Primal Carnage: Onslaught

Primal Carnage: Onslaught is a first-person shooter survival game for Vive and Rift where you use your powerful weapons to fight against prehistoric reptiles in very detailed settings, including high-tech cloning labs to beautiful lush jungles. Each dinosaur species poses a different risk and has its own set of moves. Try to survive as long as you can, and there is also an online global leaderboard for you to exhibit your great achievements in the battlefield.

Primal Carnage: Onslaught First Impressions

Primal Carnage: Onslaught game screenshot

Primal Carnage: Onslaught is a single-player stationary first-person shooter survival game for Vive and Rift and the second game in the Primal Carnage series coming after the non-VR and the very popular team-based online multiplayer shooter, Primal Carnage: Extinction. In Primal Carnage: Onslaught you fight against hordes of predatory reptiles, trying to push yourself up to the top of the food chain.

It seems that Ark Survival Evolved ignited the imagination of many developers to include Dinosaurs in their game, but Primal Carnage has its roots back then in 2012, so who knows, maybe the original title was the one that inspired others to make their own Dinosaurs-themed game. I have no doubt that Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park science fiction movie from 1993 was the one that ignited the love and interest in this prehistoric animals. Anyways, I love dinosaurs, whether in movies or games, so at least for me, Primal Carnage: Onslaught already received my initial enthusiasm when I first heard that there are going to be dinosaurs in this game.

So in Primal Carnage: Onslaught plays in the first-person perspective. You use melee and firearms, trying to survive while fighting hordes of dangerous prehistoric reptiles. Each dinosaur has its own unique behavior and poses a different threat. For example, some dinosaurs are big and very powerful, others might be very fast, less powerful, really annoying and harder to shoot at.

There are a wide variety of weapons in this game. You can equip a weapon in each hand, so you can have like two of the same weapons and shoot them at the same time. You obviously need a lot of firepower to deal with all of those nasty creatures, coming at you from all directions. Some of the weapons include assault rifles, pistols, machete, shotguns, SMGs, etc.

So when you start, only a few weapons will be available at your disposal and you need to fight and earn more money in order to buy the most powerful weapons in the game. You can buy those weapons for each hand through an overlayed store-like menu. In the gameplay video we see a player starting out with $1,000, and with firearms like the M16 ($3100), Assault Rifle ($2000), P90 ($1200), SPAS 12 ($3200), 1911 Pistol ($500), MP5 ($900)m Mac11 ($700), Grenade ($50) and M79 Grenade Launcher ($3750) appearing on the menu.

It's also so cool to have an option just to hold a shotgun in one hand and an M16 in the other hand and shoot the hell out of anything that comes close to you, it's like a bullet-hell coming into play and it's the perfect setup that will definitely please all the first-person shooter fans out there.

The game plays like a wave shooting gallery. You need to look around, spot the incoming reptiles and shoot them down as soon as possible before they attack you. The cool thing about using dinosaurs as the enemy in the game is that, for some of the dinosaurs, their movement is more erratic, harder to predict and therefore much harder to aim at, especially when the target moves really fast in front you. In many shooters, we are used to shooting at relatively slow moving targets or at targets where their pathing movement is more predictable to us, so Primal Carnage Onslaught brings a different type of shooting challenge in that sense.

Like in a well-designed realistic shooting mechanics, you still need to load in the magazine and reload your weapon. This makes the whole shooting experience more intense because of this micromanagement stuff that you need to pay attention to while in the middle of an ongoing battle against fearless enemies. This is why Primal Carnage Onslaught feels really intense results in a very satisfying shooting experience.

I also really liked the realistic weapon sound effects that really makes you feel like you are shooting the real weapon itself. I also really liked how the peaceful ambient sounds contrasts the actually intense gameplay when the action start, like in the forest level, where you can hear the birds tweeting in the background when it's quiet, but you know that in just a few moments all of this peaceful environment is going to change into an onslaught bloody battlefield. I remember the same feeling in one of the maps in Battlefield 1, it's those little moments that makes you really appreciate the excellent level design and sound work.

Although I am a big fan of shooters that take place in a lush environment, I also really liked the other levels, including the high-tech cloning lab which is a more high-techy indoor environment, but the level still has places and items for the dinosaurs to hide and attack you from unexpected angles. You can change the level through the 'Change Level' option in the menu.

The level design was also made to make it harder for you to locate the enemy, especially in the Forest map, where there are a lot of trees and the dinosaurs use this to their advantage to both evade your shots and plans their attack from different angles. It's so amazing to see three little fast-moving bipedal Compsognathus moving fast between the trees and strategically coordinating their moves to attack you from various directions. Each dinosaur in this game has its own set of moves and as you play you'll get to learn and predict their movement and adapt your gameplay in advance. At the end of the round, you get a score. You can enter your name and you'll appear in the global leaderboard.

Primal Carnage Onslaught was developed using Unreal Engine 4 graphics engine and indeed the game really looks great. There is a lot of details, especially at the forest level and the lighting effects really add to the overall atmospheric feeling. The weapons design is very detailed and looks very realistic, which is obviously great for a game that borrows weapons from the real world and wants to make the shooting experience as realistic and convincing as possible. I've also read on Pub Games' Twitter page about some possibly upcoming features like scaling impact effects and bullet impact particle effects, that just shown me how much attention the developer gives to those fine detailes just to make PC:O more immersive, intuitive and most of all, fun to play. 

As of the time pf writing, Primal Carnage: Onslaught (PC:O for short) is available Early Access on Steam starting December 30, 2016, for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headsets. Keep in mind that the game requires a VR headset to play.

I am really excited about this game, although a stationary arcade shooting gallery type of game might not be everyone's cup of tea if you are into these type of shooter, I'm sure you are going to love this game. A really well made room-scale VR shooting game that covers many of the aspects that make a shooter great, including a smart and diverse AI enemies, a wide variety of weapons, superb sound effects and ambient background sounds, intuitive gameplay mechanics using touch motion controllers , Steam leaderboard and on top of all that, the Dinosaurs theme which I am a big fan of—Highly recommended!

Image credit: Pub Games

Awarded for an Impressive VR Game

Primal Carnage: Onslaught Videos