MMORPGs have taken the internet by storm in recent years. This is largely down to the fact that technology has been improving at quite an alarming rate resulting in faster internet connections, more processing power, and the resulting ease at which developers can bring entire simulated worlds to gamers across the globe, and all requiring very little of the gamer; just a browser and the will to play a game is needed. This is precisely why MMORPG games like Archlord, 9Dragons, and Archeage have done so well and are loved by so many. Hailing from the much more original and quirky side of the MMORPG camp however is Dino Storm, a game that's got all of the hallmarks of a classic MMORPG, but with subject matter that's as far from "standard procedure" as one could possibly hope for.
Simply put, Dino Storm is an immersive experience that puts you right in the middle of a 3D world that is in turn housed in a single pop-up window for your convenience. The astute player will already have figured out that the game's subject matter is a little out of the ordinary because of its title, but for those that are a little slow on the uptake, Dino Storm is all about exploring and progressing in a virtual world that contains a whole load of dinosaurs. Oh, and there are cowboys as well, you know, just in case Dinosauria isn't a niche enough clade already.
Many descriptions you'll find online describe the game as being an action-packed experience that includes dinosaurs, cowboys, and even laser-firing guns (just to make things even more quirky than before); these descriptions are entirely accurate. As ridiculous as it sounds, you begin the game with just a few dollars to your name and must make your way to Dinoville, battling massive groups of dinosaurs and merciless humans along the way using your laser cannon and any RPG/shooting skills you may be able to bring to the game from your previous MMORPG experience.
Dino Storm is a pretty standard MMORPG in its basic structure. You begin the game in the usual manner, which is to create yourself a character/ranger from the (relatively limited) options available. The aesthetics of your ranger can be tweaked as can the dinosaur that's going to be your loyal companion throughout, but that's as far as the customisation goes at this stage. Tutorials then form the basis of your initial experiences with the game's virtual world. You're guided through all of the essentials such as the game's combat system, the progression/levelling up of your character, and the set quests that allow you to level up and acquire assets/money in the first place.
The WASD control system is one of the first things that is explained by the tutorials for example, though I would avoid using the mouse-based controls that are also on offer as there are bugs galore when it comes to using the mouse to control movement. Combat is another thing that's explained by the tutorials, and it is the combat system that really gives this game the edge over other MMORPGS. Where else can you ride bareback on a dinosaur whilst shooting a laser cannon at other people and dinosaurs at the same time? Certainly not in games like Guild Wars 2 or Rift, that's for sure. The ability to utilise both your ranger and your dinosaur allows for varied strategy, whether it's encircling your enemies or going face-to-face with them in an ability-based standoff - this is probably the best laser-toting, dinosaur-containing combat system you're likely to come across.
The other main selling point of the game is the huge variety of dinosaurs that you will eventually come across and be able to customise. Each type of dinosaur possesses its own unique set of abilities and advantages/disadvantages and can be customised in order to change its appearance. The achievements system also deserves some praise because it also gives the game its longevity, rewarding you with various in-game items of significant value for completing the quests set for you and doing things like massacring a certain quantity of dinosaurs or other enemies.
Unfortunately, the lack of depth in customisation at the game's outset that I mentioned a few paragraphs previously is somewhat of a reflection of the game's generally shallow approach to the MMORPG genre. Though there is a wonderful selection of dinosaurs on offer, the novelty of riding on the back of a dinosaur with a laser cannon wears off fairly rapidly when you realise that the game is aimed for the younger audience. Its difficulty is lacking if you're playing as a fully-fledged and highly experienced grown-up gamer; a little more difficulty would have gone a long way to making Dino Wars a much better game. Dino Storm is certainly a unique MMORPG game - Splitscreen Games should be commended for their originality here - but its lack of true depth, relatively low difficulty and relative lack of other players to interact with somewhat dulls the experience.
Dino Storm can be played online and enjoyed instantly at dinostorm.com/en/
Bebop Rating - 6.6/10