The premise of Primal Carnage is one of those things you hear about and instantly think it would be awesome. Dinosaurs v Humans… cool. No matter what scenario you imagine in your head, it always turns out the same; awesome. To actually make the game though, is another matter entirely, because it doesn’t matter how good an idea sounds, it always has the potential to be crap. Thankfully, that’s not the case, as Lukewarm Media’s class based online dino romp is every bit as chaotic as it sounds.
Right off the bat, it was clear that it was much more fun to play as the dinosaurs rather than the humans. Being in the third person perspective, dinos have a much better grasp on the layout of the map. Also, it feels like something fresh and new, even though each dino class has a crippling weakness to accompany their strengths. Without going into the unnecessary, the class based combat is a pretty standard affair from the human’s first person perspective. There are 5 different classes; Commando, Scientist, Pyro, Pathfinder and Trapper. Each has their own special abilities/restrictions, i.e. the Pyro, who is great at providing a wide area of splash damage with his flamethrower yet rather ineffective at taking down single targets. Did I mention there’s a chainsaw bayonet on the flamethrower? Well there is, and it’s pretty much as cool as it sounds.
Matches generally pan out quite predictably; with nauseating bloodshed. However, if the human’s hope to survive, its all about sticking together, finding higher ground and fortifying defence hotspots. Beware though, as straggling humans and lone wolves are usually reduced to bloodstains or T-Rex turd. There are a number of different dinos to make (the increasingly short) human life a pain in the ass. The smaller variants can traverse the maps the easiest, pouncing on single targets or simply launching hit-and-run attacks. One variant can even blind humans with some kind of tar, an ability similar to the human Trapper, who can toss nets over a dino’s face. My favourite dino class however, was the charger called Carnotaurus. This terrifying looking dude is around medium size, and is quite slow to start off, but holding shift allows for a momentum build. The result is a high damage attack on unsuspecting humans and, if it’s a kill shot, sends their lifeless bodies soaring through the air with reckless, hilarious abandon.
Then there’s the T-Rex, the tank class that can sway an entire game. The spawning restrictions on these dudes are pretty lenient, as a few of them could be wreaking havoc at once on a packed out server. Despite their size and reputation, focusing the team’s fire on the beast will see it dropped quickly enough. The trouble is that it can kill simply by standing on you, and when the humans are preoccupied with the tank, they are folly to Pterodactyls and the other smaller dinos lurking around the perimeter. Still, human Scientists can slow down the larger dinosaurs with tranquilisers, and Pathfinders can blind them with flares, making it just that bit easier to cap the threat.
Unfortunately, if you find yourself getting fed up with the Deathmatch gametype, your options for variety are pretty meagre. There is another objective based gametype called “Get to the Choppa’”, where the humans capture different objectives with the ultimate goal of, well, getting to said choppa’. This gametype was added shortly after launch as DLC, but the server population pretty much speaks for which gametype the community prefers… Deathmatch.
Crafted with Unreal Engine 3, Primal Carnage looks fine but lacks any real distinction or impressive scenes, even at the highest settings – the default options for which are also quite basic. However, being an indie title, it’s easy to forgive this considering the addictive gameplay.
As it stands, Primal Carnage could benefit from much more DLC to add more varied options to the insane experience. What’s here is good, but the addictive and unpredictable nature of the gameplay does have its limits, especially when playing as the humans, which can occasionally boil down to a bland blasting session. However, there’s nothing quite like Primal Carnage at the moment, and this is probably the best thing it has going for it. So if the premise tickles you, then definitely give it a bash. Don’t be a Dodo, be a DINO! Oh dear…
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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