Review: Far Cry Primal

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Ubisoft’s Far Cry series has progressed in the oddest way possible – by setting the latest instalment in the Mesolithic era in 10,000 years BCE.

Many of the complaints about the last game centred around it being too similar to its predecessor, and although Far Cry Primal doesn’t remedy all of those issues, it does feel more like its own entity. There are not a lot of mechanical changes, but the aura of the prehistoric title is why it deserves two neanderthal thumbs up.

The open-world adventure has very little narrative. Set in the fictional land of Oros, users control Takkar, the appointed leader of the Wenja village. In order to combat rival tribes Udam and Izila, a journey for allies and village residents must take place.

The storyline is peripheral, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this case. Most of the emphasis falls on hunting and gathering animals, dwelling through caves, and exploring the great wilderness. The main campaign missions are exciting and pull from a variety of different objectives, but finding a substantial narrative will only be met with disappointment.

Two aspects of the game that are sure to impress are the visuals and audio. As pretty as – if not prettier than – Far Cry 4, there is not a lot to complain about when discussing the fidelity of the latest instalment. Character models are unique and noteworthy, and the beautiful landscape environment is entirely immersive. Additionally, the crunch of clubs hitting enemies and roar of terrifying animals like mammoths and sabretooth tigers add to the positive experience.

In tandem with the sound effects and score, the voice acting helps to elevate Far Cry Primal into something of substance. Elias Toufeksis (Adam Jensen in Deus Ex series) in particular delivers a stunning performance as Takkar, and gives the character life despite players never actually being able to see him.

The job must have been difficult, as the game features no English dialect. In fact, three languages were created specifically for this title. While most users probably won’t be able to distinguish the differences, it would be ignorant not to commemorate Ubisoft for taking the risk of putting out a strictly subtitle-centric game.

Far Cry Primal doesn’t always take the beaten path, and explores places that most wouldn’t expect it to. Specifically, the weapon system is unique to the series, and in some ways, most shooters. The game gets way of guns – because cavemen obviously didn’t have pistols – and players must utilize combat weapons, bow and arrows, and a few different throwable grenade-like explosives. All weapons, excluding the bee and poison bombs, are flammable and can be lit to add extra damage.

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Another combat mechanic included in the animal-heavy game is a usable owl. Players can call upon the animal ally to isometrically scan an area, and purge unwanted enemies. This feature is likely to be looked over by some, but if utilized correctly, can become a significant combat tool.

In terms of the game’s structure, Far Cry Primal is like others in the series. Completing main and side quests, collecting scattered items, and hunting down wild animals all earn you skill points to spend on the ability chart, which will make it easier to do the previously mentioned things.

While most of the game is positive, it’s also subject to some missed opportunities. Taming animals serves as a decent rush initially – especially the stronger and rarer ones – but the excitement quickly wears off once getting the master beasts (Great Scar Bear, Bloodfang Sabretooth, and Snowblood Wolf). Having an animal companion more often than not ends in distress, as they usually alert enemies and kill your stealth progress.

Far Cry Primal does more right than it does wrong. It won’t go down in video game history as an instant classic, but is something that can be looked back on fondly. The unique time period is sure to set a new trend of prehistoric titles, and allows players to experience an era not often represented in games. Aside from being slight on content, Far Cry Primal is a good in-between game that is worthy of anyone’s time.

For those who like scores…

7.9

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