Welcome back. Today we’re covering a sequel/remake to the old Carnivores dinosaur hunting games of the Windows XP era. It is made by Digital Dreams Entertainment and Tatem Games and was released late May of 2015. Story is such: Company finds dinosaur planet. Company realizes people will pay to hunt dinosaurs. You are one of those people. Those crazy, crazy people.
Anyway, you start by hunting herbivores who would rather run away than confront you and work your way up, ultimately facing the T-Rex. As you score kills (or knock-outs, if you prefer being non-lethal), you get gems which can be spent on upgrades for yourself or your weapon, new equipment such as a back-up weapon, and licenses to hunt bigger, more dangerous prey. You also accumulate score, which is what lets you access the later maps with said more dangerous prey. That said, even if you don’t have a license to hunt a certain dinosaur, you can still get gems and score for it, it just can’t be placed in your trophy room. Additionally, you can get a higher score and gems payout for doing well during your hunt, taking down your target in a single shot from long range, for instance.
The game has a rough start. In the original games, you could could add a tracker function to your map, or make yourself harder to smell or see. You just forfeited a percentage of the points you could get during the hunt. The new game does this but also makes you pay to unlock such equipment in the first place, which can make your first couple hunts a little rough, as you stumble through the woods looking for your quarry and finding their weakpoints through trial and getting eaten. Also, you’re stuck with a bolt-action rifle with a 3 bullet magazine as your starting weapon. And the cheapest gun upgrade is 100 gems when all the starting dinosaurs are worth 5-12.
On the plus side, weapons, gear, upgrades, and licenses only count as “bought” if you’re equipping them for the current hunt. So if, for example, you decide you hate the X-Bow, you can easily switch back to the basic rifle and get your gems back (Note- The X-Bow is actually awesome and you should totally learn to use it). This encourages experimentation with the different weapons and upgrades, so you can get the most value for your money. It also allows you to tailor your load-out for whatever you’re hunting. For example, when dealing with the alert and agile Parasaurolophus, you might want to make yourself harder to detect to foil its improved senses, or upgrade your weapon’s maximum effective range so it never gets the chance to spot you. Meanwhile, for a carnivore, you’ll have no issues getting close, but you’ll want maximum power to take it down quickly and movement speed to desperately backpedal while your rifle chambers another round. Stuff like that.
There’s also “Mutated Dinosaurs,” which you will encounter on occasion. They sport a different appearance and are more aggressive, if the tool-tips are any indication.
There’s only 3 actual maps, but they also come in Dusk and Foggy variants, which complicates the hunt. Graphically speaking… this game looks pretty nice. The maps are big, sprawling, detailed environments that make hunting the dinosaurs much more interesting. The little hills and climbable rocky outcroppings are also handy for spotting your target before it spots you. The dinosaurs are well animated, up to having a wobbly walk when they’re close to passing out. They also seem more real than in earlier games, as herbivores will be drawn to water and the carnivores will kill and eat them, given the chance. Also, tranquilized dinosaurs are adorable. They just lie down like “Okay, you got me, I’m gonna take a nap now.”
On the negative side: The animals will get caught up the terrain sometimes (which is admittedly a boon when it’s a carnivore that wants to see how you taste). Brush doesn’t seem to do much to conceal your location, which is frustrating when you can just barely see a dinosaur through the grass you’re crouched behind, but apparently it can spot you just fine. Lastly, there’s not quite enough variety. There’s only 4 weapons, 3 of which are variations of “slow but hits like a runaway train.” And there’s only 6 dinosaurs you’re tasked to hunt, 4 of which are herbivores! Come on guys, it says “Carnivores” right in the title!
So… should you buy this game? That mainly depends on how much you like hunting and dinosaurs. I’m not a big fan of hunting games personally, but I can see the appeal after playing this. Sneaking up on a big animal before felling them in a single shot is incredibly satisfying. Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter Reborn can be found on Steam for $15.