For years, gamers have been clamoring for a Jurassic Park game that does right by the franchise. While we might not ever see another official release that takes place on Isla Nublar, Primal Carnage from Lukewarm Media does a good job of creating the right atmosphere and kicking the action up two or three notches. Whether you take up arms as a human or chomp down on one with your massive jaws, there’s a lot of fun to be had.
Primal Carnage is an online-only competitive multiplayer game that sees two teams fighting in deathmatch and objective-based game. Of course, the big twist to this formula is that one side is humans and the other side is dinosaurs. At launch, the game only had team deathmatch, but right now there is a beta in progress for a capture point mode called “Get to the Chopper.”
The game is class-based with five different types on each side of the board, including traditional soldier types and more stealth and strategy-based options, like the Trapper who uses a netgun and hunting knife. When playing the human side, there are health and ammo stations scattered around the map where players can refill what they need. Playing as the dinosaurs offers a completely different experience, though.
Instead of a first-person perspective like the humans use, the dinos use a third-person view. This allows a better view of some of the awesome kills. Each beast has a special roar that can slightly alter its attributes. The five classes all play different and offer a good variety. The Carnotaurus uses his dome head to bash humans. They can also charge and become an almost unstoppable battering-ram. The Pteranodon is the flying type that can serve as a scout that can mark enemies with their roar. They can also scoop up humans and drop them to their death.
Dilophosaurus are the wonderful spitters of the group. Their exrection can hit at long range and blind the humans. Up close, they can poison with their bite. The classic Novaraptors are the fastest of the dinos. Their pounce ability allows them to trap a human on the ground and gnaw on them until they die or until an ally shoots you off of them. Finally, you can’t have a dinosaur game without the biggest baddie of them all, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Just walking over a human will stomp them to death, and his bite is an automatic kill. His roar grants all of his teammates around him a power boost.
As awesome and powerful the dinosaurs may sound (and they are both of those things), the game is amazingly well balanced. Playing on either side is fun and entertaining. The humans need to stick together to take down a T-Rex, but it is absolutely possible. The game keeps the powerful T-Rex in check by only allowing a certain amount of them spawned at a time.
Primal Carnage feels cartoony at times, but still gory when it needs to be. The characters have good personalities, and the game gives off an over-the-top feel. The sound effects are great, and the small touches here and there (like the shaking screen when an enemy T-Rex is close by) are really nice.
Playing the dinosaurs works fairly well, but when things get hectic and you’re trying to reposition the camera, it can get a little cumbersome. It’s not game breaking by any means, but for a few seconds it is jarring to have the camera fight you when trying to get out of a bad situation.
One thing that bothers me slightly is the fact that there is no progression whatsoever. There’s nothing to unlock, no upgrades to equip or new skins to wear. It is a very old-school approach, and that is totally fine for some players. Having an incentive to stick with it would have been nice.
Primal Carnage has a solid player base playing right now. This is good because without it, the game is practically nothing. It’s also nice to see that the developers are still supporting the game months after launch with a new mode.
Lukewarm Media set out to do one simple thing with Primal Carnage: let people play, as and fight, dinosaurs. They hit that mark and then some. Even with no level progression, I still come back to it just to eat some humans. For $15, you get the closest thing there is to a Jurassic Park multiplayer game, and it also happens to be a lot of fun.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.