Ever fancied stomping on or maybe munching some gun-toting Call of Duty-esque humans as a prehistoric monster? How about hunting dinosaurs with a variety of weapons? Well, the good news is that Circle 5 has your back with Primal Carnage: Extinction, which has been ported from the PC to the PlayStation 4.
The bad news, however, is that this isn't a very good game: it's an online only shooter that pits men against beasts and you can choose which team you want to be on. There is a certain amount of wish fulfilment fun to be had the first few times that you play as a cold-blooded killer dinosaur, but that doesn't apply if you go the human dino-lunch route. It delivers what it promises but has a very "no thrills" feel, which is a shame as anything with dinosaurs in it should be more entertaining than this
The gameplay controls are fine: it adopts the standard shooter set-up which should allow you to jump straight in. The monsters control well in third-person, too, though they rely more on speed and melee attacks which will make you think about your play style more. The dinos get special powers in the form of "roars" which boost your team mates and have a cool-down timer attached, while the human team must rely on their heavy weapon ordinance. Both sides can find heal points on the map – either carcasses of fallen creatures for the dinos or medical supply drops for the humans. There are a few different game modes as well, such as classic Team Deathmatch and a fun "Get to the Chopper" scenario which is a kind of Capture the Flag and Escape variant.
Graphically, the game's showpieces are the dinos themselves, which look good and move well; variant skins can be unlocked to change the look of the beasties, too. Humans, however, are a basic bunch of weapon specialists who rock a more cartoony than necessary look. The arenas are generally okay but lack any real environmental pizazz. Ultimately, this isn't the type of game that you'll want to use to show off to non-PS4 owning pals.
But the real problem is that fighting to the death with a team of like-minded hunters or dinosaurs should in theory be one of the year's absolute online highlights, yet the gameplay is puddle deep. Games like Rocket League have shown that you can take a very basic concept and make it addictive as crack even if you're doing the same thing every five minutes, but Primal Carnage: Extinction in its current guise just doesn't have that special something to get you hooked. Bugs (and not of the Jurassic kind) abound while unbalanced gameplay kills the vibe.
It's a bit of a damning indictment that once we found the secondary co-op mode where you and online buddies take on waves of dinos in a Call of Duty: Zombies kind of way that we never went back to the main game modes. Tackling computer controlled creatures is just more fun, but even this gets all too familiar and a bit boring after a couple of hours.
Primal Carnage: Extinction feels like a great concept which has just not had enough "shine" put into the end product. Basic menus and average production values could be forgiven if the gameplay was killer, but dinosaurs deserve to be more badass and exciting than this. So while there is some dino fun to be had here, this is a game that will likely be left on the virtual shelf and left to turn extinct.