Developed Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft Entertainment ‘The award-winning Far Cry franchise returns in the Stone Age, a time of danger and adventure, when humanity is struggling to survive. Conquer this innovative open world with breathtaking environments and unpredictable savage encounters.’
Far Cry Primal is set in 10,000 BC, there’s no guns or vehicles just good old primitive weapons and prehistoric animals. You play as Takkar, a member of the Wenja tribe. Who suddenly finds himself alone, and your task is to re-build the tribe whilst surviving in the wilderness of the land of Oros. As always, it’s not all plain sailing, not only do you have to survive against the packs of Dholes, Wolves and Sabretooth Tigers (to name a few). But, there’s also two very hostile rival tribes to contend with too. The Udam and the Izila. These play a large part in the storyline of Far Cry Primal.
While the gameplay is very much the same as that of Ubisoft’s previous Far Cry, Far Cry 4. the story is a little loose mainly due to the fact that there’s not much direction from the get go, and you’re pretty much left to get on with whatever you want. You’ll find yourself visiting the map screen often to see what’s available mission wise which are denoted by icons with NPC faces in them. As in the previous game, there’s a lot more to do than just story missions. There’s Outposts and camps to take over, and these double as fast travel points, which is handy as traversing Far Cry Primal huge map would become very tedious with the absence of vehicles to get around.
There’s also a whole bunch of side missions and these vary vastly from exploring caves, helping out on tribe hunts, tribe clashes and search and rescue missions. Not forgetting the random events that pop up from time to time and usually involve some form of protecting your tribe members that are out and about in the world. Beast hunts also become available after progressing so far in to the game, these set you out on a mission to track down legendary beasts like the Bloodfang sabretooth Tiger, these beasts come with a health bar that you have to whittle away at until they are defeated and become tamable.
Taming is one of the new features in Far Cry Primal and gives the player a companion to have while roaming the land of Oros, they become very affective at keeping away the likes of wolves, that would normally attack you on sight but usually turn and run at the sight of your favoured pet by your side. There’s also something quite satisfying about hiding in a bush watching over a group of Udam tribe members and commanding your beast to brutally attack them…
All of the crafting in Far Cry Primal is, as mentioned before pretty much the same as in Far Cry 4. Although there seems to be more sense in skinning animals this time around, most likely due to the game’s setting. There are some items that can only be crafted after reaching certain parts in the game. Namely getting certain characters to join your tribe. This ultimately restricts players from reaching certain areas on the map from the get go, for example, you will need a grappling hook to scale some of the terrain which can only be crafted after meeting Wogah. This has both positive and negative effects to it, the negative would be that, some players are quite happy to play without ever touching the story and may feel that they are forced into playing so they can access all areas of the map. while on the positive side these sorts of unlocks act as rewards for the player for progressing in the story.
The game as expected features a day and night cycle, but has a whole different feeling in Primal. At night there’s a definite change in animal behaviour,for example Wolves seem to be more active during this time. The visuals change up too from the warm glow of Oros throughout the day, to very cold and dark looking nights, with the inclusion of ‘eye shine’ from animals. There’s something very sinister about rounding a corner to be met by the chilling glow of eyes from a pack of wolves or even worse a lone bear. Staring straight at you ready to pounce.
Combat features heavily of course, with the bow being the stand out weapon. There’s also clubs of various forms, but these feel a little cheap to use. You will have to use them to fight some of the larger enemies that like to clad themselves with bone armour, which arrows simply bounce off of. But once you find that these enemies are generally slower than you, you can quite literally run circles round them swinging away until they drop dead. There’s throwable ‘grenades’ too if you will, that either explode into clouds of bees that sting everything in their path to death, or gas bombs that emit a very poisonous green smoke. But after playing for some time the ‘bow and beast’ combination seems the most practical and favourable.
A new addition to the game is the Wenja village, this plays part in the story and is where all the characters you meet end up (if you’re not killing them of course). And is where you will further your story lines with them. There is an upgrade system in which you will use some of the resources you have gathered to upgrade huts, which in return will reward players with XP, and other upgrades. You can also increase the population of the village by successfully completing the random events mentioned above. This in turn will reward the player with permanent bonus resources that replenish on a daily basis. But on the whole this mechanic feels like it is lacking, and could have been implemented to better involve the player.
Visually Far Cry Primal is just stunning, very intricate and detailed from the landscape down to the smallest animals, even the outfits and scars on tribe members are highly detailed. It’s just overall very pleasing to the eyes. The surroundings are also alive with all kinds of noises from the variety of animal noises, echoes of tribe members and rival tribes shouting in the distance. Even the dialogue is impressive with it’s own made up language spoken by all characters throughout the game.