UPDATE : ORION PRELUDE
There simply aren't enough games with dinosaurs & even fewer of these that are actually worth playing! For me, Orion: Prelude (O:P) is that rare exception. Although not much in way of a story in the game (no single player after all)
, there is quite a tale on how Orion came to be the game it is today...
The short version is, that O:P is an evolution of previous Orion titles, Dino Horde & Dino Beatdown originally dating back to a successful 2011 Kickstarter campaign. Although recieving early criticism (that would normally kill a game ..dead.. disappearing into obscurity)
, the game continued to evolve with constant updates (big & small) over the years from the developers. Spiral stuck with it! This dedication & gradual refinement of the game has resulted in an excellent first-person co-op experience, with a well rounded collection of modes, weapons, enviromental effects, vehicles & more to enjoy.
PvP isn't forgotten; it's also selectable. PvP feels more alike to a retro deathmatches, than a modern PvP (in a good way!)
, but I mainly enjoy the co-op modes. In co-op, you essentially have to defend your power core against waves of bloodthursty dinosaurs. Dinosaur kills will reward you credits, which you can use to buy perks & weapon upgrades, in-turn helping you survive the later, harder waves. Some waves also have you securing objectives. Co-op doesn't feel ultra competitive, most of the time you don't watch your credits/kills, rather finding yourself just having fun surviving & helping your teammates! I've found the community to generally be helpful & friendly in-game too.
One of the real stand-out features in O:P has to be the enviromental effects randomly cycling on the alien world. From the day/night cycles to the extreme variety of climates & types of weather. Adds so much to the atmosphere. Couple this with excellent lighting effects through what seems to be a thicker atmosphere and the results can sometimes be spectacular! Even overwhelming! You definitely get that feeling
when your final wave gets a night cycle with heavy rain .. you know you are gonna see an epic close quarter battle!
Along with the awesome effects, there are 3 distinct classes to mix-up the gameplay. Each has unique strengths & each you can progress/level-up in online play to unlock starting weapons, power-ups & perks. Initial learning curve isn't steep, so once you get the hang of the basic flow it becomes very easy to sink multiple hours killing dinos! O:P rarely feels like a grind; even at lower levels (without a lot of perks)
you competently kill dinos & gain good XP. Plenty of dinos to go around too :)
If you can't find a friend to play with, there is also bot-support added in O:P to fill the ranks. This can be helpful to get playing quickly if server populations are low (which regrettably does happen).
The trilogy of classes are well balanced (no need for any other classes), as is the gameplay in general. Difficulty is super scalable. Weapons are mainly shared between classes so quickly become familiar, and vehicles are easy to use & offer a good range of practical & destructive uses. Repetitive? Sure, to a degree, it is the same thing over & over and despite there being a lot of 'accessories' to the spice up the character classes & tactics, modes etc, there are not a huge number of maps for each mode. I expect this will change soon with Steam Workshop support being added.
The A.I. generally employed by the dinosaurs is a fairly basic 'rush' tactic, which can feel pretty predictable (there are a few surprises though)
, but I find the larger dino numbers to counteract this limitation to a degree anyway. There are also the occasional technical glitches like querky physics (flying Stegosaurus anyone?) or clipping inside a dinosaur. Nothing game-breaking that I have experienced, but sure does make for some funny moments! Just like my many failed attempts at some of the more creative 'Ride a Dino for 10secs' & 'Slap T-Rex 100 times' achievements :)
O:P reminds me a bit of those classic, simple shooters like a Serious Sam or Left 4 Dead, but with a bit of high-tech sci-fi flavor. This future-tech feel across the game contradicts the jurassic era dinosaurs & remote wilderness landscapes nicely! O:P is not as complex mechanically or technically when compared to a top end AAA FPS, but its simplicity is also its underlying strength. It is great value ($1!), has strong replayability and the focused, balanced gameplay (some bonus ..ahem.. querks)
offers a truely fun & intense, dino killin' co-operative survival experience! Too much to read?
Yeah ok then (fair call lol).. I'll let Dave Chappelle quickly summarise what O:P is all about ... (original artwork uploaded by Grayscars!)