ORION: Dino Beatdown Review
Dinosaurs, jet-packs, vehicles and guns are the stuff of dreams, and they all feature in ORION: Dino Beatdown.
Developer Spiral Game Studios funded this game using Kickstarter, the funky new way to have customers pay for a product before it’s even created. Well, to be precise, the Kickstarter money is for ORION: Prelude, but that game doesn’t exist yet, so this will have to do.
Released on Steam this month, ORION: Dino Beatdown is a class-based, online multiplayer FPS / TPS survival game. It has five players teaming up as humans to fight off waves of incoming ferocious dinosaurs whose job is to destroy essential power-stations. Killing the dinos earns credits that can then be spent on new weapons, items and vehicles. There are three large maps to play and 58 Steam achievements to earn.
Now for the bad news.
O:DB was released on Steam a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t play it at the time because it kept crashing. A few patches later (this is version 1.1b) and it crashes less, but it still does. Even if it didn’t crash, what I’ve managed to play of it is depressingly disappointing. The graphics look to me like a five year old Half Life 2 mod, the sound design is dull and lifeless and there is no story or immersion to speak of. Actually, the sound design is pathetic. I’ve never heard the famous Unreal Tournament announcer voice sound so weak and devoid of charisma. The weapon sounds are a slap in the face for gunpowder too. Did I mention the dinosaurs make NO SOUND AT ALL, no-clip through buildings and often float around without their legs moving?
I managed to play for five hours in-between crashing and re-starting. I upgraded my weapon and flew around using a jet-pack. I shot a few badly rendered dinosaurs and drove a badly rendered vehicle that had terrible handling. I didn’t enjoy any of it. Even the online multiplayer aspect instills no joy. The maps are huge and finding your fellow players is more down to luck than a useful HUD system. Somehow this game has managed to take what should be exciting, fun concepts and completely suck the entertainment from of them.
ORION: Dino Beatdown is charmless experience. Why anyone would want to play this when there are Killing Floor, Borderlands, Left 4 Dead/L4D2, Mass Effect 3 and various other decent survival games around is a mystery to me. I’m hoping that this is not indicative of what’s to come in ORION: Prelude.
Thankfully, it’s a low-cost title, so if you feel like gambling on it improving, there’s not much at risk.
AMD 4200+ X2 2233 MHz CPU
ATI HD4670 512mb GPU
Windows XP SP3