The lack of video games with Dinosaurs in it has been disturbing. That looks like it is about to change with the recent release of Primal Carnage: Extinction on the PS4. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Primal Carnage was a well received PC Multiplayer released back in 2012, Extinction served as it’s upgraded sequel that exited Steam’s Early Access program earlier this year and was brought to PS4 with the help of Circle 5 and Panic Button.
Primal Carnage: Extinction has a simple premise, Humans vs Dinosaurs in 8v8 matches to find out which is the better predator. Humans have 5 classes, the close ranged power house Pathfinder, the sniper Scientist, the well-rounded Commando, the attack disabling Trapper, and the Pyro who just burns everything on sight.
Meanwhile, the Dinosaurs have a similar system of 5 classes which features the massive ramming Carnotaurus, the acid-spitting Dilophosaurus, the high-flying Pteranodon, the quick Novaraptor, and of course, The Tyrannosaurus Rex. However, almost every type of Dino has another Species that you can choose from that has different stats but plays almost exactly the same.
While you would think the humans have a huge advantage, with plenty of guns on their side, the Dinosaurs have plenty of health and powerful techniques to tip the odds in their favour. For example, The Novaraptors have the ability to pounce on their target and viciously attack their target, humans are given the opportunity to shove them off, but from my play through there were very little times when that succeeded. Pteranodon’s are the hardest to control but are provided the unique ability of flight, which they use to pick up opponents and drop them from a lethal height (best worked on Pyros). While the T-Rex is a walking tank with the most health and the ability one-hit kill and regain health by eating the humans.
Things aren’t so bleak for the humans though, as each of the member of the human Mercenaries are designed with taking out specific beasts. The Scientist plays as a sniper equipped with a powerful Tranquilizer which can disorient the dinos and is great at picking off Pteranodon class. Meanwhile the Commando works crowd control with a heavy assault rifle with a grenade attachment and the Pathfinder can blind with flares while removing smaller dino with his shotgun.
The real interesting human classes end up being the Trapper and the Pyro. While the Trapper has possibly the weakest weapons in the game with a dual colts, it’s his net-gun which can mean a life or death situation when taking down a T-Rex, this is because on bigger dinos, the Trapper’s Net works as a mouth-guard, temporary preventing the T-Rex from attacking, meanwhile smaller dinos are stopped completely allowing him to perform a final takedown. The Pyro however, is extremely overpowered despite its close range, allowing them to do a lot of damage continuously as they torch all the dinos in the area.
Primal Carnage: Extinction comes with 4 different game modes. The traditional Team Deathmatch where one side plays human and the other as Dinos, “Get to the Chopper” an objective base mission mode that has players fighting for control over certain areas to unlock a helicopter to escape or the Tyrant Dinosaur to prevent it, then we have Survival Mode which feels similar to Call of Duty Zombies mode but with Dinosaurs, and finally Free Roam which feels like a tutorial on the multiple Dinosaur classes; allowing you to get a feel for each class.
Of these modes my personal favourite was the Survival Mode, meant to be played Co-op or single player, it pitted you against an increasingly difficult wave of Dinosaurs which racked up money after killing them; which is then used for upgrades, ammo, health and various defensive items.
The game’s maps seem to be heavily inspired by the Jurassic Park film series, with levels including various jungle layouts, pens and cages, and shipping yards. Each map is big enough to hold several massive dinos while giving smaller creatures and humans a chance to ambush.
While the Dinosaurs are definitely the highlight of the game in appearance, the rest of the game kind of falls short, with some of the human characters and weapons looking more like they came from the PS3 era. Foliage and Water however looks well done and definitely brings life to the maps.
The game also has some progression problems, as each character a group of unlockable skins, weapons and abilities, but the game doesn’t tell you how many there are for the specific classes or how to unlock them. While unlocking Trophies does unlock specific gear, the rest feels like a random unlock.
During our play through during the game’s launch, we did experience several game-breaking bugs which included a missing Dino in Survival mode, and Deathmatches suddenly ending with no winner or loser. However these appeared to have repaired itself after the servers received more active users.
Primal Carnage: Extinction has potential to be a great multiplayer game. It has a great concept and some good core mechanics, but the lack of noticeable progression and some balancing issues holds it back from leading the pack instead of just standing out. Still if you’re looking for a unique shooter to break from the gun-against-gun gameplay that’s over saturated the market, then Primal Carnage may be the game for you.