Primal Carnage (Review)

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Ah, a first person shooter. A quick glance at the list of reviews I have on here will quickly reveal that I don’t play many or, at the very least, I choose not to write about them. This is because I’m not really a major fan of first person shooters. They tend to feel very “samey” in this day and age. Everything is a modern war shooter, I guess because Call of Duty: Modern Warfare took off and everyone wanted to emulate it.

Anyway, it takes a special kind of shooter to grab my attention. I need a hook. Half-Life 2 did it with the interesting mechanics and possibilities introduced by the gravity gun, and going back a little further, Aliens vs Predator had some VERY enthralling marines versus aliens versus predators gameplay. I need something that sets a shooter apart from the endless war shooters that are fumbling over one another, and Primal Carnage is just that.

Does this game have a story? Not that I’m aware of. Are there any singleplayer campaigns or levels? No, it’s entirely online PvP based. Still, I love this game to death. This is probably because it does two things. First and foremost, it’s not another war shooter – praise the Spaghetti Monster! Second, it’s a class based shooter that has two sides squaring off for domination of the map, humans AND FREAKIN’ DINOSAURS! DINOSAURS!!!

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Honestly, who didn’t dream of this game as a child? Find me someone who says that they never played dinosaurs on the school playground and I will show you someone who is lying through their teeth! This game brings to life the fantasies of many, and the fact that a game with only two game modes and a small number of maps has remained popular for several months is evidence of this.

So, what’s the drill here? You boot up Primal Carnage via Origin or Steam, configure your settings (there’s a pleasant amount of control and video options to tinker with) and then you load up the server list and pick one that tickles your fancy.

Upon joining a server, you’re tasked with joining either the humans or the dinosaurs. Each side has five classes, though the dinosaur team has a special sixth class in the Get to the Chopper game mode. Humans have their choice of commando (SMG and grenade launcher), scientist (sniper), trapper (pistols and netter), pyro (flamethrower and grenades) and pathfinder (shotgun and blinding flares). They’re all pretty standard fare, and I find myself gravitating towards the commando more often than any other simply because I really love grenade launchers! The commando can take down small dinosaurs in the blink of an eye, he’s really exceptional. The trapper is also a popular class to see played because he can trap dinosaurs in nets, which at the very least will prevent a dinosaur from attacking and even halting them in their tracks in extreme cases.

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Dinosaurs have their choice of novaraptor, a stealthy and agile dinosaur that can pounce and pin on enemies, savagely attacking them until they die. The dilophosaurus is the second class and is an extremely small and frail dinosaur capable of spitting blinding poisons that obscure the vision of humans. The third class, Pteranodon, is a flying pterosaur that can swoop in from the skies and lift humans from the ground. The carnotaurus is a slightly larger dinosaur that runs at tremendous speeds and, due to its size, makes for a very potent battering ram sort of attacker. The fifth and final dinosaur class is the mighty tyrannosaurus. The T-Rex is absolutely massive and can kill any human in its way with absolute ease. Fortunately it requires a certain amount of players to be in the game before a T-Rex can be spawned.

Outside of standard team deathmatch, there is Get to the Chopper. I’ll admit that I’ve barely played it because I didn’t care much for it, but it introduces a sixth dinosaur class, the spinosaurus. Imagine a bigger, stronger T-Rex and you have the spinosaurus.

Anyway, the two game modes are team deathmatch and Get to the Chopper. The latter is objective based and involves the humans capturing objectives and trying to escape from the dinosaurs. As mentioned, I wasn’t too big of a fan of this mode and usually stick to deathmatch. Why do I do that? Because deathmatch is amazingly fun in this game! There is an immense amount of strategy that you must think over depending on which side you’re playing and which map you are on. Some maps are definitely more geared towards dinosaurs while others favour humans. There are eight different maps split between the two game modes, and they’re all quite diverse. One is set in a dockyard facility with a large cargo ship docked alongside while another has a very cool Jurassic Park-esque abandoned utility base complete with lots of growth for dinosaurs to hide in.

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Playing as each dinosaur feels radically different than the rest. The dilophosaurus is very small so it can get around relatively unseen, but it is exceptionally frail and can be killed very easily. It’s sort of like a scout that can spit blinding poison. The novaraptor is larger and a bit more resistant to gunfire, but I find that they excel as a stealth based class. I love hiding from high vantage points and waiting until I see a stray human somewhere because, honestly, a lone human is going to lose to a novaraptor ninety nine percent of the time due to the raptor being able to jump on and immobilize a human while also depleting their health until they die. It may sound like a cowardly way to play, but I disagree. When you play a novaraptor, you really feel like a hunter. Unless a larger dinosaur such as a T-Rex is causing a massive distraction, a novaraptor will want to lay low unless you find a pack of raptors to run with (strength in numbers). The raptor is tailor made to picking off stragglers and, honestly, it’s so sickly satisfying to leap on and kill defenseless humans!

So, there are hugely different classes and several nice and varied maps to play on. The gameplay is really exceptional, and this game has probably become my favourite PvP shooter that I have ever played. It’s dirt cheap on Steam and Origin and, honestly, there’s little reason to not try it!

Final Score

9.2/10

Pros:
+ The dinosaurs sound absolutely fantastic.
+ Gameplay is exceptionally varied yet balanced between the two teams.
+ You get to be a freaking dinosaur. That is reason enough to buy the game!

Cons:
– Can be difficult to find a good game during some hours.
– Despite the few maps being very good, quality over quantity may not fly for some people.
– Some dinosaur classes take an awful lot of practice to excel at using.

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