There has been a huge lack of good dinosaur games in recent times and I often ask myself the question “why”? It doesn’t make sense to me. Everybody knows dinosaurs are the coolest and the most terrifying things ever to walk the planet. Games based on dinosaurs seem like they should be awesome, but, in most cases they fall short of expectations.
A video-game with dinosaurs should be a gold mine (and a nice break from zombies), yet it seems to me that this genre has become extinct. Of course, there are some exceptions, such as Dino Crisis, which is one of my most-loved games and it showed me that Capcom could make dinosaurs absolutely terrifying rather than just zombies.
With all that in mind comes, Primal Carnage a class-based multiplayer shooter developed by independent game studio named Lukewarm Media. Primal Carnage is very much like Jurassic Park, but in an Online setting where you can hunt from both sides. It’s a title that finally puts dinosaurs to use in an entertaining team-based Online experience. The idea behind Primal Carnage is so simple, I often wonder why it hasn’t been done sooner and it’s most definitely a game I’ve been waiting to play.
The story behind this team-based shooter is basic and straight to the point. This is humans against dinosaurs in an all out fight to the death for survival. Primal Carnage centres on the game-play between these two factions. The human team makes use of the first person view while the Dinosaurs are played from a 3rd-Person action viewpoint. These two teams have five different classes for players to choose from that offers something unique each time. Below are the classes you can choose from:
- The Scientist: This sniper class allows the player to be sneakier and hunt from a distance, which is perfect for taking down those annoying Pteranodons. The scientist also comes packed with a dart gun that can blind the dinosaurs for a brief time and will also grant extra points for doing so.
- The Commando: Love running into fights pretending your Rambo’? Then this class is for you! Fun for adrenaline filled run and gun types. Comes equipped with an assault rifle and grenade launcher. An excellent class for taking down those bigger dinosaurs, such as the T-Rex.
- The Pathfinder: An expert in survival with the use of his flares for binding dinosaurs and then delivering the final blow with the powerful shotgun. Always stick close to this class for a better chance of survival when in a tight spot.
- The Pyromaniac: One of the best classes in this game in terms of fun. With flame-thrower and chainsaw attachment the main issue with this class is the range, as it’s pretty tight and can prove very challenging, but a very powerful class if you can master it.
- The Trapper: The most bad-ass class by far with the use of dual pistols. Killing dinosaurs never looked cooler. Thanks to the hint in his name, this guy can shoot nets to capture the other team, leaving them vulnerable for a quick knife kill.
- The Raptor: Quick, agile, terrifying and deadly. The Raptor is capable of taking down his enemies before they even get a chance to turn around. Raptors can use their claws for a quick attack or they can leap on-top of their foes ripping them to shreds. Walking past a brush or a corner has never been so scary.
- The Dilophosaurus: Very much like the Raptors, but can spit venom into the eyes of his victims blinding them and slowly killing them in the process.
- The Pteranodon: This flying killing machine shakes things up in an interesting, but at times frustrating way. This class can fly down, pick up their prey and take them up to the skies. If your opponent is kind they will just drop you to your death. If they are less kind (like I often bump into) they will drop you on the highest point possible, such as a rock and then leave you. This forces you to commit suicide and thus losing points.
- The Carnotaurus: Blunt force is this dinosaur’s best trait. Using its huge size, this class is unstoppable when it starts charging, destroying everything in its path.
- T-Rex: Very much like the Carnotaurus, but can pick up and chew through its opponents in one-hit-one-kill.
The visuals in Primal Carnage look crisp, clean and overall beautiful to look at. It’s all thanks to the Unreal Engine, which is being put to good use in this title, as it does an excellent job at rendering each environment and capturing the chaos inside. To date is five different maps to play around with plus more on the way with planned DLC. The maps I’ve played are very open, atmospheric and offer plenty of strategic advantages to both teams. There are structures throughout the maps like creates for an example, allowing cover for the humans to hide inside, but also giving enough tiny gaps and other entrances for the dinosaurs target, so they can target the soft spot, in order to wreak havoc.
After spending some time, trying to get to grips with the game, I’ve figured out the best ways to survive playing as a human. The key to survival is simple; Don’t be a hero and always stick close to your team-mates walking alone in the dense forest isn’t going to get you anywhere because being a human your field of view is really limited at a point where it can get claustrophobic. However everyone has a weakness and by working as a team you can become unstoppable. Getting the pathfinder to throw a couple of flares down, while the Pyromaniac class charges in setting everything ablaze are a wonderful sight. It also helps having the scientist at the back picking dinosaurs one by one protecting the group from those annoying Pteranodons.
Now let’s talk about the control over the dinosaurs and how well they perform. Raptors are my personal favourite, as they are quick and very deadly. The Pternadons are useful because they can provide support from above by scouting out the other team. Most importantly is the T-Rex, which is everybody’s favourite because it’s a huge wrecking ball, scattering and flinging people in the distance, as it charges through a group of humans. Unfortunately the controls often lack the responsiveness. Jumps won’t trigger when they should and the same goes for abilities even though the stamina bar is full. Honestly a Raptor dry-humping the leg of a human being looks really dumb and it’s simply because the jump attack didn’t trigger forcing me to circle around taking chunks off with my claws.
One of the main problems I have with this game is that it lacks replay-value or persistence. There are no upgrades to aim for, no levels to earn and nothing to unlock. I get the feeling that this game is trying to resemble an FPS from an older time and it doesn’t work in the games favour. Give the players something to aim for or a goal rather than just keeping a good kill/death ratio.
The other main problem for me is the bugs that often put up a roadblock for me and after looking around on the forums, it seems others have been on the same boat. Reports of users getting stuck on the load screens and other issues like the shooting animation getting stuck are cropping up. I would like to mention the crippling lag issues I’m getting. At first I thought the issue was on my end, but after speaking to other gamers from the UK I’m not alone. Not everything is doom and gloom though because the official forums have been a massive help, all thanks to the caring members and sometimes even the developers will try their best to help when they have time.
Lukewarm Media has created something different and fun with Primal Carnage. The development team clearly has a love for First-Person Shooters while adding their own twist to the mix. There’s something special about running away from dinosaurs and hiding away for the right chance to attack. It honestly feels like I’m in a scene from Jurassic Park. The game has its flaws that can become a huge nuance and may lack the hook to keep coming back, but it does have its sheer moments of greatness.