Orion: Dino Beatdown Review
Close, but no cigar.
Dinosaurs, Jetpacks, and online co-op. Regardless of anything else, that was enough to lure me in to playing Spiral Game Studios recently released First-Person Shooter, Orion: Dino Beatdown. What I soon found out was that even though the game was on the brink of greatness in many ways, it was far from it as a whole.
Dino Beatdown is a simple game of survival, where you play as an armored soldier in a land of Dinosaurs. There’s no story to follow and no missions to complete, only the goal to survive as long as you can. Currently there is only one mode to play and only three Dinosaurs types to kill; the Rham, the Raptor and the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Each wave you that play through will include a mix of Dinosaur’s that increase in numbers with each one. To help you survive, you’ll have access to plenty of weapons, grenades, some abilities and a garage full of vehicles.
You have three character classes to pick from; Assault, Support and Recon. The Assault class starts off with a Pistol, some grenades and a Jetpack. The Support class starts off with a Magnum and Shotgun and the ability to heal, and the Recon class starts off with a Silenced Pistol and the ability of cloaking. They all have their own starting items, but after that you are only limited with the ability upgrades when it comes to purchasing to new items. You need Credits to purchase new items which you earn for getting kills, assists, surviving waves and other means. It takes a while to earn enough credits to get the really good items, so you’ll want to jack the starting credits when you create a game.
There are also only three maps included in the game, even though they are probably the biggest maps you will ever play on. Each map includes four bases that you can secure by starting its generator and protecting it from 5 waves of Dinosaurs. This seems like an objective to complete at first, but really it doesn’t matter as even if you lose the generator, the game keeps going, you just can’t access the buildings at that base until you repair the generator. It’s a meaningless goal and doesn’t matter in the end.
Much like the rest of the game, the graphics are very dated. The backdrops and Dinosaurs are nice looking, but the character models, vehicles, bases and weapons don’t look like they are part of a game that was released in 2012. It’s not just the graphics though, almost everything in the game either feels old, or unfinished and it’s partly by design. Spiral Games have said that they are planning to update the game many times over to add new Dinosaurs, weapons, vehicles and even new game modes, although no additional details have been provided as to what exactly this new content would be. They’ve also taken a hard stance on paid DLC and claim that these updates will be free, which is awesome, but it would have been nice to see more of this content at launch. As it is, the game is rather small and having only one game mode that has been in so many other games as the only mode in the game isn’t the greatest selling point either. Imagine if Call of Duty only shipped with Nazi Zombies, or Halo 3: ODST had only shipped with Firefight. That’s basically the same idea with Orion Dino Beatdown.
Another weak point in the game, and to me one of the most disappointing, is the vehicles. There are some really cool vehicles in the game, but they don’t control very well at all. Dino Beatdown features hover bikes, mechs, a VTOL, and a Warthog like buggy, but none of them are really that fun to use, because they are so bad to control. They are stiff and clunky to turn and make it super awkward to turn around if you get stuck or off track. When I first saw the Hover Bike, my eyes nearly popped out of my head, but once I got on it for a few minutes I quickly jumped off and went back to walking.
Orion: Dino Beatdown is a game full of potential, but any game that’s worth playing has to have more than just potential. With some great ideas, but flawed execution, Spiral Games need to act quicker on getting the planned updates into the game. As it is now, even though it is only $10, there isn’t much game to play.
You can play solo, or with up to 4 other players cooperatively in Orion: Dino Beatdown, and it is definitely easier and much more fun than playing alone. Having some back up makes securing the generators easier, surviving each wave easier and overall I would recommend that you have some friends lined up that are going to buy this one before you buy it. Dino Beatdown was made to be played with others, and to be honest I found it kind of boring when playing alone.
Everything about Orion: Dino Beatdown sounds great on paper and has the potential to be really cool, but sadly not much of it actually meets that goal. With what seems like an unfinished product, dated graphics and very limited content, even at $10 you may want to wait before buying this one. Spiral Games claim to be adding more content to the game for free, which is awesome and I commend them for their stance on DLC, but I really wish that they had added more to the game at the start, instead of releasing half of the game now and then giving us the rest later. Dino Beatdown is definitely a game worth checking out, it’s just a question of when. Now? Or when the full game has been released?