Friday, June 13, 2014

Game Corner - ORION: Dino Horde - Review and Walkthrough

Hello blog readers. A fairly recent game has come around to my game library and I think it's worth a mention here on AllStuffNerdy. The game is ORION: Dino Horde.

The game is developed by Spiral and is built on the Unreal Game Engine. Now before we proceed, we need to discuss game engines. Most big-name games (with the exception of Call of Duty), are built completely by scratch in code. However, when most games are starting out, they like to start with game engines. These "code frameworks" allow the game designer to build a decent game without worrying about getting swarmed with millions of lines of code. Now game engines do come with a major drawback. They tend to perform poorly on older hardware. The reason is game engines have lots of code libraries which can be used by the game designer to design their game, which takes up a lot of memory. This is why we are giving ORION a bit of a handicap in this review. And also because it's a relatively new(er) game.

Now on with the review. The game has no story in it. period. The game offers both solo and online multiplayer. You can set the multiplayer server to be Steam friends only, or public for the world to join. At the moment, multiplayer servers are limited to 5 active players (the rest are given the spectator role). Upon entering, you will be given the option of choosing between 3 different classes. There's the assault class, the support class, and the recon class. All of them have access to different powerups and weapons (more on that later). Once you choose your class, you will spawn either inside a building or just outside a building depending on the map. For the Survival and Conquest modes, you cannot do anything until you activate a generator located about 500-1000 ft away from your spawn. All buildings will be disabled until one player goes to activate it. The player who activates it will receive 100 credits. Once the generator is activated, players will have 60 seconds to buy new weapons and powerups. After the 60 seconds have expired, a horde of dinosaurs will appear and attempt to attack the generator to bring it offline. If the generator is offline for more that 5 minutes, all players lose the round. Players will have to use their weapons and powerups to defend the generator. If a player loses their shield and their health, they will enter a state where they move very slowly and can only use their pistol type weapon to fight. This is similar to when your player is "bleeding out" in Call of Duty. To be restored back to normal, you must either kill a certain number of dinosaurs (which is determined by the difficulty setting), cause a certain amount of damage to a larger dinosaur, or being revived by another player. Any player can revive a fallen teammate by holding a button for a few seconds. This does, however, make both players vulnerable to attacks from nearby dinosaurs. Players of the Support class can instantly revive players using their support powerup.

Overall, this is a really fun game. The concept is really good and the game has potential. As one reviewer on Steam put it: "You can fight a T-Rex in a mech. That's all you need to know." However, I do have a few complaints. First off, the music is off. It sounds like it belongs in a calmer game like Zelda, not an action packed game like this. My other complaint is that it doesn't run nicely with older hardware. I have a 6 year old gaming PC that has been upgraded with a more modern graphics card (AMD Radeon 7750), and this game lags a lot. It just might be my single core computer not being able to handle it, but most other games run just fine (HAWKEN, JC2, NFS: Hot Pursuit...). I think this is the first game I have ever played where I had to turn down all the settings down to minimum to get decent performance. But as I said before, we are giving this game a handicap since it does rely on a pre-built game engine.

The Conclusion:
******* 7 stars out of 5.
The game has a nice concept with a lot of replayability. Granted it can lag sometimes and it has room for improvement in its soundtrack, but it's easy to look past that once you start playing it. You can get it for yourself through the Steam client (steampowered.com).

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