reviews\ Nov 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Review: Primal Carnage is a one trick pony, and that pony is a dinosaur


Are you looking for a first-person shooter where you only play team deathmatch, and the two teams are humans versus dinosaurs? If so, Primal Carnage is for you. Primal Carnage is a multiplayer-only team deathmatch game where one team chooses from human roles, and the other team chooses from different types of dinosaurs. I'm fine with the premise/gimmick of PVP humans vs. dinosaurs, but what I have a problem with is the execution.

Right off the bat I should warn you: there is no single player or tutorial. There's no story. There's not more than one type of mode. There's just good 'ol fashion team deathmatch. And for $14.99, I guess you can't complain too much, but still, there's free shooters out there that offer all of what I just mentioned and more. The game is said to be balanced between its classes, with each role have a clear advantage and disadvantage over a class of the opponent. The only balance I found was that I was equally annoyed while playing as both humans and dinosaurs. It's not that there's any one over-powered class; in fact, any class can dominate or be dominated. The problem here is that the game is team-based, but the only real tactics come down to all of the humans standing close together in a certain area while dinosaurs try to run up and kill them. Also, everyone dies really easily.

primal carnage

Each class, for both human and dinosaurs, has a specific way to kill and also a special ability. For the dinosaurs, we have the Tyrannosaurus, who is hulking and slow, but bites and tramples humans for easy kills and has a roar that gives his team an adrenaline boost; the Novaraptor is fast and tries to make stealth kills with his pounce ability, but he can also bit and slash, sacrificing his speed for all out attacking power; the Dilophosaurus has a ranged spit attack that temporarily blinds and can roar to increase the range; the Pteranodon flies around and grabs enemies to drop them to their death, while screeching to mark a human for all dinosaurs to see; and the Carnotaurus charges enemies and swings its head.

One of the problems with the dinosaurs is that they don't have the best handling. With an awkward third-person view, it's hard to get kills with the Raptor class, and even after you pounce, you're open to being shot and killed while you have to claw at the opponent's body. With all of the humans constantly being grouped, you die... a lot. The Dilophosaurus just feels like you run in there, spit and die. Playing against the dinosaurs can be frustrating, as well. The Pteranodon, as previously mentioned, can pick up humans. That's really all they do. Once they pick you up, there's nothing you can do except wait for them to drop you. If they don't want to drop you, they can fly around with you the entire match. I was carried around for a good thirty seconds before the dinosaur was shot, which dropped me to my death anyway.

primal carnage

The humans classes -- while stereotyped from the muscular black guy with do-rag and his shirt off to the pale ginger that likes fire --  are each unique, too. The Scientist is a female version of Muldoon from Jurassic Park, and uses a sniper rifle, dart gun that disorients a dinosaur, and a cattle prod to drain a dinosaur's stamina; the Commando offers brute force with an assault rifle and grenade launcher; the Pathfinder (because he's Native American) uses a shotgun and a flare that blinds; the Trapper uses a netgun to snare a dinosaur, then using a hunting knife to do a one-hit-kill slash or shoots the dinosaur with his dual pistols; and the Pyromaniac uses a flamethrower to set dinosaurs ablaze, with a chainsaw for close combat and a grenade.

Let me tell you how facing humans goes. They'll all stand together in the same area, and when they do travel, they travel in pairs with someone that's a trapper. Anyways, that group, they usually have a few Pathfinders. All they do is throw out all of their flares, which blinds you from their entire area, making your screen white whenever you look in their direction. Then you die. Fun, huh? The countering of classes really isn't countering, as you're always doing the same thing. With only a few maps and only team deathmatch, that's not a lot of variety. Keep in mind, there are more maps and classes on the way, but I can't see the "strategy" to the matches changing that much. These mechanics and abilities are a cheap way to promote team tactics. Obviously you're going to have to stay as a group when solo is guaranteed death.

primal carnage

Now I will say, there is some enjoyment to be had. The idea is fresh, as dinosaurs offer a nice change of pace to modern warfare shooters and zombies, but in the end, there's nothing to keep you playing. A few hours is the most fun that can be had, since there is no stat tracking or progression -- which is a feature that most multiplayer shooters have now. At the end of the match, you're given your stats, but after that, they're gone forever. I don't know how one would progress a dinosaur class in this type of game, but at least give us skins or something to unlock.

Primal Carnage just doesn't have enough meat on its bone. Outside of some nice visual effects, a catchy idea and few hours worth of enjoyment, there's nothing there to keep you coming back. For me, it's like an asteroid hit this game and wiped out most of its life. What's left is a gimmick that could've been more, but failed to evolve.

You can follow Movies and Culture Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ. He likes talking sports, video games, and the stupidity of celebrities. Email at


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Lance Liebl Ray. If someone asks if you are a god, you say, "yes!"
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