Dinosaurs and rifles are a dastardly duo. Putting them together in a game is an interesting combination to say the least. It has been attempted before in games like Turok and Dino D-Day. Fans have shouted for a Battlefield 3 expansion with dinosaurs and Lukewarm Media may be here with the answer. Their new game Primal Carnage is a class based first person shooter that pits humans and dinosaurs against one another in an all-out slaughter fest. Let’s take a look at Primal Carnage and hope that much like John Hammond, Lukewarm Media spared no expense.
Game: Primal Carnage
Published By: Reverb Publishing
Review Sample By: Lukewarm Media
Developed By: Lukewarm Media
Genre: Class Based, First-person Shooter
Release Date: October 29th, 2012
Written By: Brennon Hill
Screenshots By: Brennon Hill
There isn’t much of a backstory in Primal Carnage. This is mainly because it is an online class based first person shooter and doesn’t really need a great story to succeed as a game. The main idea is that some experiments went wrong and the dinosaurs escaped, a team of mercenaries were assigned with taking care of the problem.
The team of mercenaries is made up of five unique individuals, each with their own specialties and weapons. Each individual gets three different weapons or attack types to aid them in disposing of the dinosaurs. The mercenary team, due to their size in comparison to their foe must heavily rely on team play and supporting one another to take down the enemy. The first is the commando, an expert on heavy weapons and explosives.
The commando is armed with an assault rifle and a grenade launcher. The commando is arguably the mercenary team’s best damage dealer, and is vital to putting down the oversized reptiles.
Next on the team is the scientist, whose only practice with the scientific method is a well-placed shot with a sniper rifle. The rifle makes her incredibly dangerous from a distance, but with only a pistol as her secondary, she relies heavily on her teammates when the fight gets a little too close to home.
The third member is the Pathfinder, a Native American wilderness guide. He has a shotgun and road flares to his disposal which may not sound like much, but is actually a very vital part of the mercenaries game plan. See, the dinosaurs have a very difficult time with bright lights, so a nicely timed flare in a small area can essentially render the dinosaurs useless, and with a few accurate shotgun blasts, the pathfinder can take care of some smaller dinosaurs on his own, as well as being a very important role player for the mercenaries.
Then there is the Trapper, a big game hunter who may have decided to go after some game that is too big. The trapper is my personal favorite class because if played correctly, he can be the solitary reason for your team’s victory. He is armed with dual pistols and a giant net gun, and while the net gun doesn’t deal any damage, it will trap three of the enemy’s five dinosaur types immobilizing them for a brief time and allowing your team to rain a hail of gunfire on them. This combination of weapons makes the trapper a sub-par solo class, but an excellent addition to a team that is working together.
Lastly is the Pyromaniac, a defensive flame wielding…maniac. He carries around the coolest weapon in the game, the flamesaw. It is a flamethrower that has an alternate fire method that revs the chainsaw that is underneath the flamethrower. This combination makes him a high damage dealer, but only in close range situations. The flamethrower is really only useful when an enemy is on top of you and the chainsaw won’t even go that far. The pyromaniac is best served covering corners and defending his other teammates. He can’t really be used offensively due to his lack of range, so it is better to play on your heels.
The other team is obviously the dinosaurs. Being bigger and more powerful, the developers had to find a way to balance them correctly. This was done by making all the dinosaurs use melee attacks, therefore you have to run into melee range to attack and must rely on speed, stealth and vision to get to and devour the mercenaries.
First is the biggest and baddest of the dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus. The T-Rex is the biggest of the dinosaurs and therefore has the most health. This makes him difficult to take him down, but he is also very clunky and difficult to maneuver. With his size comes pure power. He is able to gobble up any of the mercenaries in a single bite as well as crush anyone that has the misfortune of standing in his path.
Next is the Novaraptor, the fastest of the dinosaurs. They are able to make their way around or over most of the environment in mere seconds, attack swiftly, and then vanish as quickly as they appeared. This makes the Novaraptor a very good solo creature and two or three of them can downright devastate a group of mercenaries.
Third is the Dilophosaurus, or as I call them, spitters. This is the closest thing that the dinosaurs have to a support class. They are quick and vile, and while their main attack doesn’t do much damage, their alternate attack is a spray of venom that disables an enemy allowing for you to go in for the kill, or to assist another dinosaur by marinating their meal.
Next is the Pteranodon, which are a flying class and probably my favorite dinosaur to play. They take to the skies and assist in a few different ways. They can spot and mark enemies on the map so that other dinosaurs on the ground can see them through walls and take a more tactical approach to their attack. They can also swoop in and grab up a mercenary and take them on a magic carpet ride through the sky. They also have a very basic and weak melee attack that can be used in desperate situations.
Lastly is the Carnotaurus, which is basically a poor man’s T-Rex. He is another very large and powerful dinosaur that is difficult to take down, but also difficult to maneuver. They charge head first with their horns impaling anyone who crosses their path, and they swipe anyone who gets within melee range away with their head.
These two groups go at each other in a non-stop brawl. Sadly the only way to go at it is in deathmatch. While it can be fun for a while, with only 6 maps it can get stale after a while, even with the completely unique option to play as dinosaurs. I just wish the game had more game types so it didn’t get as stale as fast.
While playing as the mercenaries the game handles much like most other first person shooters. W, A, S, and D move your character around, mouse aims and fires your weapons, space bar to jump and so forth. All these keys are able to be reprogrammed in the main menu to set them up to however best suits you or your play style.
While playing as the dinosaurs things are a bit different. You play from third person view, and most of the buttons do the same things for dinosaurs as they do for humans, but with different abilities and attacks the dinosaurs handle slightly different. They feel awkward. I suppose they are supposed to feel that way being giant reptiles and all, but from a controls standpoint it feels like a disadvantage that you are put at while playing the dinosaurs. It may be intended as a form of balance by the developers. Making the dinosaurs harder to handle may be some sort of compensation for them being able to eat the humans in a single bite.
One major downfall is that there is no controller support. Either the game does not recognize it, or it doesn’t have any built in support. It is a PC game, so I guess it is not a requirement, but it is something that would be nice to have. Either way it is a bit disappointing for a game to be lacking controller support in the modern era.
Graphics and Audio
Primal Carnage is a good looking game, but not a great looking one. The graphics themselves are nice enough, but in modern games there have certainly been better. The environment isn’t very exciting, and there are different maps to choose from, but they all end up feeling as if they are in the jungle or right outside of the jungle. That’s not to say that the jungle isn’t beautiful, but after ten matches of fighting in the jungle I just wish we could take the carnage to the city streets of Detroit, or the pyramids in Egypt, or any different environment.
The audio in the game leaves a lot to be desired. There is one music track that repeats at the menu that gets really annoying after about two minutes and it doesn’t change. The music when in game for some reason sounds Scottish, bagpipes and all. It doesn’t really fit and also gets annoying after only a brief amount of time playing. Luckily the music can be turned all the way down in the options which make for a much more peaceful experience. The voice acting seems to only come into play when the mercenaries are resupplying on ammo or health, and it is pretty bad which makes me glad that it only occurs every so often. There are also sound effects that come from the guns and dinosaurs during gameplay, and while they aren’t as annoying as the music, I can’t really tell from sound alone which dinosaur or mercenary is attacking.
Overall and Final Verdict
Overall I think that Primal Carnage is an excellent idea that needs some help. There is definite room for growth with some new environments, game types, or maybe even some vehicles. It would also be nice to see some controller support added. That being said, it is a good class-based shooter. It requires teams to work together to kill the enemy and all the classes are vital to the success of the team as a whole. The classes are all pretty fun to play and give reason to keep coming back. The graphics are nice like I said, but it needs a change of scenery. Looking at the same maps over and over again gets boring in any game, but when all the maps look somewhat the same it gets boring even quicker. I think that Primal Carnage is a great LAN game to play with your friends and have some laughs, but it isn’t something I could foresee playing for long periods of time. Primal Carnage is fun, but it just misses the mark in my opinion, and hopefully with continued development it will hit that mark soon.