Review: Orion – Dino Horde

ORION: Dino Horde may have been the most fun I’ve had with my buddies on the PC in a while.  Ignore the fact that I’ve been neglecting them since Monster Hunter came out, that obviously has nothing to do with it!

The Good:

Yes, I’m just gonna get straight to the nitty-gritty.  The gun controls are pretty dang nice.  It’s not swimmy, and you don’t hate yourself after using any of the guns even if they aren’t your style.  They do have a sort of recoil added into the game, but it’s none of that crazy “realistic” crap in other games.  It’s there, but you can operate with it.  The guys/gals over at Spiral have focused on making this game fun.  Nailed it!

Graphically ORION looks pretty nice as well.  It’s not your CoD3 or Gears game, but it still delivers a nice looking game.  My buddy says there is some screen tearing on his end, but I didn’t notice it much on mine.  The lag you see in the video posted here is thanks to Fraps.  I still need to figure out how to work that to the fullest extent.  It lagged the poo out of me which is why the video is so short.

A Triceratops about to get a bumper sandwich!

A Triceratops about to get a bumper sandwich!

The controls were also pretty good even for all the vehicles.  There are a lot more vehicles than I thought even though I watched their awesome video.  Give it some time to get accustomed to them though as they all operate pretty differently.  I haven’t had to opportunity to try out the plane thing because I assume I have to live longer and the T-Rex is a beast with only 3-4 people who are still learning the game.

Coincidentally that brings up another part of the game I enjoy, the difficulty.  It does seem to go from “oh there’s just a few little ones” to “holy crap there’s too many of them!” pretty quick-ish, but once you get a hold of your options and upgrades it gets better and your games last longer.

Uhhh... yes, you can ride this, and it's awesome!

Uhhh… yes, you can ride this, and it’s awesome!  Oh, look in the background, it’s my buddy!

There are plenty of weapons to choose from as well (I think they mention 50+) which is pretty good.  However, I admit to not deviating much from the starter shotty and the TREK79 LMG.  I tried out a sniper rifle, but it felt like it was more for pvp than “me versus a dino army”.  The vehicles are super fun and I loved most of them sans the little hover bike thing.  It was good for speed, but felt like all it was good for.  The mech, tank, jeep with a gun mounted on it, and the regular jeep (one of my buds says looks like a tractor) are all fun to use, but definitely have their own distinct place in the fight.

ORION can be played solo, it’s tough, but it can be done.  I haven’t cleared a map by myself yet, and I don’t see that happening without starting myself with a little extra cash.  That would feel like cheating though 🙁 .  ORION shines with friends who work well together and sometimes don’t work well together.  Sometimes screwing up is just good times.  One of the random players that jumped into our little skirmish was in a bad way and I went to heal him.  Needless to say, while the repair and heal gun look similar, you can’t use a repair tool to heal another player.  It was frustrating until I realized what I had just done.  He left a little after that.  Apparently were weren’t enough for him… or was it my heals.

The Bad:

Since I can’t really fault Spiral too much for a lack of players and the fact that the game just relaunched (apparently) this last Tuesday, the lack of other people playing is acceptable.  Which is why I pulled in some of my buddies to test it out.  We’ve had a few jump into our games and play with us, but they mostly didn’t talk back.  The game just needs more people and that can only come with time.

How come I can't see my feet or hands?! Am I a ghost?

How come I can’t see my feet or hands?! Am I a ghost?

The resolution did bug my game out a bit though.  My friend’s list wouldn’t show up at all.  The intro videos only showed up once and never again, but I still get the sound /shrug.  I was able to get my friend’s list to show by just changing the resolution a few times and magically it worked.  I’m not quite sure what’s up with that, probably just a small bug.  The other thing about the friend’s list that bugged me is that it didn’t show my friends being online unless they were in an active game.  If they were just in the lobby area dilly-dallying about, it’s as if they weren’t playing at all.  You could still invite them sure, but it’s still weird.  Putting the settings to 16:10 to match my monitor, however, doesn’t allow me to see friends on my friend’s list period.

I’m not sure how to classify this “gripe”, but the graphical settings could make me a bit sad too.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with them, but playing against others could get people to turn down the setting to get an advantage over people who want to play with all the bells and whistles on.  It less a ding to the game and more a ding to players that will turn things off to get an advantage.  Nothing against people who turn things off to get the game to run smoother.  Here take a look at the comparison:

You'd have a distinct advantage playing against others if you turn the nifty stuff off and that's sad.

You’d have a distinct advantage playing against others if you turn the nifty stuff off and that’s sad.

Final Score:

ORION probably would have recieved my highest rating if not for the friend's list issue.  It seems small, but that's how all games start.  You have to invite people in and my inability to do that without constantly changing my resolution is just bad.  Other than that, it's a pretty solid title that I plan on making a regular in my Thursday gaming sessions with my buddies.  It's cheap at around $15 and if they keep up with all the updates they mention on their website, this game has only one direction it could go and that would be awesome-er.

Overall: ORION probably would have received my highest rating if not for the friend’s list issue. It seems small, but that’s how all games start. You have to invite people in and my inability to do that without constantly changing my resolution is just bad. Other than that, ORION is a solid title that I plan on making a regular in my Thursday gaming sessions with my buddies. It’s cheap at around $15 and if they keep up with all the updates they mention on their website, this game has only one direction it could go and that would be awesome-er.  You honestly can’t go too wrong with a TF2-esque style with vehicles where you can shoot and play as dinosaurs.  That’s just a recipe for good times.

Personal Note: For those who are more concerned with what others have posted about this game, don’t.  This game may not be the greatest game and probably won’t knock those other FPS’s off the top 10 lists of most PC gamers, but this is a very fun game in a world of serious games.  We are in need of more games like this to remind us to enjoy imagination and to play games instead of trying to win over each other.  For those who think Spiral has obviously paid me off to get a good review, you obviously haven’t played this with friends… or you hate fun.

Jonathan Amarelo Sig

2 Comments

  1. MacGordon May 3, 2013 12:53 pm  Reply

    I too had fun with you guys that night. I thought it was a fun “horde” mode that got insane as soon at a triceratops (which may no longer be classified as an actual dino that existed now) or a stegosaurus….let alone a flipp’n T-Rex.

    I had quite a few graphical issues here and there. One, screen tearing out the wazoo! I was horrible. Finally pulled up nvidia’s control panel and set up a specific profile for the video settings because the game’s settings did nothing to fix. Messing around with v-sync found that the “adaptive” setting fixed the issue. Most other issues (missing dinos, what have you) were fixed with a reboot of the game.

    Guns: Wow…I was just fine with the pistol a LOT of the time. Although Jon stuck with the shottie, I typically grabbed a light-machine gun and waged war on dinos and lead in the quickest fashion possible. I say let’s give it a round 2, try some other features, game modes (if there are any) and have some more fun.

    I’d say, if this game is cheap, I’d be all over it. If they want premium ( the a-typical $59.99) they may be insane.

    • Ailingforale May 3, 2013 1:01 pm  Reply

      There are other modes in the game, but that was the one that seemed more fun to me at the time.

      I’m glad you found a fix for the tearing issue since I didn’t really have it… not sure man.

      Also, I talked to one of the guys over at Spiral and they said that they’d be taking away the shotty from the support class to level the playing field in the beginning.

      Over all, yeh, awesome. and only $14.99, easy enough to pick up and not worry too much about your wallet.

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