Looking for a list of the best dinosaur games on PC in 2020? Whether you’re looking to hunt the Mesozoic monsters or want to stomp and chomp humans while playing as them, the appeal of dinosaurs in gaming is endless. What is endless, however, is the number of games that successfully realise that fantasy. Let’s be honest: until recently, fans of dinosaurs and big guns haven’t exactly walked the primrose path, even on PC.
It’s been a long hard road, marked by velociraptors that look like lumpy dogs, rifles that feel as satisfying as lobbing a bullet by hand, and jeeps that seem to magnetically roll themselves into a nearby ditch, no matter what keys to press. Still, the undeniable lure of blasting a T-Rex in the face with a grenade launcher continues to resonate with a great portion of the gaming public, and while few triple-A developers have proffered quality dino games, there are a few ambitious indie dinosaur games that fill the gap in the market.
If dino thrills are what you’re looking for, here are the best dinosaur games on PC.
The best dinosaur games on PC are:
It might be hard to believe now, but before the one-two punch of Gears of War and Call of Duty 4 tethered the blockbuster shooter to beige reality, the genre had its fair share of colourful contenders. The first Turok in particular is a relic of the Quake era, packed with weapons that spin in mid-air, your dinosaur hunter’s frantic footspeed, and endless canyons of baddies to blast through, but it offers some of the best dino-slaughter of its era.
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil is an altogether more sophisticated game, with an emphasis on non-linear labyrinths rather than the traditional corridor crawls of other shooters of the era. However, it’s probably best-known today for its creative weaponry, especially the fearsome Cerebral Bore, which performs exactly the gory deed it says on the tin. Overall, these aren’t the best old games out there, but they’re fondly remembered for a reason, and they let you wreck some giant reptilians, so they’re perfect for this list.
Ark: Survival Evolved
As the subtitle in its name implies, Ark belongs to the survival genre, which means the dinosaur murdering can only commence after crafting your own spear to chuck at those pesky raptors. The shooting isn’t the tightest, and there are still plenty of bugs, but the sheer range of creatures to fight, hunt, and befriend in Ark will keep you exploring the game’s many biomes for hundreds of hours.
After learning their quirks, you can even ride and tame Ark dinosaurs and use them to help you survive in the world, whether as simple mounts so you can get around faster, or as resource-gatherers, freight carriers, and loyal foot soldiers. On top of that, there’s also plenty of Ark: Survival Evolved mods to pick from.
While most PC dinosaur games concern themselves with hunting dinos, Frontier Developments has instead opted to create the opposite with Jurassic Park Evolution: dino ranching. Rather than mowing down rare creatures with a minigun, you try to build a Jurassic Park that doesn’t fall apart before its first day. You don’t necessarily have to build the archetypical theme park – instead, you could build a park dedicated to science, or an ominous “security center” patrolled by genetically beefed-up mega-dinos.
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This isn’t the deepest management sim ever made, but it does let you delve deeper into the fantasy of running your very own dinosaur park, right down to letting you mess with the DNA of the most dangerous creatures to ever walk the planet.
Sticking with the Jurassic Park franchise, Lego Jurassic World marries the gameplay of action-adventure games specialist TT Games’ with the storylines of the Jurassic Park trilogy, plus the first Jurassic World movie. This is essentially a greatest hits of series, including more blocky, talky Jeff Goldblum than you can handle.
The real treat here is that the Lego games are among the best co-op games available, making this a great dinosaur game to play with friends and family. There’s not a huge amount that separates this Lego game from others – apart from the setting – but you can play as a huge number of different dinosaurs, which is a lot of fun.
The Isle is a multiplayer dinosaur survival sim that’s still a long way off leaving Steam Early Access, but there’s nothing else quite like it on PC. The gameplay is pretty simple, you load into a server full of dinos that are all being played by other people, and attempt to survive in the world by preying on smaller dinosaurs and avoiding predators at all costs. Where The Isle really gets interesting however, is when players start forming packs and groups in a server, leading to player-controlled herds, nests for growing your group, and inevitably massive dino battles.
The best multiplayer games with shooter elements can be pretty stodgy, humorless affairs, especially when it comes to those that strive to be period-accurate. Dino D-Day is a refreshing alternative to the traditional WWII shooter, mixing the semi-tactical gunplay of Day of Defeat with the ferocious claws and talons that only dinosaurs can supply.
While it sounds like a joke game in the vein of Blood and Bacon, it’s actually a surprisingly creative class-based shooter with some truly wild ideas, like a tiny dino that boosts the power of its explosive payload by swiping at your ankles, or a raptor that can pin down single targets and take them out in just a few swipes, just like Left 4 Dead’s Hunter.
Unfortunately, D-Day is nearly a decade old and its player count has dwindled considerably. Still, if you can convince some friends to get it on a sale, this is a great palate cleanser.
Dinosaur-hunting games are all about the battle between man vs. beast, and that’s exactly what you get with Primal Carnage. On one side, you have hunters in sunglasses toting big guns; on the other, you have giant reptiles ready to rumble.
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While there are people who go in deep for the roleplay servers, Primal Carnage is at its best when both sides are just throwing everything they have at each other, resulting in a stupid, irresistible melee. Any game where you can play as a pterodactyl, swoop down, pick up a guy, and drop them to their death is worth checking out. Along with Dino D-Day, this is a multiplayer game that lacks player population, so you’ll probably need a few friends if you want to guarantee yourself a game.
If you’re looking for a triceratops-toppling experience that’s a little closer to traditional hunting sims than the likes of Turok, this is your best bet. This remake of a beloved series from the late ‘90s focuses on tracking, hunting, and killing a variety of dinos.
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You have to sneak up on these big boys and hold your breath to get accurate shots, and the size and condition of each target determines what rewards you get for a clean kill.
It’s a bit light on content, but if you’re tired of hunting down deer, boar, and other harmless woodland critters then this could be the change of scenery you need.
Sure, so they’re not technically dinosaurs, but it’s hard to deny that a Apceros or Anjanath are based on real dinosaurs, even if some of the bigger beasts in the game aren’t. In case you’ve let the series pass you by, Monster Hunter: World is pretty much what is says on the tin: you play a monster hunter, and you have a whole world teeming with fantastical creatures to identify, track, and bring down in cinematic boss battles. Once you’ve secured a kill you can strip the carcass for resources, take them back to your camp, and craft tougher weapons and armour that will let you take on even bigger beasties.
Aside from the seductive power creep, Monster Hunter: World also boasts some of the best action-RPG combat around. There’s a huge range of weapon types, from standard sword and shield combos to more eccentric tools like the gunlance, and learning the movesets of each one promises to be a steep difficulty curve. If you’re willing to put in the time – and we can help you a little with our Monster Hunter: World weapons guide – then this is probably the best dinosaur hunting game out there, even if some of its dinos have wings and breathe fire.
Yes, for all you amateur archaeologists cracking your knuckles to type a lengthy comment out there, we know that Primal is set in the Mesolithic era, millions of years after the dinosaurs were wiped out by a cataclysmic event. However, if you’re a fan of dinosaurs then wooly rhinos, mammoths, and formidable cave bears are the next best thing, and Far Cry Primal has the lot.
Primal lets you hunt all of these creatures and tame some of them as well so you can send them charging into battle on your behalf. And if you find yourself tiring of all the mammalian slaughter then this is still one of the best open-world games around, and there are plenty of distractions and hidden quests to discover along the way. It’s not the best Far Cry, but it captures the feeling of prehistory better than most games.
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That’s your lot, the very best dinosaur games on PC. If you’re looking to dig up more classic-feeling greats then check out our list of the best retro games on PC. In the meantime we’ll be quietly waiting for more triple-A studios to realise how much better their games would be with the odd dino sprinkled in.