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Primal Carnage is a multiplayer shooter that comes right out of Jurassic Park. You get to play as humans or dinosaurs and you must fight together to survive and kill the other team. You would think that most people would want to play as the dinosaurs over the humans, but that’s not the case. For the most part, the dinosaurs and the humans end up being balanced, and we’ll talk about how that works a bit later. There’s no real in-game story behind why the humans are fighting dinosaurs, but the story seems to be an experiment gone wrong with mercenaries sent in to take out the dinos. It’s a thin story at best and smacks of the Jurassic Park series but there’s really no need to try and explain a game where dinosaurs and humans can slaughter each other with abandon. The five human classes are scientist, commando, trapper, pathfinder, and a pyromaniac. All carry big guns, though some have strategic tools like flares that blind dinos or a net that can capture and keep dinos down for a while. The dinosaur classes are Pteranodon, Novaraptor, Dilophosaurus, Carnotaurus, and of course the T-Rex. Each class has a nemesis on the other side that can trump them, so you have to keep an eye out for them and have one of your teammates kill them for you.
The controls are the same for each of the five characters on either side, and they’re mostly easy to master and you can change the bindings of your controls to make your character’s chances of survival better. Humans focus on guns and ranged combat, because if the dinos get too close, they’re going to be chewing off your face! Dinosaurs use claws and teeth and also some special attacks like the poison of the dilophosaurus or the annoying tendency of pteradons to pick up their human opponents and drop them to their deaths. Some classes are more difficult to play than others. I found getting the pteradon to fly was not too easy to figure out, and even when I did, I’m still sure that it’s not working for me like the designers intended. I’m not saying there’s a bug, it’s just that the instructions included in the description of the pteradon don’t really help once you get it into the air. Primal Carnage is one of those games where you pick a favorite class on either side and then stick with it for most of your matches, because its attack style matches your playing preferences.
The humans play from a first person perspective. This is cool when you’re running through the jungle trying to watch out for the raptors and dilophosaurs, and then you hear the ground rumbling as a T-rex goes by, maybe not even noticing you. You definitely feel immersed in the experience of being a human in dino country. The dinos get third person perspective, because then you can watch them gruesomely chow down on their victims. If you switch teams the change from first to third perspective isn’t really a problem, though I would’ve loved to see them do first person from the dino’s view.
You’ll spend a lot of time dying in Primal Carnage, especially at first, when you’re not even sure where the enemy is until they’re on you and ripping you to pieces. This can be frustrating, but if you spend your time learning each class instead of hopping all over the place, then it should work out fine.
With only a few maps and really only one mode, there’s plenty of room for Primal Carnage to grow, even if all the developers do is add more dinos and human classes. But I would love to see different modes added as well as more playable characters. There’s a good base with what Primal Carnage brings to the table now, but I want to see more as well.