Review: Primal Carnage: Extinction (PS4)

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Title: Primal Carnage: Extinction
Format: PlayStation Network Download (6.7 GB)
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Publisher: Panic Button LLC, Circle 5 Publishing
Developer: Panic Button LLC, Circle 5 Games
Original MSRP: $19.99 (US), €19.99 (EU), £15.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI:
Primal Carnage: Extinction is also available on PC.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Primal Carnage: Extinction is an updated port of a 2012 PC game which I liked the look of but as I very rarely play games on the personal computer nowadays, I let it pass me by. Now they’ve made a PS4 version and so I get to review it.

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Gameplay:
Man versus prehistoric beast on an abandoned island, sounds familiar doesn’t it. Well there aren’t any palaeontologists or annoying mathematicians running round, but it looks like things have gone wrong and the dinosaurs are roaming freely. Instead of sending in helicopters, tanks, and frickin’ drones they have a small group of ill-equipped mercenaries to clean things up, or something like that.

I would start off by describing the story and single player campaign, or at the very least, the competence of the tutorial in this section. Sadly, this game features none of that. Not even a whiff of an explanation or single player experience to be found, trust me, I looked.

You can pick either human or dinosaur and controls for both are simple and easy to figure out. Each person or beast has an alternate weapon or attack that varies in effectiveness against different enemies. Learning what works best will help but so does working as a team. Unfortunately that rarely goes to plan.

… it can be very enjoyable stomping or flying around as a dinosaur …
I found the initial games very annoying and barely managed to get a kill. It wasn’t until I took control of a T-Rex and learnt the timing of its slow but immensely powerful bite that I started to have some fun. I managed to chop down on six people before being taken down by a load of tranquiliser darts and some high calibre weapons.

I even found out you can get the massive beast to let out a very satisfying roar, just like in a popular Spielberg film. In fact, so much of this game reminds me of those films and it can be very enjoyable stomping or flying around as a dinosaur.

Okay, so on the rag-tag human team we have an Indian Pathfinder with a shotgun, a Scientist with a sniper rifle, a Commando with an assault rifle, a Trapper with a net-gun, and the aptly-named Pyro guy with the flamethrower I mentioned earlier.

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Up against the humans we have a few different types of dinosaur which include three large Tyrants, two Predators, two Flyers, a couple of sneaky Spitters, and a charging Bruiser. You unlock plenty of customization options as you play and can change the cosmetic looks and loadout of your favorite things.

It’s a shame there isn’t a story mode or any other distractions from the multiplayer as I would have really enjoyed a slower paced experience and a way to get to know the strange group of humans.

… getting snagged on the scenery so often can be wearisome …
Visuals:
In many respects the graphics look very dated and in some ways, even older than the 2012 PC original this game was based on. Sounds crazy I know, but it looks really old. There is a large selection of vegetation to hide in but can also telegraph your location when it sways and rustles as you go by.

Water looks quite good but doesn’t restrict your movement. However, getting snagged on the scenery so often can be wearisome, especially when you’re being shot at or attacked. The levels are quite large but you’ll soon learn where most people and animals usually congregate.

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Audio:
The screams of a person being eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex can be terrifyingly good, as is the blood curdling roar that echoes through the map. Screen shaking thuds as the lumbering beasts move around can almost mask the sounds of unseen crickets and birds.

The guns sound a bit too weak for my liking and don’t seem to pack enough punch. The music is quite good and fits well with the action but does get repetitive after a time.

… a unique experience that I sometimes struggled with …
Online/Multiplayer:
The multiplayer includes sixteen players online or with LAN support, yes that’s still a thing. I didn’t bother trying to organize a LAN party so cannot talk about how well that works. When playing online I did encounter a couple disconnection issues and two instances of very bad lag, but overall didn’t have any major problems and found most games played very well.

In a few games the balance of each team feels just right but more often than not I get killed way too easily no matter what side I happened to be on. Not sure if it was down to a poor matchmaking algorithm or just simple bad luck.

You can host a game by setting up a server, search for other servers, or just find a particular game based on type. There is the popular Team Deathmatch, Survival, Free Roam, and Get To The Chopper, all of which are pretty self explanatory. Free Roam is an excellent way to get to grips with the different weapons and animals.

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Conclusion:
Primal Carnage: Extinction is a unique experience that I sometimes struggled with. The online connectivity was good but my kill-to-death ratio was not. It feels and plays like an old PC game and in many ways should have probably remained that way. However there is something special about stomping around as a huge dinosaur devouring other players in a few gruesome bites or swooping in and carrying off a hapless enemy into the sky.

If you don’t mind that Primal Carnage: Extinction is multiplayer only and that the graphics aren’t anything to impress then you’ll find some fun with it, especially if you get to be a T-Rex.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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