Unfortunately, this was put to the test last year, when a rat moved into our cavity wall and we had to put down a trap. We woke up one morning to a dog-like rodent with a broken neck, and felt overcome with remorse. Yet at the same time, we couldn't ignore the primal flood of testosterone that coursed through our system. Yes, we felt bad for killing a creature the size of a slipper, but more troubling was how manly it made us feel; the big, butch hunterman, saving his home from the threat of Weil's disease.
Evolve is a game about that thrill of hunting and being hunted. Can you predict how manly it made us?
If you've ever fancied yourself as a Godzilla, or the sort of person who shoots at a Godzilla, this is the opportunity you've been kneading yourself in anticipation for.
Bucking our expectations, Evolve is a surprisingly complicated game. There are essentially two sets of controls - for the hunters and the monsters.
Then there are four different hunter classes (trapper, assault, medic and support), and you can choose different characters within these classes. And then unlock different abilities... which proves to be an enormous sort of grind. The different classes of monster - as the title suggests - are able to evolve, in-game, by eating the local wildlife (which often also poses a threat in itself). Frequently, the game plays as a race to either evolve, or stop the monster evolving - as victory typically hinges upon it.
And... actually... for all that, the main thing you need to know about Evolve is that, contrary to what we've just said, it isn't complicated: it's convoluted. There's an absurdly steep learning curve to the game - you're thrown in at the deep end, having to keep a lot of plates spinning. Unfortunately, by the time you've just started to get to grips with things, the fun seems to fall off a cliff, and you realise that perhaps it wasn't worth all that effort.
There are a number of different game modes, but none of them are as interesting or as fun as the core Hunt Mode, which essentially plays out as an extended game of hide-and-seek. In this, the hunters need to look for signs - footprints, broken foliage, flocks of birds - to find the monster before it kills them, or destroys a key building to win the game. Regrettably, the game seemingly doesn't trust its own mechanic here, and funnels you with video game-style "neon" sense indicators.
Battles frequently seem to have that Super Smash Bros. issue of feeling like button-mashing - particularly when playing as the monster. They've gone to great lengths to even out the character classes, and the hunters work beautifully as a team, but it sometimes feels like the gameplay is artificially handicapped. However, you're either reliant on overly able bots, or the fickle abilities of actual players, for that teamwork to be truly effective. And that happens only intermittently.
It feels like there's an incredibly fun game struggling to get out in Evolve. It works on paper - once you strip away the layers of convolution and irritating level system - but it's also hobbled by a bunch of maps that aren't all that distinguishable from one another, and are dark, dingy, and not particularly pleasant to look at or spend time in.
We suspect that there are those who will enjoy Evolve's convolution, and mistake it for depth. Indeed, maybe it is a deep game here, with multiple layers of strategy and complexity, but we honestly couldn't be bothered to explore them.
For our money, this would've been vastly improved by being a straightforward humans vs monsters shooter, and trusting the potential fun of the central concept. However, we still think there are issues with it on an aesthetic level - and given the size of the monsters, it was weird how it always felt claustrophobic and small rather than epic.
Actually, now that we think about it, Evolve shares a lot of its DNA with Titanfall - small guys vs big guys - but somehow Titanfall got it right. Titanfall was frantic fun, and the levels lent themselves to battles between vastly different scales of combatant. Evolve doesn't.
We commend the team for trying something original, and though it's a very different sort of game to Left 4 Dead, we suspect this will never have the same place in our heart. Some of our favourite ever gaming experiences were had with Left 4 Dead, because, frankly, it let us enjoy the game without layering stuff on top. Also: zombies.
SUMMARY: This should be sopping wet sponges of fun - and it has its moments - but due to some iffy design choices never completely makes the most of the concept.