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Badnik Mechanic

Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter HD (PS3)

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Wow: first Flashback, then Shadow of the Beast, now this. Apparently, resurrecting old PC/Commodore franchises is becoming a thing.

I can't wait to see the next King's Quest/Space Quest then XD

Edited by Teoskaven

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Hey cool.

A game where you hunt dinosaurs! And it looks neat!

I'm not gonna bring up Turok at all since that would make me into a killjoy. But I do feel like dinosaurs are underused in video games. I mean sure there's a handful of em but they're not as featured as they used to be. But I think I'm rambling on now.

I think I will be getting this if it isn't too pricy. *goes to check*

Edited by Joseph Joestar

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So it took us till 2013 to properly grasp the concept that killing dinosaurs is badical?

 

Well... we... there was.... this in 2010.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG2wDli02ys

 

It's not very good though, it's actually quite terrible. It's literally call of duty only they replaced the soldiers with dinosaurs, no I'm not joking, everything is taken from COD, the text font, the menu designs, the UI, the control schemes.

 

Though they also did that to Singularity too, but, yeah they made a Dinosaur game did Activison.

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Hey cool.

A game where you hunt dinosaurs! And it looks neat!

I'm not gonna bring up Turok at all since that would make me into a killjoy. But I do feel like dinosaurs are underused in video games. I mean sure there's a handful of em but they're not as featured as they used to be. But I think I'm rambling on now.

I think I will be getting this if it isn't too pricy. *goes to check*

 

zombies and modern military shootbangs are all the rage now, despite how boring of a concept it might be (esp. compared to giant lizards)

 

maybe someday someone will realize that, yes, you can give dinosaurs guns too

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So this is hasn't ever happened to me before.

 

The developers contacted me for making this topic and send me a copy of the game to review. Which I will do (in this topic not on TSS).

 

The first 5 min are... not that great, the impressions are not that good, the menus lack any life to them, theres barely any options in the options menu, the controls are kinda all over the place and theres stuff which I can't tell has been done deliberately or over a lack of thought.

 

But... and I think this is going to be the key thing that makes me love this game...

 

I shot a great big dinosaur which ran off into the jungle... I couldn't see where it was, and then... I found it's tracks, and a blood trail... so I was now tracking a giant dinosaur using the environment and listening for it's roars and getting clues as to where it was by how smaller dinosaurs were running out of cover to avoid it stepping on them.

 

Environments are gorgeous, but there are a number of noticable problems with textures loading I'm quite sure one or two trees/plants just randomly decide to load into the game.

 

But right now it's definately a thumbs up, though this is a hunting/tracking game, not an action running arround shooting dinosaurs game.

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Following foot and blood trails? I don't remember that feature in the old one ohmy.png

 

Thats not the only thing this one has.

 

If you have surround sound or some decent headphones, you can use the roars of the dinosaurs to locate them on the map! It's hard to find dinosaurs in this game, the maps are huge and if the dinosaurs smell or hear you, they'll run off into the jungles for cover.

 

 

Well that sucks mellow.png Have they given a reason for the delay? I mean I'd buy it.

 

Be thankful, theres going to be a patch which is going to add some features, such as inverted Y axis support.

 

Just stopped playing it for the night, it's a great game, but it feels like it's missing a lot of features and theres a few oversights which in some cases the ingame hints are wrong. e.g. it says 'kill a dinosaur to add it to your trophy room' Erm... no... thats not what you have to do... first you have to buy a license for that dinosaur and then kill it and then go over to the dinosaur and press square to add it to your trophy room. Only the game doesn't make it obvious how you buy a license, you have to select a secret menu in order to do it, yet it's a core feature of the game so why hide the menu?

 

Also, it's crying out for co-op support. the maps are so huge that you can easilly have 2 people in the same area and they won't break the game, in fact it would add so much if two people could plan an attack on the dinosaurs.

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Yup they really did send me a review copy.

 

lol well, what I think is going on is similar to what happened with the Vita game Velocity Ultra HD. This game go announced and released on the same day, it's had no hype and no promotion other than the announcement on the PS blog, it's basically been 'this game is out, pass it on.'

 

So what I think they've done is literally googled the games name, found forums that are talking about it and promoting the game that way. I've also noticed devs registering and posting on the games forum over at ps3trophies.org and the facebook page for the game is also getting replies from various devs too.

 

I've been playing it a little bit more, I'm enjoying it, but only because I've finally unlocked some upgrades which are cutting down a lot of time wasting.

 

When you start this game you have to literally look for dinosaurs, you're walking around almost mindlessly trying to find them, more than often, you find them by accident, and this can take a lot of time. Then I bought an upgrade called 'decoy' which basically generates a dinosaur roar, when you use this, any dinosaurs nearby will respond and appear briefly on your map, so you have basically a waypoint to go to, it cuts down the time you spend mindlessly walking by a long way.

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Alright then, review time.... also wall of text incoming.

Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter HD Review:

 

I've already gone into what this game is about in the OP, so lets just get down to the big question.

 

Is this game good? Answer... Yes... But...

Starting off in CDH, it's a game that can quickly overwhelm you, you start off in a random Jurassic landscape and your job is to go hunt dinosaurs. Now you can be overwhelmed with the game quite quickly, the maps are huge, no really, they're enormous... sorta... The maps are quite small compared to maps from other games, if you compare it to the wasteland in either of the Fallout games, or your basic sandbox game, they're small. However, your character moves really slowly, even when running (which can only be done for short bursts), you don't cover much ground.

Now you might be thinking, well dinosaurs are huge beasts, won’t take you that long to find right? Oh my... how wrong you are. Dinosaurs in this game behave similar to stealth bombers, you could be mindlessly roaming the map for a good 20 min before you accidentally find one. The dinosaurs give very little clues as to their location which almost forces you to buy upgrades (we’ll come back to this later). Now say you come into roaring distance of a dinosaur, you can track it by the sound it makes, or... if you are following it, you can track it by its footsteps. Now the first few times you do this, it’s great! You feel like you’re hunting down your prey, and the reward for spending half an hour tracking and killing your first dinosaur is.... beyond pathetic.

You know how I said ‘Yes... but...’ well, here is one of those problems that the game has.

Imagine this, you spend 20 min randomly walking around, looking for a dinosaur, you find it’s tracks, you spend another 10 min closing in on it, and you take it out with one shot without it ever detecting you. You march upto it to claim your prize and you are rewarded with... $6.

... What... Half an hours work for $6 in cash? Are you kidding me!?

With no upgrades, you can spend around half an hour just mindless looking for dinosaurs, only to be rewarded with $6. Does this sound rewarding to you?

Here we get the first major problem I have with the game, the hunting dinosaurs is fun, it’s great, I loved doing it the first few times, only by the third time I quickly realised that I wasn’t going to get any reward higher than $10, I started to question ‘why am I doing this?’

So is the game/reward system balanced? Yes, but... theres that phrase again. If they gave you $100 for a kill, you would unlock everything in the space of an hour. But saying that, what sounds more rewarding to you?
 

  •  I spent an hour hunting 2 dinosaurs, I got paid $16.
  •  I spent an hour hunting 2 dinosaurs, I got paid $200.

Even if you upped the unlock requirements for weapons and items, you feel like your time isn’t wasted since the reward you get is high and it feels like you’re not wasting your time and you still maintain the balance in the game.

Now, there are upgrade unlocks and they drastically cut down the time it takes to hunt dinosaurs, only they come at a cost. You see the game has two reward systems, cash and trophies... or as it probably should be called ‘experience’ from now on I’m calling it experience or XP. Each dinosaur you hunt gives you experience, but each upgrade you get reduces the amount of XP gained, what does XP unlock? Different maps which have dinosaurs on which give better cash rewards.

It feels like cheap padding, it feels like instead of saying ‘hey our game might be short, but it’s enjoyable’ they’re deliberately looking to extend the life of the game by finding ways to make the player take more time to play through it.

So you end up being stuck for a long time playing low rewarding stages with the most basic of upgrades just so it cuts down the time to earn just $16.

Whilst you can avoid buying upgrades and you’re rewarded more XP for doing so, you’d better be prepared for spending a huge amount of time randomly wandering, and when you have carnivores on the stage... better be prepared to die a lot. You NEED upgrades, so you have to grind very early for just the most basic of upgrades.

Many players will simply give up; it’ll feel like too much of a chore than to spend so much time grinding.

Is it worth grinding for better upgrades and gear? Yes, but... Some upgrades, are completely worthless, no really, there’s no point to them at all. For instance, why have dinosaur footprints highlighted when you can buy a decoy roar which shows you the dinosaurs exact location? Or have the radar buzz when a dinosaur sees you when every single dinosaur instantly runs away the moment it sees you? It’s pointless.

Now that said, some are required, although some show that the game has another small problem... the Ai can get... very dodgy.

I’ve never played the original PC game, but, I can’t believe this is how it’s supposed to work. There’s an upgrade you can get called ‘decoy.’ This lets you pick a dinosaur and simulate it’s roar, the dinosaur is then supposed to reply giving you it’s location on the map.

Here’s the problem.

I do this with a herbivore, doesn’t matter which one... the dinosaur replies, and stays... exactly where it is. I do this with a carnivore, it instantly charges at my direction. Now whilst this is great for grinding cash, it really does remove all challenge from the game, because it illustrates another absolutely baffling problem with the Ai.

You know in the movie Jurassic Park. At the end when the Raptors are stalking them? How do they outsmart them? They hide, they make noise, they use their reflections to confuse them. How do you think you outsmart the carnivores in this game? Fire a fake gunshot? Use the decoy then move? Use the wind direction to put a fake smell?

No... the way you outsmart carnivores... including a T-rex... is by standing on a rock no taller than a chair...

I kid you not. If you stand on a rock, and it doesn’t have to be a very large rock, the carnivores will run right upto you, and then stop! I promise you I am not making this up! I have been surrounded by dinosaurs who will not attack me because I am stood on a rock no taller than a chair, yet the dinosaurs won’t attack, I can practically stroke them and they won’t attack me. Even the T-Rex doesn’t attack!

It completely removes the point of hunting and cash grinding, all you have to do is load a stage with carnivores in, stand on a rock, use the decoy then shoot them in the chest when they get close, you can make a huge sum of cash from only 2min worth of work.

And it’s not just the carnivores, the herbivores also have a small problem with their Ai. Some of the herbivores will run the moment they spot you, only they don’t seem to know where they’re running and will often run into a tree or a rock and continue to run against it, their path-finding is that bad they’ll sometimes run into a solid object and not try to get around it.
Now this doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does you can’t help but stand in awe at this giant lizard running into a wall, it’s comedy gold, both at the sight of it and from ‘how did they not notice this in testing?’

It doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens quite a lot for you to notice and think ‘is this game finished?’

The dinosaur variety also feels a bit misleading and a tad lacking, for a game called ‘Carnivores’ there are only 2 carnivores in the whole game, the rest are taken up by herbivores. There’s also a slight issue I have, on the title screen you see a still image of which shows brachiosaurus’ amongst other dinosaurs... yet no brachiosaurus’ are in the game. There are also smaller dinosaurs and pterodactyl’s flying in the sky which adds to the atmosphere, but if you take one down... there’s no reward. This seems a little wrong; give me something, at least for the pterodactyls.

There’s something about the game which makes it feel like its unfinished, or that it was supposed to be a much bigger project at some point. What do I mean? Well... here’s a few examples.

The maps are huge, but the dinosaurs are so well hidden and can camouflage that well that it can take a while to find them, and you can miss them when searching. If you don’t have upgrades that is. Yet... there’s no multiplayer. Now I don’t particularly like games which have multiplayer, but it feels like this game was made with it in mind. Two players could easily hunt together in this game without breaking the game (assuming they have no upgrades).

There’s also no music in the game, now, it’s obvious why, so you can ‘listen’ for the dinosaurs when roaming around, though, it can become a very lonely experience, you just want to be able to chat to somebody in the game, it would add so much if you could plan a hunt with another player. Although the game does support custom soundtracks, so for PS3 owners... that’s a huge bonus!

Some of the maps which have T-Rex’s have a problem, that being, there’s only 1 T-Rex. Whilst this helps simulate an accurate eco-system, it does become a little boring, especially when you hunt all the carnivores using the rock/decoy trick and then quickly realise ‘there’s no more T-Rex’s...’ the carnivores don’t seem to re-spawn either. This is good in that it stops a very good player from breaking the game, but it’s bad in that is slowly removes any sense of life or danger from the game. The game is called Carnivore’s after all.

Also the carnivores never attack the herbivores, even if you lure them right next to them, they just both look at one another.

The games options are... lacking, to say the least. There is no way to invert the aiming, which doesn’t bother me but other people may find it a problem. But with regards to other options, there’s nothing, we’re talking amazingly basic stuff here, SFX volume... that’s it. Oh well theres music volume... game doesn’t have any music... what?

And that’s it, you can turn off the hints and controller vibration, but that’s it, no controller mapping or alternative control schemes, which is going to put a lot of people off since shooting is tied to the R2 trigger as opposed to the R1 like almost every single other FPS game in existence.

The game also has an in game hint system, however some of these hints are wrong or lack information. For instance, one hint says you can add dinosaurs to your trophy room, just walk upto them and press square... this is completely wrong. You have to buy a dinosaur license to collect them. But this also has a problem. The licenses are ‘hidden’ in an area which doesn’t look like a selectable menu. Bad design here.

Speaking of hints... the Dinosaurs have ‘weak points’ armoured dinosaurs are weak on their belly’s and eyes... T-Rex’s are weak in the mouth, which I discovered when shooting one in the mouth as it roared, it went down instantly... then I discovered I could one shot them by shooting their mouth when it was closed... erm... right?

The licenses also illustrate another annoyance I have with the game. Each license costs a substantial amount of money. Yet having a license does nothing, except give you the ability to put dinosaurs in your trophy room. What does putting the dinosaurs in the trophy room do for the main game? Nothing, in fact the only reason to buy a license is for the PS3’s trophies that come with the game. Otherwise, it’s a pointless expense.

You kill any dinosaur, and don’t have the ‘license’ for that beast, what do you get? You get money and experience. If you have the license, you can collect the body to put in your trophy room, what does this give you? Nothing. Well, nothing except for trophies which are tied to the trophy room. But in terms of game content? Absolutely nothing, its padding, padding to make the game feel longer than it actually is. If you don’t care about 100% trophy completion, buying licenses is absolutely pointless.

You can’t invite people to your trophy room. You can’t show it off, so why even bother with licenses except for trophies? It just feels like this game was supposed to be much larger and ambitious, when suddenly the director said ‘No, we’re not doing that anymore.’ There’s hints all over the place that the game should be bigger than it is, be it lacking features that really should be there or having ideas which don’t seem fully realised or information which is wrong.

The thing with the licenses? You can tell this didn’t have much thought or that the developers realised there was a mistake since they uploaded a youtube video explaining how you get dinosaurs into the trophy room, as is the complete lack and false information provided by the game to the player.

Lets talk about the maps for a bit. The maps are gorgeous! No really, they look stunning, green! Blue! Colours! There’s some variety too, one is a forest floor, the other is a more open green area, and another is a rocky desert area. And my god, they’re lovely, they’re great to explore and the game even offers you a ‘observer mode’ which lets you just explore them without worrying about being killed.

Whoever designed these needs a lot of praise. And then we get back to the theme of this review.

Are the maps great? Yes... but...

There are only 3 maps, and there’s different ‘conditions’ which give you some variety, so daytime, dusk and mist. Oh god... the mist... This is god awful, it looks terrible. The mist stages cover the area in this white haze which zaps all the life from the map, reduces visibility to you (yet the dinosaurs are unaffected), mist maps are awful, they look utterly dreadful and feel like a cheap lazy project.

I get it, you’re trying to make a stage with reduced visibility, but why not have it set at night, why not give me a torch or a light that I use to see where I’m going? You could add so much with this but maintain the detail that went into the maps, even a night-time skyline/moon could be used. Not just this white cloud all over the screen, it’s terrible, vile, awful, lazy, take your pick, such a letdown and once you unlock sunny environments or dusk stages with decent hunts, you will NEVER go back to a mist stage, they’re not hard, they’re just terrible in terms of design and their appeal.

 

Oh yeah, another thing with them... This was such a let down, especially since the screenshots give this impression... the dinosaurs do not change their behaviour depending on the map conditions. Be it sunny, misty, or dusk, the dinosaurs will act in exactly the same way. Theres no variety here, it's such a shame, and, it just feels like this was part of a much bigger plan cut short.

Ok so I’ve gone on for a while now. I know this review may sound negative and you’re probably thinking ‘I’m avoiding that.’ I’m telling you, no, don’t... it’s worth a play if it goes on sale, it’s very competent in what it is, that being a budget hunting simulator which actually does offer you ways to hunt your prey. It’s a perfectly competent game. There are fare worse games out there and some which don’t look as good as this one does.

You shouldn’t avoid this.

However, for every single glowing bit of praise I can give it, there is something negative, or something that’s a letdown about it. The low rewards for taking down a dinosaur are so low you might struggle seeing any point in continuing, the controls are completely against the usual for a shooting game. Lack of options, mist maps are god awful, Ai is comically broken at times.... it’s all here in the review.

But saying that... for what it is, a Dinosaur Hunting Simulator... it’s... pretty damn good! No really it is, it’s a competent game, it knows what it ‘should do’ and it does it really well. Tracking dinosaurs is fun, looking for their blood trails if you hit one is also a sign of thought. Listening and if you have surround sound you can use that to help you hunt.

However, you can’t help but feel that it’s lacking features, no not DLC, features, control options, co-op, it’s crying out for online co-op, more dinosaur variety, interactions between dinosaurs. The little dinosaurs that run around the map, yes this provides atmosphere and a sense of life... but they don’t react to anything and the larger dinosaurs don’t hunt or react to them. It feels like the game was to be much bigger, then they stopped.... but what it does at it’s core. It does right.

It’s well worth a buy if they lower the price a little... but... it really is a budget title.


Should point out, it’s to be released in the EU later this year, developers have said they will patch in inverted controls.

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Sounds very interesting: i might check it out when it will be released here.

Question: how are the PS3 trophies for this game in terms of variety and difficulty? Also, tell me it doesn't fall in the category of "games too unknow/low budget to have a Platinum Trophy".

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No platinum trophy.

 

The trophies are easy. The only hard one I had was using the crossbow to take out a... .. ... oh... god whats it called... the big flying dinosaur.

 

It's time consuming, you'll spend more time just grinding to get the cash to buy the upgrades... though if you use the invincible rock trick, you'll speed through it in no time.

 

... .. ... Wait... actually thats something else I thought was odd which follows onto that notion that the game is missing features.

 

You can shoot and kill the flying dinosaurs and the smaller ones which run around the map... but for the smaller ones, they don't give you any money, but they are counted as kills and can earn you PS3 trophies. But they give you no ingame experience or cash.

 

Which suggests it's an oversight for the trophy unlocks....

 

However... one trophy is to specifically kill the flying dinosaurs... yet... in game, you get no reward for this, no cash, or experience, even the body vanishes before it hits the ground. Surely other than the trophy reward, killing one of these things should give you something ingame?

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That's unfortunate, but i've seen worse (Tekken Revolution). Hopefully the european version will have some improvements (other then the inverted controls) while the original will be patched.

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Hey Hogfather!

Thank you for such a thorough and detailed review of our game.

I agree on most of your points and I genuinely enjoyed reading the whole thing.

Just wanted to mention that we are aware of most of the issues raised. Some of that we might try to solve with the upcoming patch.

 

FYI: buying dino license not only lets you to collect your kill to the Trophy room, but it also allows you to use decoy and differ dinosaurs if using radar. Without license you cannot call dinosaurs, only can see their calls on the map.

 

We were actually trying to make game to play and feel as close to the original Carnivores (released on November 1998 for the PC) as possible, but with addition of some equipment designed to make life of not yet experienced hunters easier.

 

Anyway, your review was a great pleasure to read. Thanks!

Edited by Almakos

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Oh goodness, I don't think this has happened before, well except for All Stars Racing.

 

It wasn't a problem, I did enjoy the game but it was just a constant feel that it was missing things.

 

Oh yes I forgot about the licenses being used with the recoy, I have to admit, that sorta annoyed me a little, that you had to buy the license and the decoy in order to actually use it.

 

But I can see why, it's a balance thing, not a good idea to give people a T-Rex decoy instantly, though I wish it had more use other than 'radar' e.g. If I use a T-rex call near a steggosaurus, it might react in some way? be it panic or take an aggressive fighting stance?

 

Also this brings me onto another thing. There was 'observer mode,' What would be cool is if you bought the decoy and that gives observer mode a more interactive/game feel to it.

 

For instance, keep the licenses as an ability to 'unlock' the roars, but if you also go into observer mode with the decoy, say you got close to a dinosaur and stated out of sight for a while. Pull out gadget and you can record it's roar, giving you the ability to use it in the main game. Or if you don't want to do that, cough up the cash for the license and it unlocks that way. But that might just be me wishful thinking on possible features.

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