There haven’t exactly been plenty of dinosaur versus human multiplayer first-person shooters. There was Dino D-Day which scored 53 out of 100 at Metacritic and ORION: Dino Beatdown which was apparently equally as bad. Today, Lukewarm Media saw the release of their class-based multiplayer FPS Primal Carnage which I would, ironically, describe as lukewarm.
Primal Carnage pits dinosaurs versus a team of specialist humans in a place called “The Island.” The Island was a scientific hub for recreating dinosaurs then something goes horribly wrong and the dinosaurs escape wreaking havoc on The Island such is the plot of Jurassic Park.
The game pits dinosaurs versus a team of specialist humans in an arena-based team deathmatch with a maximum of 16 players per team. Like the multiplayer versus of L4D, humans get a first-person view while dinosaurs get a third-person view. Players are able to choose from four different classes as either species.
Dinosaurs are equipped with only two different attack types, one being their normal attack and the other being their class-unique attack. They also have a considerably higher amount of HP and are able to move faster.
As king of the dinosaur jungle, the T-Rex takes on the role of a tank sporting high HP and the ability to kill human simply by walking over them. Due to their high damage and HP, there can only be three T-Rex for every six players. As a human, when a T-Rex is within your vicinity, the camera will shake according to its footsteps. This would be a great touch to the visuals but it is not at all executed properly. Apparently, you can’t hear the footsteps of a 50-foot lizard over the sounds of gunfire and screeching.
These dinosaurs are basically Velociraptors. Due to the fact that the Novaraptor moves so abnormally fast, it’s quite difficult to pounce on a human. Also, because the Novaraptor moves around so damn fast, humans tend to try to dodge pounces so 1v1 fights with a human consists of either player running around each other until one of them gets shot down by another player.
This dinosaur acts as the scout of the dinosaur team. Its damage output is not very high but it is able to fly. As mentioned above, humans move quite fast so using the Pteranodon’s talon ability is quite difficult and, because humans tend to stick together, you’ll get shot down quickly. The Pteranodon is best used picking off scientists, who act as snipers, in the background.
This dinosaur was made famous by the spitting dinosaurs from Jurassic Park. They have moderate HP and stamina but are able to blind humans using their Spit Attack which makes your screen look more like a smashed purple blue-screen of death rather than dinosaur spit. Their normal attack causes poison damage over time. They rely heavily on the hit and run strategy making them by far the most usable dinosaur in the game.
This dinosaur is a semi-tank equipped with a high amount of stamina due to its ability to sprint and ram humans dealing massive damage. The Carnotaurus feels incredibly buggy. Sometimes ramming enemies seemingly accurately doesn’t work.
With the exception of the T-Rex and the Carnotaurus, dinosaurs are not able to regain health over time. However, there are Iguanodons scattered around maps that serve as health restoration points for the dinosaur team. The biggest annoyance when it comes to the dinosaur team is that it is in third-person. Humans move like they play Team Fortress, they run around incessantly and jump every two steps despite their low stamina. Using a dinosaur that is too quick or too slow makes it difficult to aim properly. As a dinosaur, you spend most of your time circling enemies trying to figure out if you’re dealing damage or not. There are no indications as to whether your normal attack is doing damage except for small spurts of blood that is hard to see due to the constant camera movement. There is also no indication as to how long your roar ability buff lasts so you spend every step spamming roar.
Playing on the dinosaur team does not require as much strategy as the human team. It’s basically every dinosaur for himself as most dinosaurs’ skills are built for one on one encounters.
The human team tends to stick together due to the increasing difficulty to shoot down fast moving dinosaurs. It is also much more important to have a balance of classes of which all look like absolute stereotypes.
The Commando acts like the tank class of the team. Commandos are fitted with higher HP and a high damage output. The downside is that their weapons are increasingly inaccurate and they are easily outmaneuvered. Their secondary weapons is the rocket launcher which can take down most dinosaurs in one accurate hit.
You’d think they instead equip the Pathfinder with higher HP due to their short ranged weapons but apparently not. Their alternate fire equips them with Flares which doesn’t last very long but blinds dinosaurs when they look directly at it.
Pyros are fitted with a flamethrower that does damage over time for a short duration on dinosaurs. The grenades hardly ever work on dinosaurs due to its relatively small area of effect and the quick movement of dinosaurs. However, they do work well with cutting down the HP of slower dinosaurs like the T-Rex. They also work quite well with removing Novaraptors from your teammates.
The scientists act as the snipers of the team. They are equipped with a sniper rifle with a scope that can be zoomed twice but has a low rate of fire. Scientists are also equipped with tranquilizer darts which is supposed to drain stamina. However, even without sprinting, dinosaurs can still outrun any human making the darts quite useless. As a dinosaur, I did not find her tranquilizer darts as much of a threat. She is also equipped with a cattle prod which acts as the melee attack. It’s very unresponsive and considering how fast dinosaurs move, it’s damn near impossible to use it.
This is probably the most useful albeit the hardest class to use. The Net Gun is incredibly hard to aim because dinosaurs move so fast. It also has surprisingly low ammo capacity and an infuriatingly slow reload rate. Taking a dinosaur down with a net, however, does feel very satisfying.
Humans feel a lot more buggy than their dinosaur counterparts. Their melee attacks are slow to respond, there are some problems with the jump button and sometimes their weapons seem to jam with no indication. One thing that really annoyed me is how you are not allowed to strafe while sprinting, you need to use the mouse to move left and right. You’re going against insanely fast dinosaurs here; the least the developers could give us is the ability to dodge attacks better while sprinting.
The maps leave space for strategic value to humans. There are ammo and health caches scattered around the map but have limited supply forcing humans to constantly move around. I found the spawn points quite random. Due to the dinosaurs’ one on one encounters dynamic, it would have made more sense for humans to spawn closer to their allies. The maps are relatively big and are easy to navigate around. However, neither humans nor dinosaurs are equipped with any sort of radar but both are able to see the exact positions of their allies through walls.
As of the moment, there is only one game mode available: Team Deathmatch. Each round is won by score, not by kill count. This means that teams will get higher overall scores if their teammates have plenty of assist kills which encourages teams to work together.
It would not be fair to give this game an abysmally low rating because they have just gotten out of beta stage but they should have delayed the release allowing for more improvements and bug fixes. Primal Carnage does have the potential to become the first ever dinosaur versus humans FPS to be recognized but there is still a long way to go. However, even if you’ve got £11.99 to spare I wouldn’t recommend purchasing this game right now.