In the realm of video games, particularly the kinds that pit you against giants as captivating as dragons, ice giants, and other monolithic mystical beasts, we can never forget about how terrifying dinosaurs can be, and how unique they are as bestial antagonists.
Many of us can agree that since we were children, dinosaurs held a special place in our hearts, whether or not it stemmed from the toys we innocently forced into battle, or the TV shows and films we watched in absolute awe, knowing that these monsters actually walked the earth once upon a time. For decades, those dinosaurs have been providing thrills for us in a variety of video games so without further ado, here at IGCritic’s best dinosaur games (and the Google T-rex game doesn’t count).
Ark: Survival Evolved
Our number 5 best dinosaur game is the most recent video game to be developed with a truly immersive prehistoric experience is the popular video game, ARK: Survival Evolved, for which early access became available for Windows, OSX, and Linux back in 2015. ARK runs on Unreal Engine 4 and if you’ve had a chance to play or watch gameplay footage, you might have guessed that they developed ARK: Survival Evolved with VR in mind, which is awesome for a couple of reasons.
The first is that it is now one of two video games available for VR, offering to throw you into a prehistoric age, the second game will be mentioned later. The second reason why is because the environment and the dinosaurs are incredibly detailed and beautiful to look at and it begs you to give it closer look, if you’re not too busy running from that roaring T-rex. Speaking of which, you’ll have to build a base and develop technology (weapons, armor, generators, etc) to survive and protect you from the wild dangers lurking through the jungle. If the chance to see how you’d fare in a mysterious 36 square kilometres of island called ‘the Ark’ doesn’t excite you, maybe the prospect of riding your very own T-rex will.
You should know that there are sixty different types of dinosaurs in ARK: Survival Evolved, and through care and patience, you can tame and control every one. Yes they’re somewhat inaccurately depicted, and some are antiquated mistakes of the past (Triceratops is not a real dinosaur), but it’s a fantastic experience nonetheless. All this doesn’t even scratch the surface of what the video game truly is, but trust that for those who adore prehistoric (albeit highly fictional) settings— ARK: Survival Evolved is a video game you’ll want to get in late 2016.
Adding to the shared theme of new vs old in video games featuring dinosaurs, is Primal Carnage — a dinosaur battle game which allows you and your friends to battle it out in teams as humans or dinosaurs.
On the dinosaurs team, players can choose five classes: the Tank (Tyrannosaurus or Spinosaurus), Ambush (Dilophosaurus), Charger (Carnotaurus), Scout (Pteranodon), and Assault (the fictional ‘Novaraptor’). Some can be switched out for Tupandactylus (scout), Oviraptor (assault), or Cryolophosaurus (tank), all of which are simply alternate skins.
Those on the human team can choose between five different characters in their respective classes: Marcus Tyler (Commando), Moira Hart (Sniper/Scientist), Joseph Crane (Pathfinder), Jackson Stone (Trapper), and Angus McLaughlin (Pyromaniac). Humans play from a first-person perspective, while dinosaurs are played from third-person, for better environmental awareness if not so you can gape in awe at the vibrant depiction of these dinosaurs. Sure, again, they’re not technically accurate depictions of our favourite dinosaurs but, they’re immensely fun to play with anyway, especially when you’re able to savour those moments when you devour your friends’ characters as they try to escape.
Telltale Jurassic Park
By now, most of you would have heard about Telltale Games through their episodic adventures relating to your favourite TV shows such as The Walking Dead, or Game of Thrones, which were all praised and were arguably the reasons why Telltale Games was brought to new heights of popularity.
People may remember the Jurassic Park adventure they released back in 2011 featured new characters— Nima Cruz, Gerry Harding and his two daughters, Sarah and Jess, basically running along the same lines as the plot of the films by which they were inspired.
Despite the reviews and the relative lack of choices, you may enjoy the episodic adventure purely for the appearances of the dinosaurs, who do not fail in playing the predatory killers they are.
You may remember the sprawling landscapes, the tension in silence, and the distant galloping of a Moschops distracting you from the dangers around you. You might also realise that the near-twenty year old classic is not quite the video game you remember. As you move through the series however, you’ll grow to love them again. Nothing in the market is quite like it in the way it manages to place you in the boots of a hunter, transported through time to hunt deadly game (just forget that you’d probably alter the present beyond recognition). Nothing today can give you that giddy feeling you got when you first saw that T-rex, standing beneath the trees, roaring in a mighty declaration of sovereignty over its domain, and about to be dethroned.
While not all the games in the series focused on dinosaurs, we’ll mostly remember it for the Mesozoic periods it took us to. If you’ve never played Carnivores yet, you definitely should. A version of it, Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter, is available for Android and iOS and you can also get a version on PC through the link under the video.
Dino Crisis (Series)
Dino Crisis is our number one best dinosaur game and we’ve established, dinosaurs (particularly raptors) are terrifying opponents. No one in the industry seemed to understand this as well as Capcom, the developer of the Resident Evil series. They took what worked with their Resident Evil series and gave this horror game a life of its own.
In Dino Crisis you play Regina, an agent of SORT (Secret Operation Raid Team), investigating a research facility on the fictional Ibis Island to find the mysterious Dr. Kirk, whose experiments with ‘third energy technology’ have brought dinosaurs to our time. There’s blood, gore and dinosaurs galore, there to provide you with fast-paced action sequences and some brilliantly intense exploration sections, culminating in one of three possible endings, depending on the choices you make.
For you fans of dinosaur games, those are the ones you just cannot miss. There are still quite a few dinosaur games out there that didn’t make it on our list of the best dinosaur games but are still worth trying. They range from action to RTS and each have something unique to offer you. However, if you want something a little more up to date, you might want to wait for the recently revealed Robinson: The Journey, by Crytek for Playstation VR, being released in the near future.