Far Cry Primal takes the series back to the very beginning of man’s history. It’s set in 10,000 BC, slap bang in the middle of the Stone Age, taking the premise of Far Cry right back to the earliest of human struggles. The core that the series has long been known for is still in place, but the gameplay loops are far more repetitive with the location being the main twist.
You play as Takkar, a member of the Wenja tribe who’s been separated, tragically, from the rest of his people. The story sets the table, but is extremely thin. To Ubisoft’s credit, all of the in-game cutscenes are spoken in Mesolithic, a language prominently spoken in the Stone Age, but I often myself disconnected from the storyline.
Players will learn the basics of weapon crafting and tracking until you need to start building your own village. Every time you capture a settlement or outpost, your tribe continues to grows, which will allow you to obtain new upgrades, or new items for your weapon arsenal. Once I claimed most of the outposts in the game, the enemy threat was reduced allowing me to focus on the task at hand. Rival tribal encounters help mix-up the experience, but aren’t a critical threat. The only time the CPU is a threat is when you’re raiding an outpost where you’re outmanned, and can easily be overpowered.
Part of the fun of the Far Cry series is manipulating your surroundings, and unleash a chaos in your nearby surroundings. Wolves, bears, and bears are much, much hard to take down due to it being set in the prehistoric times. You’re not an overpowered manic who has unlimited ammo at your dispense. You only have the tools to harvest, and collected from animals, which dramatically shape how you approach a fight.
If you die in the middle of a outpost raid, you lose all the resources you gathered, and spent. In the beginning players will have to decide what outposts they want to attack, and how they approach them. Do you go in specializing in using the bow, and arrow, or summon the strength of colossus by meleeing everyone. Whatever way you decide you’re rewarded for your actions, never pinned to one game design.
Part of the Primal’s problem is that it doesn’t have enough content
You’re never alone in a battle thanks to the Beast Master ability. Far Cry Primal beast taming mechanic lets you call upon some the game’s predators to help you raid outposts. Beasts help chase down animal prey, and take down groups of enemies. As I progressed I found myself setting traps in order to tame some of the best beasts. If done successfully, you can ride a bear throughout the jungle, and use it as diversion when attacking a outpost. However some times the animals get stuck, or can’t navigate the environment, but this didn’t happen too often.
Just like Far Cry 3 and 4, Far Cry Primal is a graphical and sound showcase on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Every mountainous terrain is greenery and doesn’t get stale to look at. With that said, there isn’t much to do besides hunt. While there are hundreds of side quests to do, they’re mostly fetch, and escort quests that get old, real fast. The map size is also smaller than the last two installments in the series, which in tern means that as soon as you finish vanquishing outposts there is nothing left to do.
While Blood Dragon was great, it was undeniably short and repetitive. Part of the Primal‘s problem is that it doesn’t have enough content to stretch to make it an active gameplay environment. it would have been better suited to cut down on the filler content, to allow the best parts to be showcased.
With that said Far Cry Primal biggest downfall is that doesn’t commit to one idea. It often presents new gameplay mechanics, but without any depth. The game embraces its idealism of nature vs. Mankind. By preceding into the winter hills, Far Cry Primal weather systems are turned against you, forcing you to choose your path quickly, or be left out freezing to death. However this concept is diminished by in-game economy, which allows players to obtain consumables likes medicine.
Part of its problem is it makes the player feel in control at all times. The game doesn’t know if it wants to be a realistic open world simulator, or be a playground designed to constantly reward players at every turn. Because it tries to execute in both areas, the title has no sense of direction in what trying to succeed at. For that reason, Far Cry Primal becomes more like a short sightseeing tour that you quickly forget afterward. Ubisoft did a great job in presenting a fun stone age to walk around in, but sadly, the series’ formula is starting to get similar, and tiresome.