No-one would have said it better than Malcolm from Jurassic Park: “Life breaks free. Life expands to new territories. Painfully, perhaps even dangerously. But life finds a way”. In Primal Carnage this is exactly the case: a pack of hungry dinosaurs have been resurrected on an old military controlled island after a scientific experiment goes wrong. Lukewarm Media’s multiplayer first person shooter pits a team of mercenaries against a team of dinosaurs on several maps around the island. Defeat the enemy, survive, and have your team win in the struggle for the island. This year is synonymous to multiplayer games; can Primal Carnage measure itself with titles such as Natural Selection 2, Team Fortress 2 and Tribes: Ascend? The idea is successful, the gameplay is fun, but unfortunately you won’t find enough in Primal Carnage to keep you hooked for long.
In Primal Carnage, Team Deathmatch is the only game mode available. In a game revolving exclusively around multiplayer this is rather average, as you quickly get bored of killing mercenaries followed by killing dinosaurs over and over again. For that matter, there is little depth in Primal Carnage, and this is a shame considering the fact that what the developers have actually put into this game is fun and of high quality.
“It would sound self-evident that dinosaurs have some sort of advantage over mercenaries, but that is not true.”
For both teams, players dispose of different classes to choose from. For the humans these are the commander, the native pathfinder, the pyromaniac, the dino-trapper and the scientist. Honestly, unlike many multiplayer games, all classes in Primal Carnage are equally convenient and entertaining to play with. The trapper can cast out nets to catch small sized dinosaurs, and finish them off with his double wielded revolvers. Choose the pyromaniac and you can turn dinosaurs into tasty barbecued ribs (figuratively speaking).
Back in team dinosaurs, the five creatures available are the Tyrannosaurus, Novaraptor, Dilophosaurus, Pteranon and Comotaurus. Unlike the humans, these are controlled from third person view, and thus players have the advantage of seeing what’s happening around them. The Novaraptor, quite like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park, moves extremely fast and can fork humans to the ground in a matter of seconds. The only way you’ll seriously take down people though is when your stamina bar is full. The Dilophosaurus can shower humans with a special treatment called acid spit, temporarily blinding them to finish them off afterwards. Players can also move by air with the Pteranon. These have the ability to pick players up from the ground and drop them to their death once high in the air. Be careful not to ever let that happen to you, or you can sign your own death warrant! But if players really want to break the ice, they’ll choose for monsters like the Comotaurus and the Tyrannosaurus, who are capable of swooping up petty humans and swallowing them whole.
Players playing as the Tyrannosaurus won’t necessarily be much stronger than Novaraptors due to the fact that these move slowly and are visible from within a mile. This means players are not obliged to make kills to unlock bigger classes; on the contrary, they’ll pick a quicker and smaller class once, and go for the big deal another time. I don’t know, perhaps picking the Tyrannosaurus makes you feel like freaking Godzilla, but if you die even before remotely getting to the humans, you might have made the wrong decision.
It would sound self-evident that dinosaurs have some sort of advantage over mercenaries, but that is not true. Both teams present equal chances of winning; it all depends on how you work as a team. It might be team deathmatch, but strategy is not completely ruled-out. It’s unsafe to be wondering about on your own, because chances are you’ll end up in the net of a trigger happy dino-trapper or the claws of a ferocious raptor. Around the map, both teams will have access to health spots, and mercenaries will have the opportunity to reload their weapons at ammunition deposits.
The amount of maps in this game is average. These include an airplane base, a tropical forest, a pteranon dome, a stone bunker and a port; all of which require different strategies and present unique challenges for both teams. Apparent is the fact that there is no ranking system, nor a reward system (although perhaps that’s a good thing). With some updates including new game modes and other features, Primal Carnage can become a beast of a game, but I feel Primal Carnage is still waiting to come out of its shell. It’s missing some key elements and needs to be polished. After several hours the game becomes repetitive and slightly boring. Quite frankly, I feel no need to jump back into the game for hours; but in short chunks of time it’s conceivable.
Later this month a new objective-based mode called “Get to the Chopper” and a new map will be added, which will hopefully bring more variety and gameplay to Primal Carnage.