It seems like many of the major game studios are currently trying their hand at some form of mostly online first person shooter, placing greater focus on the online gameplay than anything else. Unlike Titanfall and Destiny, however, the folks at Turtle Rock Studios and 2K Games have decided to focus on a game that is deliberately unbalanced, and is creating an experience where both careful strategy and split second twitch-shooter skills come together to create a monster hunt.This weekend many users are logging on to check out Evolve in its Alpha state for the first time, and after a few hours playing it’s clear this is going to be a great online-only game.Where most online shooters work hard to create a balance between the two sides that are fighting, usually over multi-colored flags or curiously lit patches of dirt, Evolve is intentionally unbalanced. Every fight is four on one, and that’s because the one on the other side is a giant beast. If you’re playing as one of the four hunters, your job is to work together with your squad to hunt down and eliminate this beast before it gets powerful enough to either eliminate you or eliminate the power station for the base in the area.Where things get particularly sticky for the squad of four is the forced character assignment. Everyone in the squad can only be one character type. While the game could certainly be easier if your team was comprised of four big bruisers with lightning guns, the forced placement makes it so everyone in the squad has a job and must work together in order to take the monster down.You’ve got your tracker, your medic, your support character, and your tank. Each character is absolutely vital, and when everyone on the squad does their job it’s not that hard to take down a monster. Since that level of cooperation isn’t always easy when playing online with total strangers, your best chance for victory is to be playing with friends.Playing as the monster represents a very interesting set of challenges. When you first start the round, monsters are very easy to kill. As the monster, you need to avoid detection and eat the other beasts in the area in order to build up armor and speed up your evolution. As you evolve you get stronger and more difficult to kill, but if you are trapped before you hit that first evolution there’s a good chance you won’t survive.Since the tracker in the squad of four is very good at locating you, the first few minutes of the fight is all about continuous movement and careful kills to avoid detection. After the first evolution the fight is a lot more balanced, and after the second evolution the monster has the upper hand. Its not impossible to kill a fully evolved monster, but it requires a lot of teamwork to pull off.While each of the four character in the assault squad are interesting in their own right, the most interesting is perhaps the medic. Like most healer characters, your job is to sit back and do whatever you can to keep your team alive. Unlike most healer characters, you have absolutely no way to deal direct damage to the monster you are fighting. Healers have a special gun that can heal from a distance, as well as a sniper rifle that decreases the armor on the monster in a specific area of the body and a tranquilizer gun that can slow the monster down, but none of these weapons are capable of actually dealing damage.The ability to bypass the armor makes fights with evolved monsters a little easier, and a tranquilizer shot or three in the early stages can quickly end a match. It’s also nice to know that the healing gun can resurrect fallen enemies from a distance, just in case the monster decides to thrash on top of your tank character for a while.You can still get in on the Evolve Alpha if you haven’t gotten a code yet, just by heading over to the Evolve website and requesting one. So far there’s a lot to like about Evolve, but there are still plenty of questions to be answered about repetitive online gameplay and whether or not there’s going to be a decent story mode. Evolve in its current form runs the risk of getting old quickly like Titanfall, but there’s still plenty we don’t know about this game yet. It’s probably best to just enjoy the Alpha for now and wait for the folks at Turtle Rock Studios to explain everything in due course. Happy hunting!