Primal Carnage is a unique multiplayer experience that pits Humans vs Dinosaurs in a to-the-death battle for supremacy. Is the game’s roar as big as it’s bite?
It’s incredibly easy to think of Jurassic Park when playing Primal Carnage. The locations lend themselves to look like you’re on Isla Sorna or Isla Nublar with the dense jungle areas and inserted bases and airstrips. There’s a night-time map where it’s thunderstorming so visibility is naturally low. At launch, there was only a handful of levels, which is mildly disappointing. And each one is barely different from the next, other than variations in lighting, weather, time of day, and arrangement of trees. The environments are absolutely awesome, the Unreal Engine 3 excels here with no texture pop-in, but provide wonderful visuals and immersive atmosphere.
The gameplay is what you come to Primal Carnage for, the Human vs Dinosaur aspect. There’s no story to how or why we are at odds with the dinosaurs, but it doesn’t really matter either. Playing as the Humans you’re in the first person perspective. The dinosaurs play from the third person perspective and have horrific roars you can unleash that enhance your powers. Another nod to Jurassic Park has it where throwing a flare not necessarily distracts a dinosaur, but can blind it. It’s really clever and is really the one advantage humans have over the dinosaurs to give them a fighting chance. Each side feels vulernable, so there’s a sense of tension and danger as either human or dinosaur can go down rather quickly.
Each side has five classes to choose from. Humans range in firepower, whereas Dinosaurs range in mobility. There are many ways to exterminate dinosaurs; with shotguns, machine guns, sniper rifles, or tranquilizer darts which will cause them to stumble and have altered vision. The dinosaurs aren’t varied much except for the speed of the short-armed variety. Using the T-Rex is like driving a tank, but is immensely powerful and “King of the Dinosaurs”. The Pterodon is the only dinosaur that can fly in the group, and is the most difficult to use as a result. There’s a small learning curve for each class and will only take about 30 minutes per class to get the hang of it.
If you haven’t gathered by now, the game is multiplayer only – and that’s okay. I have a few gripes with the multiplayer that shouldn’t have faults given the game’s focus; the Quick Matching works fine and gets you in quickly but sometimes you’ll drop in as matches are ending, giving you no winning chance. With no persistent stat tracking, it’s hardly an issue as you don’t need to worry about your “precious K/D ratio”. It’s sad to see some words misspelled, no way to filter by ping, or objective type (there’s only one). Deathmatch is perfectly fine, but I was left wanting more modes to play on these maps.
Primal Carnage isn’t bad, just lacking modes and other features you’d expect out of a multiplayer game. Shutting the game down hints at new free stuff like content, maps, game mode, etc. That’s all well and good, but it gives off a whiff of an unfinished game. It’s incredibly fun no matter what side you play and there’s no denying how well-balanced the game’s classes are for each side. The humans and dinosaurs may have dramatically different numbers of health points, but both are equally squishy with the weapons at their disposal. The promise of free updates might warrant this purchase, just not at full price.
A code for the game was provided by PR for review purposes