The bigger they are
Evolve is a hard game to pin down. Four different hunters, each with their own unique weapons and abilities, all working together to take down a single giant monster ripped out of a Japanese kaiju classic. It's filled with bits and pieces taken from first-person shooters, MOBAs like League of Legends, and even developer Turtle Rock's own Left 4 Dead. So yeah, it's a bit of a weird thing to take in at first glance.
But once you figure out how everything works, Evolve turns into a nail-biting game of give-and-take, where you're never far from utter defeat or glorious victory, regardless of what side you're on. After playing a few rounds, I came up with a few handy strategies that should get you up to speed in no time.
Try not to suck as the monster
Ok, this sounds a bit mean, but seriously, make sure you learn all of the nuance behind controlling the monster. Knowing how to get around the map and how to avoid detection will mean the difference between a tense game of cat-and-giant-monster (y'know, how the game is supposed to be played) and an anticlimactic five-minute match.
Playing as the monster is very, very different from playing as the hunters, and you need to know this going in, or you're going to get creamed. Your job isn't to find and kill the hunters; no, your job is to stalk the shadows, kill and eat whatever animals you can get your claws on, and use that energy to "evolve" (if you will) into a more powerful beastie. Fighting as the monster is either a last resort, or something you do when you know you can take everyone out in one go.
Don't put all of your monster's skill points into one ability at the outset
I learned this the hard way, thinking that one super powered ability is way better than three lower-powered skills. And while you'll definitely want to specialize in a single skill by the end of your monster's evolution cycle, putting all three of your skill points into a single ability at the beginning of a match is a one-way ticket to Deathsville. Population: You.
See, each of your upgradeable abilities comes with a fancy cooldown timer, and you're only allowed to use it once that little meter fills back up. Yeah, you're weaker if you spread out your points at first, but you've also got three different attacks to alternate between as you're waiting. Put them all into one, and, well, you'll probably be twiddling your thumbs and wishing you'd made better life choices.
Use water and leap to create distance and avoid detection
The hunters can track you across the map in a variety of ways (more on that later), and you don't want that. A great way to put distance between you and your foes is to put them off the scent with a quick dip into a nearby body of water.
Typically, hunters can track your footprints, which will lead them right to you. But if you use the water, you can make like David Copperfield and *waves hands* disappear. You move slower in the water, but the Goliath can still leap, which helps a bit. Moving downriver and out of sight of the hunters will give you plenty of time to eat some more food or take a few precious seconds to evolve (there it is again!) into a more powerful beast.
Play. Your. Class.
This should go without saying, but on the other hand, I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who are going to try to take on a giant monster as a medic. So I'm going to say it. You need. To play. Your class. Simple as that. Everyone wants to be the guy or gal that blows up the monster for good, but you will be more help to the entire group if you make proper use of the gear you carry into battle.
All of the classes have weapons capable of doing damage to the monster, but the assault and support classes are going to have a much better time of it than the medic or trapper will. Their job is to keep the monster tethered and keep everyone on the battlefield alive--two very important tasks. And even the support class should take time away from setting up orbital strikes to give other players a shield if they're getting pounded on too hard. The important thing to remember is this: it's OK to want to beat up on Godzilla, but you've got other, equally important tasks to attend to.
Respawn times are loooooooooong, so don't die
With four hunters on the map, and each one having abilities designed to help each other out, it's a lot harder to actually die than you think. Even if you get knocked down, one of your friends can pop on over and revive you in a couple of seconds. But you still need to be careful, otherwise you'll find yourself knocked out of the game, forced to wait minutes to hop back into the fray.
Respawns are based on a universal timer, and once that clock hits zero, a ship will fly over the arena and drop another batch of fresh recruits (clones?). But before you land, you have to sit through a fairly lengthy sequence as you wait for the ship's doors to open and for your characters to jump to the ground. Then you have to run back to where the rest of your friends are to help out. This whole process can take a ludicrous amount of time if you die on the back end of a respawn cycle, so don't. Easy, right?
Don't always follow Daisy around
Each class has two different characters to choose from, each with its own unique abilities and items. Maggie (one of the Trappers), has a special companion named Daisy that follows her around, in addition to her standard repertoire of tricks. Daisy is a massive dog-looking thing called a Trapjaw, and its job is to sniff around the wilderness and find the trail of the beast you're hunting.
The problem with Daisy is that she can be way too slow, especially when things get down to the wire. She'll often run around in circles or get caught on walls or other obstacles, causing you to grit your teeth and wonder why you brought this mutt along in the first place. You can use other visual clues (like footprints or the sound of birds taking flight off in the distance) to gauge where your quarry has run off to. Daisy is helpful in the first few minutes of a match to give you an idea of where the monster is, or to put you back on the scent if you've completely lost it, but after that, focus on other, better ways of tracking the beast.
A well-placed Mobile Arena is devastating
One of Maggie's other abilities is a giant blue dome called a Mobile Arena, and it's awesome. A quick press of a button will cause a giant shield to appear around a large portion of your surroundings, and if you're lucky, your prey will be caught inside. It's a great way to keep it in a relatively confined area for a fairly lengthy amount of time.
That said, the Mobile Arena is not foolproof. An adept monster can use what little terrain it has access to and run circles around your time until the shield dissipates. Plus, you're trapping a snarling hellbeast in a confined space with you. Use caution.
Hunt the local wildlife for buffs
That humongous monster you're hunting isn't the only creature in the area. There's a large variety of fauna out there--some of it indifferent to your presence, and some of it ready to take a big ol' bite out of you if you're not careful. You might think these animals are merely a distraction, but taking a couple seconds away from your ultimate goal can help you immensely.
Many of the larger brutes you'll come across will drop a nice buff if you decide to thin the herd. These can increase your speed, enhance your vision, and more! So, while it's usually best to stay on the move, sometimes it helps to be mean to some animals.
When the monster hits Level 3, gun it back to the generator
The monster can win a match in two ways: either by killing all four hunters before they have a chance to respawn, or by destroying the hunters' generator. To complete the second goal, they have to evolve to level three, then head over to the power generator and attack it until it blows up.
If you're a hunter, you don't want that to happen. So the second you see that level three warning, book it on over to the generator and start setting traps. You can try to hunt the monster, but if they lead you off into a corner of the map then sneak off, they may make it to the generator and blow it up before you even have a chance to fight back.
...the harder they fall
These are just a few of the tips and strategies I figured out while I spent some time with Evolve's Big Alpha, and hopefully you can put them to good use when you give it a shot for yourself. If you've played the game yourself (or are a giant monster/monster hunter IRL), do you have anything to add? Let me know in the comments below!