Primal Carnage Review

The multiplayer-only, man-versus-dinosaur shooter Primal Carnage is a fun and well-balanced game, but stumbles in its execution.

by

Of the great dream matchups in humankind's evolutionary history, none is more pervasive than humans versus dinosaurs. Countless books, movies, video games, and more have broached this subject, but a definitive winner remains elusive. The latest in this ongoing academic effort is Primal Carnage, a team-based, competitive multiplayer game that hits on a fun design, but stumbles in execution. A lack of content and some technical issues leave this game feeling like a $15 beta rather than an official release.

Primal Carnage has only one game type: team deathmatch. One side plays as the humans, and the other controls the dinosaurs. The first team to shoot, bite, stomp, or grenade the other into submission wins. The two teams then switch sides, and it starts up again.

Each side is composed of five distinct classes. On the human side, every class comes equipped with a gun, as well as a secondary ability. At the most basic there's the commando. He has a machine gun that shoots lots of bullets and doubles as a grenade launcher. Pretty simple. On the other end of the spectrum sits the trapper. He can disable dinosaurs with his slow-firing net gun and wields two pistols that can be fired (and reloaded) independently.

While the humans' focus is ranged combat, the dinosaurs like showing off their fine dental work. Running and biting are key pillars of the dinosaur fighting style, but developer Lukewarm Media has injected distinction into each of these dinos as well. The Dilophosaurus' attacks cause temporary blindness or poisoning, while the headstrong Carnotaurus can charge through and scatter groups of humans like bowling pins. Meanwhile, the Pteranodon circling overhead can mark enemies for all teammates to see.

Then there's the Tyrannosaurus. Its specialty is swallowing people whole.

While shotguns and sharp claws are handy, the greatest weapon in Primal Carnage is teamwork. Generally speaking, the humans stick together and watch each other's back as they migrate between health and ammo kits to resupply. Meanwhile, the dinosaurs patrol on the fringes, sending in the occasional Carnotaurus or T. rex to break up the pack and feast during the ensuing chaos.

Dropping an enemy from great height as the Pteranodon is always satisfying.

Despite having wildly different play styles, the humans and dinosaurs are well balanced against one another. Each human class is designed to best a specific dinosaur, and vice versa. For example, commandos are great at laying down fire on a slow-moving T. rex, but have trouble tracking nimble raptors (who are easily netted by trappers). This subtly encourages a balance of classes during every match by further defining each character's role. In turn, this balance creates more dynamic, and enjoyable, matches.

Isolation is a vulnerability for both man and beast. The maps are very large, and after respawning, your character is usually located on the outer rim, far away from his or her allies. The jog back can lead to some great Jurassic Park-esque hilarity, because every faint footstep or distant growl can lead to near-instant death. And when you see a bush rustle out of the corner of your vision, you know it can't be anything good.

With 10 characters, five maps, and one game mode, Primal Carnage is short on content. The core game is a lot of fun, but it grows repetitive and is subject to the quality of competition found online. And since this game is online only, there are no offline training or single-player modes. Creating a private room to test-drive the characters isn't even an option, since you cannot enable a password. To play, you must undergo a trial by fire with the rest of the game's community.

Getting shot by other players is bad enough, but you can also get shot down by the game's technical bugs. Oversized geometry and background elements flickering in and out of existence are some of the less-serious hiccups. At the time of this publication, the option for antialiasing has been removed because some players have reported that enabling it causes repeated game crashing. On a less serious note, sometimes after losing a match the game will display the victory logo. While inaccurate, this mismatched logo does help boost self-esteem.

The trapper's net is great at immobilizing those pesky Novaraptors.

Thankfully, the developers have been quick to release updates to correct these issues. But this less-than-stellar first impression may sour your interest interest in this prehistoric cage match. Primal Carnage has the markings of a great game, but is held back by a number of bugs and a shortage of content. For a game that celebrates the excitement of dinosaurs, hopefully it will not share their fate.

The Good
Good variety in individual human and dinosaur play styles
Large maps create both exciting group combat and nerve-wracking isolation.
The Bad
Several small technical bugs hamstring the game
Lack of overall content.
6.5
Fair
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mkeezay22
mkeezay22

I've followed the game for a while after seeing a trailer way back and visiting the site,there's definitely a great game in the making here as long as payers support it the game will get some great updates and content,lets just hope it makes it long enough.

CraZkid37
CraZkid37

lol this game looks fun. Never heard of it until now. Sounds like its worth picking up.Anyone else hoped the person playing the Pteranodon would have dropped the guy into the T-Rex's mouth?

majere613
majere613

I sort of think there WAS a definitive winner in Dinosaurs vs Humans. We're still here, they're all dead. I make that 1-0 to the mammals with a replay looking exceedingly unlikely.

DarkFrankhs
DarkFrankhs

Sounds like the formula is on to a winner - they just need more money to develop it! 

TheBigKabosh
TheBigKabosh

I understand they needed the money, but releasing an incomplete game is a terrible move that might cost them big time. If the game gets a Steam top100 player count then I'll buy it. I've played games with a low player base before and it sucks.

Darksider141
Darksider141

Totaly disagree, more than worth $15 and also the dev stated that they were going to add a lot more content to the game.

ps2fatboy
ps2fatboy

remember 6.5 doesnt mean its bad

ps2fatboy
ps2fatboy

well the trailer made it looks cool plus its on steam which means cheap fun multiplayer nothing too indepth but fair enough review

Drealgrin7
Drealgrin7

it's 15 dollars ffs, what are you nuts expecting for 15 dollars?For the money, it's a must buy. insanely fun. When you pick out a human as a pteranodon to dodge and weave out of the way of the bullets as you fly horizontally into the air away from his buddies to eventually drop him to his death.Or when you land the kill shot on a t-rex that is inches away from swallowing you whole.You'll undoubtedly realize that this game is definitely the best deal of the year. 

ABakedAlien
ABakedAlien

  If you were to ignore the fact the game lacks alot of content the game is quite good. The graphics are standard 2012 graphics. Not amazing but not bad. The Dinosaurs are extremely fun to play as. There is only one class I didn't really care for (Dilophosaurus*). The humans aren't bad either, not nearly as much fun as the dinosaurs as they are quite simple. I would of liked to see a little more depth like maybe iron sights for some weapons. Surprisingly the game is quite balanced tho. The maps are great aswell. On top of this the game is only $15. At first I thought the lack of content was excusable because of this because the game's mechanic are all there and quite good. But then I realized counter strike is 15 and that game is fully loaded. If this game was fully loaded with map changers, voice chat, game modes, ranks  it's easily a 7.5-8. At first I disagreed with the low score of 6.5 but when I think about it, the lack of content and only one gamemode with no map changer (you gotta leave the server and join a different one to change maps) is pretty unacceptable. I am sort of biased because I was following the game before it was released so I sorta knew what to expect when I bought it. I also love dinosaurs : P. 

 

Bottom line is the game is actually very well made and is loads of fun to play. It's the lack of content that significantly hurts it. Honestly they should of added more content before making the release official. Alot of people follow game reviews now and this game would of gotten way better reviews had they waited and actually finished the game. 

 

nait2k4
nait2k4

Nice review Maxwell, you think the guys upstairs will let you review it again in 6 months when its gotten a bunch of updates? From my brief soiree with it, I can see a lot of potential for mayhem and fun.

fawad2k80
fawad2k80

reminds me Jurrasik Park movie 

ahmedkabir.tumblr.com

 

SAK bit.ly/g8iPA

deutscherschule
deutscherschule

I completely agree with his rating.  I know they just released it not TOO long ago, so I wouldn't expect them to have 100 different maps out, but to have only about 4 out, and only one kind of mission, deathmatch, is rather disappointing.  Also the fact that the characters look rather dull and unappealing isn't enjoyable to play.  I wish they had more player customization, which from what I've heard, they aren't going to do.  But the good thing is they said they're releasing more maps and missions very soon so that's something to look forward to.

CloWnCircus
CloWnCircus

Guess they didn't get the "Dinosaurs had feathers" memo.

Baselerd
Baselerd

Any game that has a T-Rex class is a win in my book.

Rawrrah
Rawrrah

I would be giving Primal Carnage the exact same score mainly because of the lack of maps, game modes and such. But since we will be receiving those later I ended adding +1 to the score already. The way the game is now is "fair", but when the expansions are released Primal Carnage will be "good".

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

Maxwell McGee..hmm.the same guy who was making stupid expressions in a farcry3 vid.

grin89
grin89

anyone else miss turok?

mstrchf12
mstrchf12

Looks good. Could use some more game modes though. 

nocoolnamejim
nocoolnamejim moderator

Stopped reading at "multiplayer only".

mav_destroyer
mav_destroyer

I was so close to buying this game, it still sounds pretty interesting so I might pick it up. I feel there's a mismatch between the written review and the score given.

chrisrooR
chrisrooR

 @Darksider141 

 

Except that the content isn't here for release. The reviewer is reviewing the game that is present right now. 

 

And the game lacks polish. I've been playing the beta with my roommate, and the lack of precise control sort of kills playing the dinos for me. Playing as humans also lacks precision, and I find that the combat mechanics are overall very clunky.

Drealgrin7
Drealgrin7

 @ABakedAlien Comparing a game that is made by an extremely succesfull developer to one made by an independent one is foolish.

StellOverdrive
StellOverdrive

 @ABakedAlien Except Counter Strike has technically been around for more than a decade–plenty of time to "fully load" it.

ABakedAlien
ABakedAlien

 @deutscherschule I agree. When I play the humans I feel like its almost more of a chore and I'm just taking my turn as a human so I can get back to playing as a dinosaur. I think they should of ditched the class system for a more customizable approach. I also think adding simple iron sights to the assault rifle and shotgun would make the FPS mechanics seem alot better, increasing the enjoyability of playing as the humans. If you took COD or Battlefield (any developed FPS) controls and mechanics for humans, the game would be alot better. The humans as is just aren't that fun to play.

TheBigKabosh
TheBigKabosh

 @CloWnCircus It's a humans vs dinosaurs game, and you're complaining about dinosaurs not having feathers?

Rickystickyman
Rickystickyman

 @CloWnCircus Actually only a handful of dinosaurs had anything even slightly resembling feathers. They did a recent analysis on the dinosaurs that claimed to have proto-feathers and it turns out it was just skin protein... yeah... probably should add that to the books.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

 @Gelugon_baat The problem with that statement is that we're dealing with something altogether different these days with online games. If a game is built around the idea of continual growth, no good review would discount that aspect. This IS, after all, multiplayer only.

 

Now, I'm not saying promised content or technical attention is as good as content that's ready to go or a stable game, but for a game like this, the future *is* going to be a factor for any prospective buyer, and therefore absolutely needs to be for a reviewer.

lorider25
lorider25

 @nocoolnamejim

 Funny, I kept reading at multiplayer only. That's the reason why I clicked on the link.

LordLOC
LordLOC

 @nocoolnamejim They are a super small indie studio, what did you want, a Trespasser 15+ hour single player with branching storylines and 25 different endings?

zoeyleft
zoeyleft

 @Drealgrin7  @ABakedAlien why? it is still the SAME MONEY you spend. why would it be different? its like saying asking 15 bucks for a game made by a idenpendent developer when an extremely succesful developer does the same is foolish. so this game should be asking 1 dollar from us?!?!

CloWnCircus
CloWnCircus

 @TheBigKabosh If humans were represented having exoskeletons wouldn't you notice? It's not a major concern and certainly nothing game breaking but fidelity is always a nice addition. 

CloWnCircus
CloWnCircus

 @Rickystickyman I don't think 30+ Dinosaurs can be considered an "handful". Can you show me the study you're speaking about?

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

 @zoeyleft If it's not a games journalist's job to make a consumer informed, then they don't really have one at all.

 

Anyway, if that's what a review should be, then that begs the question, what good is a review? This idea of a review you speak of sounds entirely worthless to me.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

 @Gelugon_baat I realize a game maker *should* bear such a burden, but they frequently don't, and we both know that. A journalist, on the other hand, is usually tasked with investigation. It's their job to figure these things out, and to make the public aware.

zoeyleft
zoeyleft

 @parrot_of_adun  @Gelugon_baat imo, the reviewer does not need to do anything else other than review the game. not future plans for it or whatever it used to be. just the game as it is at the time of reviewing. finished.as a reviewer, its not your job to make a consumer informed. you just review the game. whether the consumer gets informed by it or not, is really in the consumer's hand.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

 @Gelugon_baat The journalist. It's the obligation of a journalist to make sure their audience is well informed, and a review is the product of a journalist.

 

It's the job of marketing teams to sell a product, which may or may not involve telling their consumers about everything they should.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

 @zoeyleft There are, however, those who might be swayed by even the promise of future updates. If you want an informed consumer, it's better to tell them *everything*.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

 @Gelugon_baat Hmm, took me awhile to respond here, but anyway...

 

I'm not saying games should be given praise for promised content, simply that any known plans should be mentioned. A review itself, in my opinion, shouldn't be as much about opinion as it should be informative. It should, first and foremost, seek to make the reader aware of anything and everything that might make the reader a more educated consumer. If a studio is known to have future plans for a game, many might find that useful information. It doesn't need to be conveyed as either positive or negative (something a score does intrinsically, which is why I mentioned it).

nait2k4
nait2k4

 @zoeyleft  @Gelugon_baat  @parrot_of_adun Well yeah, you have to review the release. But whats wrong with a follow up in 6 months to see how it goes? You can still buy the game 6 months from now, but it could be a very different experience. If the purpose of the website is to review games and give customers the opportunity to make informed purchasing decisions, I see nothing wrong with chucking an addendum into a previous review to update on changes/patches/additions etc.

 

They used to do something similar, called 'After The Fact' or something...? Have a look at -

 

http://www.gamespot.com/persona-4-arena/reviews/persona-4-arena-review-6390685/

 

for an example of what I mean.

zoeyleft
zoeyleft

 @nait2k4  @Gelugon_baat  @parrot_of_adun why the hell would they? if you release a game, you in this day and age agrees to it being a reviewable product. i mean, you actually are charging money for a "finished" product. so expect the reviews to mirror the products quality at the time of release. any more speculation of future is just wrong. if you want the game to be reviewed after another 6 months of work put into it, then bloody hell release it after putting in 6 months of extra work. Of COURSE the reviewer have to review its current state and give it a numbered verdict of its current state now, because it is being sold as so, and therefore there will be buyers who would like an opinion on the game.i know this game got potential and it didnt really live out all its amazing potential and you guys really wish it did, and think that only if more people would buy it, it would. but be serious, they could have done a better game. they could have worked extra hard on it for more time and only after then released it. and it would definitely get a much higher numbered rating. but they chose not to. so who's to blame really.dont sucker people into buyin this game now buy promising them "future" stuff. give them an honest review of what is in it NOW and let them decide whether they should buy it now or not.

nait2k4
nait2k4

 @Gelugon_baat  @parrot_of_adun I actually really like the idea of reviewing games a significant time after release. Kind of like a retrospective, or a 'Second Look' like they used to do with some heavily patched games.

 

A game can suck major balls at release, but after a decent amount of time has passed, can become almost classic.

 

Maybe Gamespot should invest some time in 'Second Opnion' reviews, or 6 month later look sees.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

 @Gelugon_baat I know that promises may not be fulfilled (honestly, I'd have to be exceptionally stupid not to), but here's the thing, if an understanding regarding future content isn't reached by a reviewer, then most online games would get rotten reviews. It's difficult to think of online-only games that begin with all that much (except those that start with gargantuan budgets). Yet, there are a decent number of such games that people play frequently because said titles have been faithfully maintained.

 

Honestly, this isn't even an issue with the review. Any human with half a brain will take what they want from the review itself to form their own conclusion. The problem is the score. There is no reason at all why reviews should have them, they do nothing but manipulate people who can't be bothered to read. So when something like this effects the score, people steer clear (because 6.5 is bad now, I guess) without getting any actual information. Information that might just change someone's mind (such as "lukewarm likely aren't going to just abandon the game").

Primal Carnage

  • PC
Primal Carnage is an asymmetrical online multiplayer class-based game of humans versus dinosaurs.
Check out even more info at the Primal Carnage Wiki on Giantbomb.com