Curse Your Sudden, Yet Inevitable, Betrayal!
Ok, so the above quote deals with dinosaur versus dinosaur violence as opposed to dinosaur versus human, but it’s always the first quote that comes to mind when I’m thinking about anything regarding dinosaurs. But alas, poor Wash aside, I digress. What we’re here to talk about is the often dreamed about yet usually failed to realize battle between humans and dinosaurs. There have been many attempts over the years, with a couple successes, but mostly they’ve ended in disappointment. Next up to the plate to give it a shot is Rverb and Lukewarm Media’s Primal Carnage. Let’s take it for a spin to see if it can give us the human versus dinosaur carnage we’ve long desired.
Graphically speaking, the game is pretty much on par for current releases. Nothing amazing, but it also doesn’t look dated or unappealing. For the most part the models and environments are crisp and clear and well done with good levels of detail. The occasional graphical artifact will creep in every so often, but otherwise I didn’t really have any issues with the graphics. Given the low price point of the game, I went in expecting much worse, so in that regard they were definitely a pleasant surprise. I was also pleasantly surprised by the sounds of the game. The sound effects are nice and crisp and useful. When you hear footsteps nearby, nothing good can come from it, especially if you’re on your own.
Decent graphics and nice sound effects are all well and good, but when you’re talking about a game that pits humans against dinosaurs, it is the gameplay, and specifically the balance, that will make or break the title. Primal Carnage is actually very well balanced. There are five “classes” on each side, each of which is specifically designed to counter one on the opposing roster. The Human Commando is great against the huge slow moving Tyrannosaurus Rex, but horrible against the faster, more agile Raptor. The thing that really makes or breaks the gameplay experience though is teamwork. If your team is able to stick together and cover each other’s back and execute a plan of attack it all works out marvelously. If not, you’ll end up as a bloody smear in the jungle, or in the T Rex’s belly. There really isn’t much room in Primal Carnage for the Lone Wolf play style, especially as the humans.
Unfortunately this is also one of the game’s big downfalls. When you pair such a great need for teamwork with a barebones matchmaking system, you end up with a crapshoot. Starting a game is like spinning a roulette wheel and seeing what kind of players you end up with. Sometimes you get a decent squad thrown together, and sometimes you get that guy who thinks he’s Rambo and doesn’t need anyone.
My other major complaint about the game at this time is just the general lack of content. There are ten characters, five maps and only Team Deathmatch. While it is fun when things work out, it also gets pretty repetitive quickly. I understand there was a need to get the game released and there are plans to expand the content through DLC down the road, which I welcome, but as it stands now it isn’t a game you’re going to spend hours upon hours playing. That isn’t to say it isn’t a good deal. At only $15, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth and you’ll enjoy it for a while, but you’ll quickly get bored with the limited map and mode selection and want more.