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Far Cry: Primal Review


When Ubisoft released Far Cry Blood Dragon, many seemed to think that they had taken leave of their senses. What was this retro inspired game and what did it have to do with Far Cry? The same could be said of Primal, which still adds the name of Far Cry to the box, but seems quite removed from the main games in the series. It seems to me that Primal at least, is a new game in its own right, a title that seems more inspired by the sense of exploration and need for survival that you see in games such as Rise of The Tomb Raider.

Whatever the inspiration behind Primal, there's no doubt that it's a wonderful game in its own right, having you take control of Takkar the caveman as you look to build your tribe by gathering materials, improving your village, fighting off enemy tribes and of course, taming wild animals.The opening to the game couldn't be any more brutal, as you'll see if you fancy watching any of our first play videos seen within this review. It's fair to say that if you don't like blood or your stomach turns at the thought of cruelty to animals, then you should probably steer clear.

After what is quite an opening to the game, you're suddenly tasked with helping to save the Wenja, the troubled tribe of which you are part. There are a few other tribes within the game, although you'll generally only worry about them when you are bludgeoning them with your club. Everyone in the world is out to survive, some of the other tribes have different ideas as to how this should be done, with some even eating their enemies, so it's safe to say that it's not the most civilised of societies.



Saving your tribe and by association, building your village, is the main aim of the game. In the beginning it's just you and a cavewomen called Sayla, however it's not long before you start to build the population, starting with finding a Shaman, who teaches you how to tame and control animals and populating your village from there. Of course, the more you try to populate your village, the better things become, as suddenly you'll gain new skills, new equipment and build new relationships as you save wandering wandering villagers from certain doom. It feels fantastic watching your village grow through a mixture of completing missions and material gathering and as the game goes on and the map introduces you to newer areas and more difficult challenges, this feeling only gets better.

One of the main features, which I've briefly touched on, is the ability to tame animals. This is surely one of the best parts of the game, starting you off with an owl which gives you the ability to see the world through its eyes, before allowing you to take control of Wolves, ride Brown Bears, Sabertooths, Mammoths and more. Tamed animals are remembered by the game and you can have the choice of which one you'd like to call. Since you are hardly armed to the teeth with an arsenal of weapons, having these animals on call forces you to play the game in a different way, summoning them to help you attack wild animals or other tribesmen, whom you'd surely fail against without your Dr Dolittle-esq skills.



As you'd expect, once the game draws you in, you're met with a rather large open world which is full of all manner of hazards. In this respect it's wise to complete as many of the side missions and main missions as you can, as this will allow you to level up and unlock the various skills that you will need to survive. You certainly won't want to be wandering around when darkness falls in this world without the skills to back you up. Thankfully, if you do manage to meet your maker, you'll respawn at any campfires you manage to claim and in a similar move, if you find the various bonefires which are spread throughout the world, then you can also fast travel between both these areas and your main village.

Those wondering about the performance of Far Cry Primal needn't worry. The time I've spent with the game hasn't brought many issues, with the framerate behaving itself well and there not being many, if any glitches to speak of. The game also looks as beautiful as you'd expect a prehistoric world to be, with plenty of greenery and no unsightly brown brick buildings to be seen.

Far Cry Primal isn't really the game I was expecting it to be. The exploration, survival and material gathering elements more than overshadow the story arc and therefore you'll no doubt find yourself more interested in getting lost in the world, rather than paying attention to or even caring about anyone but your tamed animals. Sure it's nice to see your village grow and form relationships with those around you, but the real star of Primal is its setting and the way in which it drags you in.

Far Cry Primal is available now.

Review by: 

Joe Anderson (Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta)

(Version Tested: PS4)

Pros

+ Large open world
+ Fantastic setting
+ Plenty of animals to tame and control

Cons

- Story is hit and miss

Edited On 22 Feb, 2016

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