Game Review: Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter
Release: August 17, 2010
Genre: FPS / Hunting
Developer: Tatem Games / Beatshapers
Available Platforms: PS3 mini (Reviewed), PSP, iPhone
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter pits man versus beast in the ultimate trophy hunt, dinosaurs. Does this game live up to the dream or will it leave you waist deep in the tar pits? Read on to find out the verdict.
The idea of the game is simple. You get dropped off in different locations to hunt the dinosaur that you choose. You start off with a simple handgun, but as you rack up the kills, you get more points under your belt. These points in turn unlock better weapons to use and bigger and badder dinosaurs to hunt. There are five rather large locations that will also open up using the points from your kills.
The dinosaurs range from mild plant-eaters such as the Stegosaurus to ferocious meat-eaters like the coveted T-Rex. Each dinosaur can see, smell, and hear and each has it’s own strengths and weaknesses in these departments. This enables them to become alerted to your presence. Some will run away while others will turn into the hunter and chase you down. However, the game gives you bonuses that you can use to fight back against there keen senses. For example, you can equip camouflage to make yourself harder to see. These perks come with a price though. They toss in a small gimpage to the points you will earn from each kill.
The game gives you a compass and a map to help you navigate around the unique environments through out the game. You can activate a dinosaur radar (for a point penalty) that will pinpoint the location of the dinosaurs you are after. This is a very useful perk to use and well worth the loss in points. The problem is, I found it almost impossible to find any of the target dinosaurs without this radar. The draw distance is pretty limited and most dinosaurs will run away before you can see them. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only problem I encountered with Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter.
The first problem I had was I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Yeah, I’m hunting dinosaurs. You can gather that from the title. The game just doesn’t do a very good job giving you any kind of “help”. It doesn’t explain the details and there is no story to help guide you along the way. Because of this, the first hour or two was extremely frustrating and boring. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was playing it to review, I would have given up after 10 minutes or so. I had no idea that I was supposed to only hunt the dinosaur that I chose from the menu. There’s plenty of other “filler” dinosaurs running around, but they weren’t giving me any points. I guess they must just be there for looks?
The aiming sensitivity was another huge problem. It is very sluggish and there is no way to adjust this. The sluggishness is most apparent when you piss off a raptor and it comes after you. The aiming is so slow and they move so fast, I could never kill one once it started to chase me down. Another issue I had was I could not tell if I was even hitting the dinosaur when I would shoot at it. There was no blood flying, no indicator on my aiming reticule, no health bar, nothing. I had no way to tell if I had made contact or not, at least until it would finally drop. Sometimes I could take it down with 1 shot. Sometimes it would take 7 or more.
My final issue was concerning the ammo. You are only given a handful of rounds for your weapon. When I ran out of ammo the first time, I wandered around for ages looking for a refill. I finally came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to find anymore ammo. This goes back to the lack of information on how to play the game. I eventually figured out that I had to “escape” the area once I ran out of ammo. This would take me back to the menu where I could pick another location, weapon, perks, and a new dinosaur to hunt. Yippee.
Brian’s Final Say: I had high hopes for this game. I love to hunt in real life so the opportunity to hunt something like dinosaurs was cool. I was sorely disappointed. There’s nothing broken with the game, but it’s just in dire need of a major polish before I would classify it as a worthwhile purchase. For a PSP mini, it has a lot of features packed into it. It’s just a shame that with no guidance, poor controls, and a bunch of other problems, none of it matters. Dinosaurs are extinct for a reason and you will wish this game was too.
*Note: My review does not reflect the game for the iPhone as it may play differently. My review is based off of the Playstation 3 version.