For the longest time, fans have been asking Capcom for a new Dino Crisis game, whether it is a remake of the first entry or a completely new chapter in the series. And while Capcom hasn’t listened to fans so far, someone else has been paying attention to this desire.
Enter Dead Drop Studios and its latest release – Dinobreak.
Dinobreak was only recently announced by its development team, Dead Drop Studios. The game is meant to be a callback to the very first Dino Crisis game, both in visuals and gameplay. To be honest, while the first trailer did scratch that Dino Crisis hitch we have been feeling for a long time, there were already a few warning signs.
First of all, the game was announced very, very close to its release date. This usually happens when the team doesn’t have a lot of faith in the material. Second, when a game tries so desperately to tie its name to a timeless classic, it’s usually because the game has little new to say of its own.
So, it was clear from the onset that Dinobreak wasn’t going to be a huge breakthrough for gaming or dinosaur-related games. That being said though, we still went into Dinobreak hoping that the game would, at least, satisfy all those who were looking for that decent Dino Crisis clone, nothing more and nothing less. It’s also clear from trailers that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously, which may help its case. Let’s see how things went.
The game opens with an on-text screen that summarizes what’s been happening in Cypress Ridge. It’s 1999, and all of a sudden eggs have started appearing all over the city. Of course, these are not standard-sized chicken eggs. These are, in fact, dinosaur eggs!
When dinosaurs start hatching, they immediately realize that humans can be a nice addition to their diet. People start leaving town in a hurry, while a few brave souls try to fight back dinosaurs and hopefully understand how they came to be and how to send them back to where they came from.
The plot is exactly as cheesy as it sounds, and it keeps this B-movie tone throughout the adventure. You don’t need to take it seriously, or else you will start noticing every no-sense moment the story has, and trust us, there are many.
If you like this tongue-in-cheek take on a dinosaur story, you will enjoy the ride while it lasts. It’s nothing to write home about, but it has dinosaurs in it and plenty of gore, if that’s your thing. However, if you are looking for a more serious tone, you should probably look elsewhere, as the game has no intention of providing a compelling plot.
The game plays much like the original Dino Crisis on paper, even sporting a similar UI on menus. Trying to explain the game’s mechanics in-depth would be redundant: the game mimics a classic 90’s horror game, and if you’ve played one of the original Resident Evil games, Dino Crisis 1 or 2, Silent Hill or any other horror game of that generation, you will find yourself at home.
Let’s try to focus on how the game fares in trying to adapt that gameplay style to modern times. First of all, the game offers three modes: fixed camera, over-the-shoulder, and first-person. While having the option to choose sounds great on paper, we’ve found that the fixed camera option is the one that benefits the game most, as it helps recreate the feeling of a “real” 90s survival horror game.
Controls, however, feel clunky, and it will take some time to adjust to them. It’s not unplayable, far from it, but the game needed much more polish in this area.
Combat could have used some more polish as well. Encountering a dinosaur becomes a mindless process of shooting until they drop down, waiting for them to come back up, and repeat until they are dead. While we weren’t expecting anything spectacular, we would’ve liked a little more effort spent on the dinosaurs’ AI, making them feel like living creatures rather than numb zombie-like entities.
Still, the fact that there are so few games with dinosaurs nowadays may be enough of a reason to play through the adventure. It’s more of a guilty pleasure than anything else, but given the budget price tag, this could be acceptable for some players.
The game replicates a 90s horror game in its visuals, and it mostly succeeds in that. If you love that era of gaming, you will probably like how the game looks. Sure, nothing is outstanding to be seen, as the art direction is quite poor, but at least it gives off that 90s feeling quite nicely.
There are many problems performance-wise though. Most evidently, Dinobreak has excruciatingly long loading times, which is something uncanny for this kind of game. Sure, it’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s still quite annoying given that there is no reason for the game to be so slow, especially on PlayStation 5.
While the soundtrack is pretty anonymous, we’d like to spend two words on the voice acting. Developers purposely asked for cheesy and stiff performances from Dinobreak’s voice cast, which arguably succeeds in adding to that B-movie feeling we’ve mentioned earlier. But that doesn’t mean that every player will like this. It really depends on your sense of humor. Personally, we didn’t mind it, but there were instances where it almost became unbearable, even by the game’s standards.
Dinobreak is a very, very short game. Most players will be able to complete it within 2 hours, which is an abysmal playtime, even for the genre. There are multiple difficulty options but, given how mindless the combat is, you definitely won’t feel the need to suffer through the whole thing again just for that. However, there is a side mode, which could add some replay value to the game. Sure, it’s nothing to write home about, and you’ll probably have enough of the game by the time you beat the main story, but the option to stick with Cypress Ridge for some more time is there.
Dinobreak definitely isn’t the Dino Crisis remake fans have been asking for, and to be honest it isn’t even a decent clone. The game heavily borrows UI, assets, locations, and more from other titles developed by Dead Drop Studios, which should prove just how little effort went into the game.
That being said though, there is some dumb fun to be had with this game. Despite its countless flaws, Dinobreak could still scratch that 90s survival horror itch for some players, making it fall under the so bad it’s so good category. Plus, there are no other dinosaur games to be found on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 (except for Jurassic World: Evolution). Sure, it’s a guilty pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless. Whether that’s enough it’s entirely up to you.
- Pretty much everything else