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Val

Evolve
by yo go re

Doctor doctor, gimme the news/I've got a bad case of loving blue!

Sniper and Medic. Two jobs that normally don't show up on the same résumé. Then again, Val doesn't apply for just any type of position. Her Armor-Piercing Sniper Rifle and Hunter-healing Medgun are the perfect qualifications for someone stalking prey the size of a small asteroid.

Val was the last Hunter to be finalized - until very late in the development process, she was going to be a dude! But Turtle Rock Studios (the people behind Left 4 Dead) aren't idiots, and realized that maybe having an additional woman in the game wouldn't be so bad (especially since, like most squad-based first-person shooter games, Evolve's Hunters don't really have any personality or story niche to fill). She's a straight up combat field medic, and there's nothing about that description that says you need to worry about Belvedering yourself, is there? Of course not! So generic forgettable character #27F(b) has a narrower waist now and nothing else different. It's about ethics in character creation.

Remembering that I knew nothing about Evolve other than "it's 4 vs 1" when I picked up these figures, I assumed Val was the team leader. After all, she's the one wearing the jaunty military beret, and if that doesn't say "boss," then what does? But there's no real set team, and she's just one of four potential medics a player could choose.

According to her backstory, Val is a spy planted by the Company the Alliance the Hub, meant to find out what the hell was really going on with the giant monsters and all. Her beret isn't the only thing about her outfit that screams "military," what with the big boots and the armor padding. Actually, she's not fully encased in armor, like a lot of shooter characters these days, it's just a little bit on her knees, forearms, shoulders, and neck. Her bodysuit is dark grey with lighter stripes, while the pads were meant to have originally been white, but have gotten pretty dirty through constant use. The Medics' signature color is blue, seen here on the crosses on her shoulders, forearms, and chest, on her collar, and as lights on her jetpack.

Yes, jetpack. Val gets her name from the Valkyries, swooping over a battlefield to reach the injured combatants. To make the connection explicit, they gave her a set of wings to carry her around. The jetpack has four thin, blade-like wings, which are articulated - very stiff, but they are meant to move, which means she has four more joints than the average Funko Legacy Collection release. The backpack is removable, if you want to do that for some reason. Her belt and bandolier are also separate pieces, but there's even less reason to remove those than the jetpack.

In the game Val has a Medgun, which functions exactly like the one in Team Fortress 2: point it at someone, they regain health slowly. She also has a tranquilizer, which slows the monster down and makes it easier to kill. The toy doesn't come with either of those, though. Rather, Val gets to put her knowledge of anatomy to use with her sniper rifle. Correction: armor-piercing sniper rifle. She shoots the monster, the monster gets a weak spot, and the rest of the team can target it for extra damage. Clearly, Evolve is not concerned with making sure characters stick to archetypal roles. And Funko is not concerned with making sure characters can hold their accessories, because neither hand is shaped for gripping.

The sculpted details are not really any more crisp here than they were on Hank, but she doesn't have the exposed skin or giant beard to make that as much of an issue. She's a badass character and a good-looking toy, but not quite as playable as she should be. Seriously, it's mostly nice work, but where are her gun-holding hands?

-- 09/09/15


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