Thomas Roach reviews Far Cry Primal…
Whilst most franchises are moving forward in time and taking a futuristic approach in their setting, it is refreshing to see a game take a step back from that and go the opposite way.
Far Cry Primal is the latest addition to the Far Cry franchise, and was announced late last year out of the blue to the fans. Many people assumed that this would be in the same vein as Far Cry Blood Dragon; however this game is large and honestly not what I expected in sheer size. Far Cry Primal sees you trade in your machine guns and automobiles for spears, clubs and the woolly mammoth.
The story of Far Cry Primal follows protagonist Takkar of the Wenja tribe. The last surviving member of a hunting group, Takkar must reunite with members on the Wenja and help to conquer the valley of Oros. During your attempts to take over the valley your missions include the usual: hunting, outposts, forts and rescue missions and so on. There is not a great deal of variation in the types of missions from the previous games which is disappointing. Whilst having some unique story related missions, like the other games you spend most of your time capturing outposts and slowly taking over the map. This certainly isn’t boring gameplay but it doesn’t feel special and can get rather repetitive a lot of the time.
The gameplay only feels different because of the change of setting. Instead of firearms you use more melee weapons to take on your opponents. To some players this may be unappealing but there is still plenty of long-range combat which makes up for the lack of firearms. You still have access to bows, spears, slings and bombs which are all effective weapons and allow you to mix up the melee combat with clubs and spears.
Your interaction with animals is also something new. In this game you can tame animals to help you take out enemies and scout on ahead – in particular, using your pet owl is useful to scout ahead and identify enemies. You can also ride mammoths; this is no substitute for vehicles from the previous instalments but it will have to make do to vary from just running across the map. Animals also seem a lot smarter in Primal than they have in the previous games. Animals will hunt in packs, take advantage of the environment and use stealth to hunt you down. While taking on predators they will flee if you do too much damage to them which is more realistic compared to the previous games.
The setting is by far the most impressive thing about the game. With franchises focusing on generic shooters and moving towards a futuristic setting, Far Cry Primal presents us with a beautiful vision of the ancient world and fills it with character. The environment certainly feels like it is alive. During your travels you will see other cavemen hunting animals as well as the animals hunting a variation of prey. They appear to be better than they have in previous games – the animals will react to you rather than attack you until you kill them. They can be scared off using fire or they will flee when they are hurt. This makes the world feel more realistic.
A big problem with the game is the story. Other than taking over the valley from the other tribes there is really no other narrative woven into the protagonist’s objectives. Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4 had great villains through both Vaas and Pagan Min respectively. They were both dynamic villains who had interesting characteristics that helped make their actions feel realistic. In Primal the conflict comes from the fact that your tribes oppose each other and that is it. However this can be excused to some extent. With a primitive setting the characters’ needs had to be basic in order to create a realistic interpretation of 10,000BC. While this creates a great level of realism that accompanies the setting it can just feel very uninteresting.
If you are a fan of the Far Cry franchise this is certainly a must have addition in the series despite its flaws. Just to play something with a very new setting should give you plenty of reason to give it a go. Although it provides a refreshing setting, unique weapons and a great combat system that does not rely on firearms, Far Cry Primal fails to deliver anything special to the franchise at this time – it feels too similar to its predecessors. The game offers just about enough to make it worthwhile, but if you have no interest in the franchise before this Far Cry Primal is unlikely to sell you on the series.
+ Visually stunning
+ Massive open world
+ Unique and interesting setting
– Repetitive gameplay
– Weak story and characters
Total Score: 6/10
SEE ALSO: ORDER FAR CRY PRIMAL FROM AMAZON US OR AMAZON UK