by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Welcome to the Jungle
I walked through the jungle. With every footstep, the ground shook. I was hungry and I could sense some prey nearby. The sound of bullets being fired alerted me to the direction. I increased my pace as I headed toward the small creatures with their largely ineffectual weapons. I saw one and chased it, luring it back against a mountain which it could not scale. The crunch as I bit down on it was satisfying. I let out an ear-splitting roar. I am T-Rex.
Primal Carnage: Extinction is a multiplayer shooter (well, on the human side anyway) that pits humans versus dinosaurs in a battle for survival. Dinosaurs. Dinosaurs that you get to play with. Primal Carnage: Extinction only has a couple of game modes at present (more arriving in the coming months), with the standard Team Deathmatch being the most popular. I found the balancing to be reasonably good, so that no matter which team you played on, there was always a weakness to exploit in the opposition. But having said that, certain classes seemed to be better suited to combating a particular enemy type. The other game mode at present is known as Get to the Chopper, which basically tasks the humans with getting to safety whilst requiring the dinosaurs to do everything in their power to stop them from doing so.
Being able to play as a dinosaur has left the developers with a minor issue - the fact that everyone would want to play as a dinosaur. Seriously, who wouldn't want to play as a T-Rex? In-game balancing solves this issue by switching gamers from the dinosaur team to the human team mid-game. This can be cause for some minor frustration if it happens multiple times during a match. But the fact that both teams are evenly matched (well, in numbers anyway) helps to maintain some sort of equilibrium.
It also takes a little longer to get used to the controls for the dinosaurs, as the human classes play similarly to any first-person or online shooter. Sure they each have their own weapons and functionality, but are similar to control. Dinosaurs, on the other hand, have some cool functions that require a little bit of time to get the hang of. But once you do, they are a ton of fun to play. Biting an attacker as a T-Rex or picking up an unsuspecting human as a Pteranodon and dropping them down from a great height can be hugely satisfying. Personally, I found some dinosaur classes to be more fun than others, though and no doubt there is a class on each team that would suit each gamer's playing style.
As with any team-based multiplayer shooter, it pays to work as a team, and having a range of classes amongst your team certainly helps, both when playing as a dinosaur or as a human. The five human classes and nine dinosaur classes each handle differently, and each have particular skills that often work better in conjunction with other classes. The T-Rex, for instance, is a lumbering beast, with a wide turning circle, whilst the Novaraptor moves quickly and can climb heights and then leap down onto enemies. Strangely, the human classes can't seem to climb all that well. But whilst the human classes are busy attacking the slow behemoths, the smaller classes can get in and perform their quick attacks.
Hear me roar
Audio is awesome. The background music is kinda cool, but the roar of the dinosaurs - the T-Rex in particular - gives the game an added boost. Other sound effects are reasonably good too, with the sound of the T-Rex footsteps increasing as one of them moves closer to your location. The same goes for weapon discharge. This enables gamers to know where their friends and enemies are.
Visually, Primal Carnage: Extinction does reasonably well. Although the maps all feature jungles and rocky outcrops, they vary quite substantially. And it appears plenty of effort has gone into designing both the dinosaur and human classes. Unfortunately, the graphics are somewhat let down by the constant clipping. The T-Rex would often be outside a building and unable to enter, but clipping issues meant that his head would often appear inside the building.
Overall, Primal Carnage: Extinction does many things right. Although there are currently only two game modes (there is a free roaming mode that I'm not including), the variation in maps keeps things somewhat fresh throughout. Playing as a human is fairly standard for online and first person shooters, but the ability to play as one of the nine dinosaur types is definitely a heap of fun, although, as mentioned earlier, some are more enjoyable than others. Audio is great - I can't stress enough how great the T-Rex roar is - and the visuals (apart from the clipping issues) are more than satisfactory. It does lack that little bit of polish that would make it a great game, but Primal Carnage: Extinction is still worth your time, especially if you love dinosaurs.
Visual clipping, lack of game modes