Is it a rerelease? A sequel? A patch? Players of the
original Dino Beatdown seem to be feuding endlessly about what to call
Orion: Dino Horde. According to developer Spiral Game Studios, Dino
Horde is what they always intended Dino Beatdown to be - they're ready
to accept the disappointing reputation of the original incarnation, and
in a gesture of good will, Dino Horde is offered free as an upgrade to
customers who purchased Beatdown. For those who haven't, the price is
still reasonable... but gamers can't survive on savings alone, so it's
time to subject Orion: Dino Horde to the full inspection.
The main idea of this game is the ability to play as
either dinosaurs or humans in an island atmosphere, just like your
favorite 90's movie that has never had a worthwhile officially licensed
game. Unfortunately, that curse may extend even to this game. Dino
Horde's look is moving in the right direction, but it never feels like a
finished product. This goes deeper than just a lack of polish, and DH
ends up feeling, well... rudderless.
A number of game modes are available, including Survival
(fight tons of AI dinos), Rocketeer (jetpacks and grenade launchers),
Dude Huge (King of the Hill), and Ninja (Stealth, Sniping, and
Mobility). In the end, however, none of them really answer the question:
"Why are there dinosaurs in this game at all?" The monstrous creatures
seem to exist almost as an afterthought - in games with new players,
everyone seems to be preoccupied trying to kill them off, even when the
mode is Human vs. Human. As the players get more skilled, the dinos are
really more of a nuisance to be done away with while duking it out with
the far more dangerous human opponents. In the game modes that are
centered around fighting dinosaurs, it's just constant shooting until
the big sucker comes down. There don't seem to be particular tactics for
bringing them down quickly and skillfully, it's just a matter of
shooting until it's over. Bummer, man.
It takes a while to come to this conclusion - especially
because there is no tutorial or support for new players at all, you
really have to try things in order to figure them out. Much of it is
self-explanatory, but this really contributes to the dinky and generally
unprofessional look of Dino Horde. An impressive array of achievements
is available, but the majority will likely only be reached by players
who give this game far more time than it deserves. There is buyable DLC
in the form of attire - Unfortunately, apart from a few hats and taunts
these are just different colors of outfits, which even the original Halo
offered free of charge (and in far better variety). The high point of
Dino Horde is probably the music, which is really quite good and
provides atmosphere to an otherwise dull world.
While Orion: Dino Horde has potential, it will certainly
fall short of even modest expectations. If it weren't for there already
being quite the track record of bad Jurassic games, I'd suggest that
fighting dinosaurs has never been so dull. A shame, since it's evident
that the developers put a lot of time into it... it's just too bad they
didn't focus on making it fun.
- Josh Waters
The game functions well enough, like a less polished
Halo. Unfortunately, there's not a lot to do. The Ai is terrible,
customization nearly nonexistent, and little more than basic game modes.
Dinosaurs are barely even part of the equation.
Not bad, actually, but nothing mind blowing.
Decent score that goes well with the environment, coupled
with standard dino roars.
It's pretty cheap, that's for sure. Unfortunately, even
that is more than it's worth!
Dino Horde is not the improvement Dino Beatdown needed.
If you're just dying to kill mindless dinos, though...go for it.