In this world of strife and chaos, where petty differences have locked mankind into an endless cycle of conflict, there is but one constant, one undeniable fact that transcends human ignorance and unites us all as one race. The fact that dinosaurs, are really, really, AWESOME. And hey, you know what else kicks ass? Crazy sci-fi guns. Also awesome? Jetpacks. So with that in mind, imagine my awe when I first laid eyes on ORION: Dino Beatdown; it’s dinosaurs, crazy sci-fi guns *and* jetpacks, together at last! The ultimate tag-team has arrived! Alone they are strong, but when this Holy Trinity of Rad™ is finally united under one banner, they become…… quite naff apparently.
Joking aside, I really can’t fault the concept of Dino Beatdown. 1-5 players, 3 huge maps, 3 ubiquitous classes (recon, assault, support), an HQ full of death-dealing amenities and, of course, wave after wave of angry dinosaurs hungry for some space marine flavoured chow. It doesn’t look half bad either! Lush environments, sharp textures, insane amounts of bloom lighting (I kid you not, the moon looks like a bloody supernova!); based on visuals alone, you’d be forgiven for thinking this game was something other than a miserable train wreck! I mean, just watch the trailer below, then try and tell me you aren’t at least a little bit pumped to go toe to toe with a T-Rex!
Sorry, but the fantasy ends here. Make no mistake; this game isn’t just bad, it’s AWFUL. Mind you, I think that trailer was subtly trying to warn you about that anyway. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my time as a gamer, it’s that when a trailer tries to tell you how ‘dynamic’ and/or ‘advanced’ the game’s A.I is going to be (this one does both!), then you can rest assured that, in reality, dem bots gonna be writ thick. Whether it’s T-Rexs lodging themselves into walls or raptors jumping to their deaths off the side of cliffs, this game leaves you with an alternative theory as to why the dinos went extinct: suicidal levels of stupidity.
So, not much of a challenge then, right? Ha! I wish! From the third wave onwards, the number of pea-brained dinos you’ll be expected to deal with skyrockets into absolutely absurd values. This unrelenting assault means your base’s energy generators will be destroyed mere moments into each wave, thus ensuring the upgrade/resupply stations they power will be functional for perhaps a second or so at a time. But even if you did manage to stock up on ordinance before they went down, those prehistoric critters can soak up an insane amount of bullets, laser beams, speeding jeeps or whatever else you throw at them in mad desperation. In fact, it’s pretty damn hard to tell if you’re doing any damage at all. They don’t so much as flinch, even after taking a rocket squarely to the face!
Players, on the other hand, aren’t quite as fortunate as their scaly opponents. For one thing, fate has somehow led them down a path that involved playing this god awful game, and secondly, they can expect to instantly die should an enemy combatant so much as casually glance in their general direction. Oh, and every time you respawn, you’ll lose any of the fairly useless guns you spent forever trying to afford, and instead revert back to an armoury of exceptionally useless guns, all of which might as well fire weaponized tickles for all the damage they do.
However, many of Dino Beatdown’s problems run a lot deeper than simple balance issues. And this isn’t just me being a nit-picky critic; some of the things in this game are just flat out WRONG. Take for instance, the simple process of buying a gun from one of the game’s shops. What sort of information would you expect the game to give you here? How much money you had available to spend perhaps? HAHA. No. For some reason that handy bit of data is absent from the shop screen.…
Hmmmm. What about a little description for each weapon then? You know, so you actually have some idea of what you’re buying? Pfffft, who needs that! A made-up military designation is more than enough info! Any “real” gamer would surely know that the C-43U THINGY is an assault rifle with a smaller clip size, but far superior recoil to the U5B WHATSIT! Hell, it’s just so damn obvious! Well, whatever. At least when you click the “buy” button, something happens, right? Noooope! You see, every button in Dino Beatdown is a total crapshoot, and the odds are most definitely not in your favour. Will it work? Will it crash the game? Will it do both? The possibilities are endless!
Seriously guys, if I had all the time in the world I’d give you a full list of all the glitches, oversights and other such unadulterated jank this game has to offer, but I suspect you get the idea already.
Normally this is the part of the review where I say something along the lines of “Well, this game mostly sucks, but at least I found [X] part of it to be pretty fun!” which is a sentiment that’s totally applicable here too! Indeed, me and my mates wrung many hours of entertainment out of Dino Beatdown, mostly by laughing our asses off every time we discovered a new and innovative way it managed to fail at just about everything.
“Disappointed” doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel right now. I mean, come on! Dinosaurs, jetpacks and frickin’ sci-fi guns! This thing should’ve been amazing! But hey, it’s not. It’s broken, it’s flawed, it’s laughable. I’m simply beyond astounded that anyone thought, for even a fraction of a second, that ORION: Dino Beatdown was ready to hit retail.
ORION: Dino Beatdown is currently available for the PC at the price of £6.99 via Steam, which is precisely £20 too much.
The graphics are alright
Numerous glitches and oversights
Lacks even basic functionality
Unbalanced as hell