by Johnathan Irwin
reviewed on PC
A Crisis Of Quality
So... Dinosis Survival is not what I was hoping it would be when I read the description. It's not what I envisioned when I saw the screenshots. I expected a low budget but entertaining experience with the feedback I saw it was getting on Steam, and I was hoping to recapture just a little of that childhood magic I felt when I played Dino Crisis and Dino Crisis 2 before they disappeared into the void like so many other series of yesteryear. What I'm left with is not Dino Crisis, but rather a crisis of quality. I'm going to throw a few things out there, in defense of the title before I pick it apart like a hungry T-Rex.
Dinosis Survival is the work of a single person and despite the final outcome I can tell it was a labor of love. But it's a labor of rush that feels rushed out the door, half dressed and nowhere near ready for anything short of VERY early access. If you don't stray too far from the path, it looks decent. It doesn't look great, but I've definitely seen worse environmentally. I'll even give the game a single nod for the music used during the (laughably bad) opening sequence that set the tone for a plane trip gone sour. But that is where the few good things I can say about the game begin and end.
Crash And Burn
An upbeat song, a blank blue sky, a jet with no detail, and on board the most lifeless flyers I've yet to see in a videogame. No emotion in the faces, robotic movements, and all set to this rather cheery upbeat song. I had to take a moment of pause, and look into if Tommy Wiseau was anywhere near the development of this game (sadly enough, he was not) because it was the sort of hokey set up I thought only he was capable of. Outside the windows in the lifeless blue background, an explosion with a brief flash of flame, and the next thing I knew I was on the ground, in a jungle, with no sign of the wreckage anywhere nearby. So either I fell, and survived against the odds or someone/something dragged me here for no other reason than "this is where the player will start the game".
"Why, oh why, couldn't I have just died in that planecrash?" Is what came to mind after slogging through the first hour of the game. Why am I here, on this island, with no sign of a wreckage, and where assets of both present and past themed games seem to have been thrown together haphazardly and with little regard for rhyme or reason? I'm not looking at a man's hubris a la Jurassic Park, or the time warp scenario of Dino Crisis. I'm barely looking at more than some functioning controls in a setting meant for a tech demo.
Controls are a standard affair, and they're responsive, so I can say that much. WASD to move, num-row keys to switch weapons, E to interact, etc. The good news is, the controls work fine. Your character moves as slow as if his feet were tied to boulders, but the controls themselves work fine.
A Boring, Hot Mess
The combat, the thing that should take center stage, can be summarized simply as this; all the dinosaurs are sluggish bullet sponges, with some taking way more than others. Either you spam the crossbow, or you unload with a firearm. They're often slow enough you can just engage them from far off and keep slowly backing up, and for the ones that can actually catch up quick just kite them around the nearest rock or tree and as long as they don't hit you through the cover, you can pick them apart. It's not a thrilling hunt, it's not a harrowing survival, it's shoot, loot, eat, repeat. Ad infinitum.
As I said earlier, if you stay on the path the environment itself manages to look decent. A vibrantly colored jungle, the very-random seeming buildings littered among it are interesting variants in the scenery (except you can't go into most of them, so it's more frustrating than anything), abandoned cars and skeletal remains here and there. I see what the developer wanted to do, and if it wasn't rushed out the door and a few more years had been put behind it this could've easily become a $20 gem instead of the $4.99 random purchase throw-away the community has been presented with.
It could've had a substantial plot, it could've been more than just functional, it could've been a lovely outing trying to get things under control deep in dino territory. But as it is, it's a hot mess. Ending right after the plane crash, would've been a blessing. I hate to be so scathing, but I've lost my patience seeing good ideas take a backseat to rushing to release.
Controls function well, cheerful opening song, environments are okay if you stay on the main path
Nearly everything else