Let us rewind time back to 10,000 BCE, you are a simple man of the Wenja tribe by the name of Takkar, you are now tasked with saving your tribe and in a sense your entire way of life.
This is the picture that Ubisoft has painted for us in Far Cry Primal. In true Far Cry fashion you are immediately tossed into an epic beginning scene full of combat, quick actions and emotion. When things go wrong, you are left alone to survive.
Ubisoft promised a new feeling with Far Cry Primal, and in some sense they weren’t completely wrong. Some mechanics of the game do feel slightly “copy and paste” from its earlier games – Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4, but it does bring its own taste and twists that puts this game in its own category. It is not a typical shooter game, packing a pistol and machine gun, wiping out everything in your path with no regard to strategy. Primal requires a bit of thought and preparation when entering a battle. However, some things have been brought over from games before and personally this gamer doesn’t mind.
The weapons wheel and map set ups are primarily the same, along with taking over outposts and claiming them for your own to allow you to fast travel between them.
One huge difference in Primal and any other Far Cry game is the spoken language of the people. There are 3 different dialects in the game, each of which were created specifically for the game, 1 for each of the tribes featured in the game. That is possibly one of my favorite and least favorite aspects of this game. While it is really cool that they took the extra step to create a separate language just for this game, it’s kind of annoying if you happen to look away during a cut scene and miss any subtitles. This is a cool feature but not completely necessary in this gamer’s opinion.
Just like the other Far Cry games, it falls on the back of one man to save an entire tribe or group of people from certain extinction. Takkar travels to Oros to find his people of the Wenja tribe only to discover that they have been scattered all over the place due to the invasion of the Udam tribe aka the flesh eaters. Meeting one companion by the name of Sayla informs you that you must save the people of the tribe and send them back home.
When roaming the terrain between quests I found myself hunting and collecting resources. It’s easier this time around thanks to a skill called ‘Hunting Vision’. By clicking in the right stick the player can see resources, enemies and animals around you. Also, with this vision you can follow a blood trail left by an animal that you didn’t kill with the first shot. Hunting is essential because you use the animal fat that you collect from each kill to heal yourself, instead of a magical potion.
You have to take over outposts to progress your story and increase the strength and population of your tribe. To control an outpost you have to eliminate all enemies in it and then light a giant bonfire to signal it as yours. As you take over outposts you can access a stash, which is full of resources for crafting and improving your home base. Sayla updates this stash daily and adds new items.
One of the most anticipated features of the game was being able to summon and control the actions of a beast. You access this feature fairly early into the game, starting with a giant owl and then gaining the ability to tame any beast you come across. Taming the beasts is somewhat effortless, just feeding them and then holding an action button until they succumb to your charming beast taming ways. Controlling your new-found friend is just as easy. With the use of 2 buttons you can have them attack any enemy at will. Nothing more enjoyable than having a great white wolf rip the face off an enemy while you take another one down with a spear.
The map of the game isn’t revealed at all from the start. In prior Far Cry games there has just been a cloud above the map until you unlock it. In Primal the entire map area is brown but as you explore more of the terrain is exposed. From messing with the map I can estimate that it isn’t as big as Far Cry 3 or 4, for me this is a relief. With no access to vehicles, trekking a large map could prove to be brutal and more work than it’s worth.
In conclusion, Primal is very attractive graphically. From high cliffs overlooking miles of untouched forest, to the deep lakes and rivers that surround you with different types of fish and plant life. The cut scenes are done very well and really immerse you into what is happening. The controls are simple and done well for this type of game.
My only complaint thus far on this game is the language. I understand where Ubisoft was coming from when they decided to go this way with it but without that addition this game would still be just as good – sometimes less is more?
Replayability is medium due to the fact this game offers 4 different difficulties ranging from easy to expert, something other open world Far Cry games did not include. If you enjoyed hunting with the bow and controlling animals in Far Cry 4 I definitely suggest this title for your collection. If you are only into guns blazing, fast paced gaming than you may want to hold off for a bit, but do not exclude it completely as a possible addition to your games library.