What’s the first thing you think of when you hear a new co-op-centric title has guns, vehicles with guns attached, guns that heal, mechs with guns, jetpacks and cloaking devices? Well you’re wrong. The correct answer is to shoot many dinosaurs in the face. Unfortunately it’s not anywhere near as fun as it sounds. Read on to find out why.
Okay, first thing’s first. If you go into this thinking it will be Left4Dead with dinosaurs replacing the zombies, you will be sorely disappointed in the entire game. If you go in with an open mind, you’ll likely be sorely disappointed with the entire game. A great foundation it may be but this dino-shooter doesn’t live up to its Kickstarted potential, with glitches and bugs galore as well as general design faults seeping out from every dino-infested orifice.
The aim of the game is simple; there’s a power generator in each of the three maps, your goal is to activate this generator and then hold of the increasingly difficult hordes of scaly beasts as they try to destroy both it, and you. Along with four friends (or solo) this should be a blast, but if you haven’t got the hint yet, this isn’t exactly the case.
Beginning the game with a number of credits designated by the games host, you’ll get extra credits for killing dinosaurs and repairing the generator; these credits are used to purchase new weaponary, upgrades and vehicles. The problem is you either have underpowered guns that sound like peashooters, or you have overpowered guns that sound like peashooters. Not a single gun in the game sounds even remotely threatening, including the usually meaty sounding shotgun. Mechs and vehicle weapons are no different, with the machine guns sounding like a muted version of themselves and rockets not giving much either.
On the subject of sound, it seems developers Spiral Game Studios have decided that all dinosaurs had their vocal cords cut out before they were released on us. Raptors run silently at you and T-Rex’s charge at you with little-to-no sound whatsoever. This is coupled with there being absolutely no indication of player damage and you’re not on to what you would call a winner. Death can come from nowhere, literally, as raptors teleport through solid walls and boulders to silently nibble your insides, so don’t think about using cover, either, it’ll do you no good. In the end I found the way to survive longest was simply activate the generator, get in the gun section of a jeep and then never let go of the left mouse button. This got me through four rounds before a silent T-Rex hit my jeep with a boulder and killed me. Yes, this is a thing that happens.
I played the first few games solo, as online was a mess on release, with crashing happening on loading screens, after rounds and any other time the game felt like it, but playing solo is next to impossible thanks to the afore-mentioned teleportasaurus and his friends, meaning some solid backup would likely come in handy. I thus decided to wait until the game had been patched before giving it another go, this time being able to play with other people and hopefully get on a bit better.
When the time came, updates had been applied and I jumped on. I was pleasantly surprised at the fact I didn’t have a freeze on a loading screen, and I was actually put straight into an already populated server with three other players. Thinking my luck was about to change I jumped right on in as a medic prepared to heal as my brothers in arms took down the horde. Five minutes later I had to leave the game thanks to a few brand new glitches. My three new friends were each scattered around, one stuck in a running animation loop inside a wall, another sitting on a mounted machine gun shooting at the horde (who were running into a bunker wall not attacking a soul) and the third player who was merrily floating to the heavens. I tried shooting the dinosaurs but all I was greeted with was my ammo never depleting, not doing any damage and the dinosaurs acting like most women do and ignoring my very presence. I jumped on them, I sprinted at them and I threw grenades at them, no damage to them, no depleted resources on my end. Dejected, I left the game to search for another.
These are the problems I’ve faced during my time with Orion: Dino Beatdown, and to add insult to injury, the bland environments, large but relatively empty maps and the dinosaurs themselves are no lookers. This is coupled with terrible animation, or lack thereof, from the dinos who should be the star of the show. They simply have a single running animation with their tails stuck directly out, no movement, nothing. By no means will the game make your eyes bleed (although the lens flare might) but from a 2012 release more should be expected, especially for such a single-track title.
According to my stats, in-between horrific bugs, glitches and numerous deaths at the hands, or claws, of silent magical dinosaurs, I’ve killed 247 dinosaurs. Earlier on I had killed 300-some dinosaurs, and I have unlocked an achievement for running over 1000 dinosaurs. Make of that what you will, but unless this particular title gets a major overhaul I advise steering clear and if you want some horde-mode co-op, stick to Left4Dead and the other, more polished (see: working) titles.
- 5 Player co-op is a nice option to have
- Badly designed
- Horrific sounds and effects
- A mass of bugs and glitches
- The list of cons is too long to actually write