Wasn't Jurassic Park good? It had that bit with the T-Rex and the lawyer that died whilst pinching off a terrified twosie. But what about the raptors? They were good too in their own clicky, eaty way. And Jeff Goldbum? Need we say more with his, wierd, crazy, and sometimes - off-putting - speech pattern that always, seems to, be, amusing.
I imagine this was something like the conversation Lukewarm Media had prior to putting together the pieces of online FPS, Primal Carnage. This game feels less like a wholesome gaming experience, and more like a Half-Life mod that has managed to escape its enclosure, and is now somewhere in the downtown area chewing up telephone wires and eating wisecracking extras.
"I'm a dinosaur, rawr, rawr, rawr!"
Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. In a world dominated by ubiquitous Calls to the Battlefield, it's always refreshing to see a distinctive take on, what has increasingly become, a sterile multiplayer genre.
Because ultimately, Primal Carnage is intrinsically one thing: different. Whether you're nibbling at limbs, or doing a Billy from Predator with a knife; PC is at its core uniquely, and insanely, entertaining.
So in the time honoured tradition of One Million Years BC, its humans vs dinosaurs in this online shooter - minus the furry pants. Choosing one of 5 classes for each team, you hunt, stalk, and track throughout different maps trying to scrum down on fleshy body parts - or instead keep them all in the right places.
Each individual character has their own unique spin pertaining to their title, for instance: the pathfinder comes equipped with a flare, which used in the right situations will blind prehistoric foes and help you engage them with a shotgun shell to the head.
For the most part, humanity is a fairly recognisable force. While the pyro adds an element of much needed chaos with his flamethrower, this element will have you harking back to the skirmish modes of Alien vs. Predator. To be victorious, the team must come together, protect one another from the superior enemy, and keep an eye out for an errant T-Rex or two.
We're going to need a bigger gun.
Things get more interesting, and devilishly addictive, however, when rolling with the dinosaurs. From the flying pteranodon to the spitting dilophsaurus, each reptilian creature has their own strengths and weaknesses. Tailoring to your play style, you can either rush in and pick off stragglers with the novaraptor, or instead stomp into the thick of battle with the king of dinosaurs.
It's that much needed element of anarchy that really makes PC worthwhile. The idea of balance and refinement - it's all thrown out of the window in the name of kicks and giggles. Put simply, this is the game you will tell your friends about through fits of laughter and amazement.
But that doesn't mean that Lukewarm's game is without fault, and for the most part you will be side-stepping some particularly glaring errors to get to the enjoyment. There's an array of bugs, glitches, and issues here that need to be resolved with patches.
From anti-aliasing forcing the game to none-start, to texture pop-in, and environments failing to load - it's all here in gory technical form. The most scary and tense moments of this game don't come from the cat and mouse chase of battle, but instead guessing which parts of the map you might fall through: Novaraptors? Nothing compared to memory dumping.
John Williams, if you please.
And even with all of these problems put aside and relegated to the "it'll be updated" category, PC remains an utterly shallow game. There is no single-player, only a handful of maps, and a relentless focus on deathmatch. There are no modern bells and whistles, no character customization, and no real thought past the concept of dinosaurs vs humans.
PRIMAL CARNAGE VERDICT
So with the above in mind, Primal Carnage is a hard sell at this point. $15 isn’t going to break the bank, but with the Steam Forums, at the time of writing, awash with threads titled “Money down the drain” it’s hard to recommend this one even with its madcap take on the online genre. A few more updates are definitely needed, and a spoon full of free DLC will make this one go from surprising but flawed oddity, to a solid, worthwhile experience. My advice? put it on the “wait and see” list.