use all four of your abilities at a much higher frequency boosting how good your burst damage can be.
Suggested Kraken Builds
When playing as the Kraken, there are really two ways to play. One way to play is to work towards unlocking passive Kraken abilities. These are boosted damage modifications for the various Kraken attacks. To unlock these permanently passive boosts, you need to pass a series of thresholds for outputting a certain amount of damage with an ability or affecting a specific number of hunters/wildlife simultaneously with the same attack through out all your matches. These are the general means to level up your Kraken on your account. Achieving the first star ranking for a skill gives the Kraken a permanent 2% increased damage buff for that ability. Achieving the second star upgrades the damage output to 5%. These values might change in the final release of Evolve. So to play to level up your Kraken, you’ll want to use the ability cooldown reduction perk or additional damage perk plus putting skill points into the abilities you want to level up.
The obvious other way to play the Kraken, is to play to win. I usually go with at least two skill points in After Shock and then put my final point in either After Shock or Lightning Bolt. I like an enhanced After Shock for quickly killing swarms of wildlife for massive quick food. I also use the ability cooldown reduction perk almost exclusively. I hide a lot and just try to get to Stage 3 as quickly as possible.
Evolve Kraken Guide | Evolution
Evolving your monster becomes possible mostly after having eaten a certain amount of food during a match. Through combat, it seems you can slowly close the gap to prepare to evolve as well. Evolving your character has easy to see benefits with the Kraken like bigger size, faster walking speed, an increased punch in attacks, a larger life bar, increased shielding potential, and greater resilience. Once prepared to evolve, hold down the evolve button (Left Trigger and Right Trigger on consoles) to make the transformation. It is absolutely important to do this far away from the hunters and even wildlife that may attack.
Kraken Stage 2 Evolve
Upon reaching stage 2, you will notice a much faster ground speed. Use your increased mobility to get to stage three quickly. When you unlock your second three skill points, I highly suggest putting up a single skill to maximum effectiveness rather than spreading the points around. With your stage two evolution damage increase, level three After Shock, and potentially another level three skill-you will have outright terrifying burst damage to the hunters. During stage two, once you fill up your shield by either feeding, hiding, or a combination of both, you might not want to evolve to stage three and take advantage of uneven terrain and burst damage to surprise the hunters. Your shield goes mostly away when you evolve.
Kraken Stage 3 Evolve
You will have a much greater damage output once you reach stage 3. Damage becomes fatal to multiple hunters in one or two clicks. The hunters will camp the power relay almost immediately after you reach stage 3. If you can trick the hunters to be far away from the power relay when you evolve to stage 3, you can rack up an easy win. A good trick is to evolve to stage 3 close to the power relay while there is dead food on the ground. This allows you to avoid the hunters preparing by setting traps and gaining a position around the power relay.
Evolve Kraken Guide | Kraken Movement
It is very important to get around the map quickly. The speed gliding gives you from high points on the map makes it easier to avoid getting stuck in the trapper’s mobile arena. Also using stealth and staying low to the ground might prevent you from getting detected in the first place. It is important to learn the way movement works on a map. This allows you to constantly reconfigure your path to lose the hunters. Misdirection by leading the hunters in the opposite direction once you are detected is a key to getting easy wildlife snacking. Leading the hunters to another part of the map opens up the potential to score easy meals from wildlife they killed. A simple trick is after a large wildlife character dies on the map from the hunters, fly away and scare up some birds. Leave tracks that point in one direction, then stealth and cut across the map in the opposite direction so you can sneak up and claim the food.
Pressing the stealth button to drop from gliding or hovering can keep you from being highly visible in bowl-shaped parts of the map. Hunting in caves for wildlife makes your area of effect skills very potent and less visible to the hunters. The hunters should most be afraid of you when you trap them inside a tunnel with downed team mates. Without the ability to spread away from each other, your damage dealing becomes extremely efficient.
Once you have a lot of shield, especially in stage two, it is a good trick to use strong wildlife to engage the hunters while you climb up to safety or hide from direct combat behind a tree or cliff. Stage your indirect combat from around the corner. Pick off hunters as they become weak or use up their abilities that take a long time to recharge. I especially try to use other wildlife in a cave setting, so if the trapper creates the mobile arena, they are actually limiting only themselves.
Evolve Kraken Guide | Feeding
You want to kill wildlife on the map using your attacks, then stand on top of it and feed (Left Trigger on consoles). Feeding has many benefits. As you feed, you fill three meters.
Shield Meter: at the top of the screen, the grey horizontal meter that fills up is your shield meter. It represents how much damage you can take before losing life. Feeding fills up this meter. Once it is depleted through taking damage, your red life meter can be depleted causing you to die. It is important to maintain and get shield from feeding as quickly as you can while maintaining a great distance between yourself and anything that can damage you. Feeding is stopped suddenly by attacking wildlife or hunters.
Evolve Meter: the large circular meter that fills with blue coloring is your level up meter. Once it is full, you can evolve to the next stage. Evolving depletes your shield almost entirely and leaves you vulnerable. So shield management is important. If you are close to an evolution and have a lot of shield, you may want to engage the hunters.
Wildlife Food Meter: the small circle that appears over the dead wildlife while you eat it represent how completely you have fed on your prey. Once the circle is full, it’s time to move on to the next target.
When you see wildlife with a shape above itself with alternating red and white lines, this means that creature offers a buff. Buffs can be taken by hunters or monsters. In most circumstances, if you feel you have ample time and shielding to take down a creature that is offering a buff, kill it. Feeding on the creature for only a second or two gives you its buff. There are many great buffs. My personal favorite is the one offering 30% increased movement speed.
Knowing when to evolve is a subtle key to victory in Evolve. If you have full shield, are in stage two, and see the opportunity to cause massive damage to a weakened hunter team–this is when the hunters start becoming the hunted. It might be worth the risk to play hide and seek with the hunters to get the trapper to miss with the mobile arena. Then you can start a fight you can run from. At this point, you might be buff enough to take them down inside the arena. Having the full shield goes to waste once you evolve to stage three and lose it. Conversely, it might be better to play it safe if you think you can continue to hide from the hunters until you reach stage three.
If you see big food targets, such as harder to kill wildlife, it is essential to have at least some shield to avoid losing life from engaging with it. Also, use your ranged attacks and positioning yourself behind it to avoid receiving the brunt of its attack before you can kill it.
Evolve Kraken Guide | Kraken Stealth
Familiarize yourself with the stealth button. Also, make sure you press it while feeding so you are automatically back in stealth mode once done eating. Using stealth and avoiding wildlife on the map that alerts the hunters (the groups of birds you will sometimes encounter), makes feeding up so much easier. Using bodies of water such as creeks and beaches to disguise your footprints as you leave stealth to travel in a low glide or on foot is a great technique for creating distance from the hunters. When breaking stealth and leaving clues to your whereabouts on the map, try to use this as a chance to misdirect the hunters to look in the wrong direction by switching your heading. Every time you land on a familiar map, try to avoid becoming predictable by having alternate routes to get around.
As discussed earlier, attacking smaller wildlife and hunters from stealth causes sneak attacks. Your prey is helpless by itself during these attacks. If you see a hunter team that fans out in their search or you, using this pounce attack to kill a hunter might be the deciding factor in a match. It is a very risky move to pull off unless you know the hunter is truly isolated.
I have had great success with just straight up hiding from higher vantage points while hunters walk by. AS long as you’ve covered your tracks and are off the path, you might get free access to all the food the hunters left behind for you.
Evolve Kraken Guide | Kraken in “Thunderdome”
Getting caught in the Trapper’s mobile arena while in your stage one evolution almost certainly means death. In the event you get caught, climb your way to high points, and stay out of sight by circling around. Use your abilities to knock back or punish hunters that get close to you. Avoid the Assault at all costs and watch out for the Support’s bombing strike. Try to swat the trapper’s harpoons as soon as they get hold of you. You do not want to limit your mobility.
If you get caught having to face off with the hunter team, learning how to prioritize and focus your damage on your targets is key. The Healer, whose name is highlighted in a sky blue, should almost always be your first target. Knocking out the Trapper removes the mobile arena, so you may want to focus on taking her down before losing all your shielding. Taking down the Assault character weakens the damage output of the team. Other than that, eliminating a target with low life with minimal effort will certainly put you in a better position. Camping a knocked out foe until he or she dies by using After Shock, Banshee Mines, Lightning Bolts and Vortexes disrupts the hunters in a massive way. Figuring out which abilities work best for you in preventing the hunter team from rallying is a necessary skill you will need to develop under the Trapper’s mobile arena.
A nice way to make the trapper’s arena backfire on the hunters is to lure the hunters to you while having monstrous wildlife close by. Use your abilities and mobility to make the hunters have to deal with it. Isolate downed targets to die while using your vortex and mines to push away hunters to have to deal with the wildlife.
Evolve Kraken Guide | The Power Relay
After you reach stage three, you get an alternate win condition. Typically you could only win by incapacitating all of the hunters at the same time. Now you can win by destroying the main power relay. As discussed earlier, it is a sound strategy to lead the hunter team far away from the reactor and make your way close to it before evolving to stage three. This allows you to attack it without the fear of being intercepted by camping hunters.
Evolve Kraken Guide | Kraken Rating
The Kraken, while weaker than the Goliath at the beginning of the game, is a stealther’s dream. He creates havoc with intense damage to multiple targets and is hard to track with his increased mobility. His three different ranged attacks open up various situations where it is very difficult to get on top of him. This makes hunting wildlife relatively safe. Alternatively, when wildlife or hunters get close to him, the After Shock ability can become dominant.
4 out of 5
Evolve Big Alpha Review and Rating
As a friend put it, playing in the Big Alpha event for Evolve was like playing a waiting room simulator. There were a lot of slow loading times. However, once in a game, the game was flawless. Gameplay flowed well. There is only great material here. My rating for Evolve could be higher once the game releases. My tentative review does not take how they might fix the loading times into consideration. The constant unlocking of additional content through leveling and playing the characters is well thought out and feels very rewarding.
Evolve Big Alpha Rating
4 out of 5
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