Tanks, warriors that are built to withstand damage while dealing out massive hits of their own, are a near constant in the world of class-based co-op games. They lead the charge into battle, absorbing damage that would have otherwise brought weaker combatants to the ground, allowing the protected party at the rear to initiate follow-up attacks and, potentially, elaborate feats of coordination that would have been impossible without the tank's protection. When the time comes to deliver the final blow, these heavies of the battlefield are also perfectly equipped to strike what's likely to be a desperate, flailing enemy with a focused barrage of hard hits.
The recently announced assault hunter in Evolve, Hyde, perfectly embodies this ideal. With his personal shield ability and a generous pool of health, he can take a hit and keep on ticking when it matters most, all before lighting up enemies in a blaze of fire. His flamethrower happens to be the most powerful weapon in the game, and when Hyde is paired with the right set of hunters, no monster can withstand his fire-breathing armaments.
His counterpart in the league of assault hunters, Markov, bears some similarities, including a large amount of health and the ability to conjure a temporary shield, but that's where analogues come to an end. Markov's most identifiable trait is his weapon of choice, the lightning gun, which spits out an electrifying beam that splinters off toward nearby targets after hitting its first point of contact. It's a great tool when dealing with groups of creatures, which, as a hunter, are important to pick off for stat boosts, and to prevent the enemy from feeding and ultimately reaching the next stage of evolution. Markov can make a monster regret lowering its defenses too, but Hyde is Evolve's true heavy hitter.
Though his flamethrower hits the hardest of any weapon in the game, Hyde has to get up close and personal with monsters to get the most out of it. Of course, both Markov and Hyde have other means of attack--an assault rifle and minigun, respectively--but once you've gotten your hands dirty with the flamethrower, it's hard to go back to pelting monsters with bullets from afar.
When you're getting in close to a monster, it's a given that you should use Hyde's shield ability. This is easiest when a trapper hunter manages to catch a monster in a snare, allowing Hyde to work his way into range and paint the monster with flames.
...once you've gotten your hands dirty with the flamethrower, it's hard to go back to pelting monsters with bullets...
To be fair, Markov is strong, too, but his lightning gun doesn't hold a candle to the amount of health that the flamethrower can burn off when it's used in the right scenario. And if you're lucky enough to have a teammate who's playing Lazarus, he can punish the monster by inflicting numerous weak points with his sniper rifle, allowing you to reap the benefits of multiplied damage. Evolve's creative director, and Turtle Rock Studios co-founder, Phil Robb, favors the chance to double his defenses with some help from one of the support hunters: "I'm always wishing for Hank when I'm playing Hyde, because you get the extra shield. If I have to get up in the monster's face, he could smack me around a little bit, but I'm not going to take a lot of damage."
Beyond boosting armor and laying into monsters with elementally charged weaponry, Hyde and Markov have the potential to manipulate a monster with their secondary weapons. Markov makes use of mines to punish absentminded monsters, but Hyde favors toxic grenades. When these explode, they leave behind a cloud of poison gas that slowly whittles away at a monster's health reserves. Concept artist Stephen Oakley explains this difference best: "Hyde is much more reactive, where Markov is best with planning. Markov's mines can be very powerful if you manage to kite the monster into them, or, if you know that the monster only has one or two escapes, you can set the mines at those spots and just ruin his life that much more as he's trying to escape. Hyde is constantly throwing poison to get the monster out of an area, so wherever the monster is, Hyde is going to be attacking that spot."
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Sometimes when a friend falls in battle, monsters will camp on top of the body, either to lure in medics or to prepare to feed on the body. This is the perfect opportunity to use Hyde's toxic grenades, which should cause the monsters to flee lest they suffer the consequences of standing in the middle of a death plume. Potentially, the trapper Maggie can then lay harpoon mines to stop the monsters in their tracks, giving Hyde the chance to come in with another toxic grenade and his flamethrower for a massive attack that few monster players will be able to withstand. Likewise, the other hunter, Griffin, can pull a Kraken out of the sky with his harpoon gun and bring him in range, opening the door for the same wave of attacks from Hyde.
Hyde's in-your-face skill set may lead some people to think he's nothing but a typical tank character, but the nature of Evolve's squad-based design makes him the perfect complement to other hunters. Orchestrating and pulling off complex plans like those described above requires constant communication, but when every piece falls into place, Hyde's special blend of assault skills is an invaluable asset during a hunt. Of course, he's also a formidable lineman who's capable of barreling into enemies, but like with every class of hunter, his strengths are best realized when they're executed for the sake of the team.