Back on PlayStation 2 came a first party game from the Cambridge Studio of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, the story was about a girl and her boyfriend as all great stories are. But it was also about the battle between good and evil, between light and dark, again as all good stories are. This game was about demons and humans, the battle to save the human realm; but this story was different, you were the demon!
My first experience of Primal was from a local video and game rental store that is now defunct. I remember clearly the case with the main character standing looking over her shoulder back at you with fang-like green claws jutting from one of her arms. In the background, a strange gargoyle with glowing yellow eyes watched over her. It was a short time after I had discovered Tomb Raider and had finished all of the PS1 games, therefore I needed another action packed adventure to slate my thirst before the first PS2 Tomb Raider hit.
Primal was one of the first games that truly captured my imagination and held me long enough to complete the game, then installed the want for more! I remember coming back from school every afternoon and playing until tea time, it was my first addictive game.
Released in 2003, just before Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, Primal was antonym to the Tomb Raider series in almost every way. The main character Jen Tate, sure, was tough and strong-minded but also had the more feminine side that never seemed to appear into Tomb Raider, at least of the time. Added to that Primal gave you a sidekick voiced by the amazingly cool, Andreas Katsulas (the guy with the hooked hand from Harrison Ford’s version of The Fugitive).
Primal sets Jen in a race to defeat the forces of Chaos, led by Abaddon and his General of Chaos Belahzur. The forces of Chaos have damaged the balance that holds order within the mythical worlds of Oblivion, this means that the power of Order need a champion from the world of Mortalis (Human world) to restore the balance.
This leads Jen on a quest, travelling to the four worlds of Oblivion: Solum, Aquis, Aetha and Volca. Each of the four worlds are based on one of the elements (Earth, Wind, Water and Fire), which in turn unlocks an ability for Jen related to that world; for example: for the Water based world of Aquis, Jen gains access to the ability to breathe underwater, but that ability is useless above water and will kill Jen if used on land. Each of the forms that Jen gains travelling to each of the four worlds can then be used in other worlds to access new areas that were previously inaccessible.
The worlds to which Jen and Scree travelled to, were for me, some of the most detailed and brilliantly narrated that I had seen in a game to that date. Up until this point I was not really a console gamer and spent most of my gaming time playing strategy PC games such as Civ and The Settlers series. So really, Action/Adventure games were completely new to me. This was also the time that I had been introduced to Final Fantasy by my Best Friend, so here, I had found a detailed world that crafted the fantasy that I had enjoyed in Final Fantasy with the action and adventure of Tomb Raider and heaped on more. Needless to say I was a later bloomer in the console gaming arena, something that I have corrected over the last decade or so.
Unfortunately for me, the early 2000′s were an age of sales versus sequels and after Primal’s ending credits had rolled that was the end of the story, even though the wide open ending that gave hope for a sequel were never put into action. But there is a hope for me, with the recent trend of remakes of PS2 games and the fact that Final Fantasy X is hitting the Vita, it could mean that Primal will be back, but as a HD remake, rather than a continuation. So needless to say, Sony, Bring Back Primal!