Nath sometimes reviews games for us. This is one of those times. He’s been playing Far Cry Primal on the Xbox One.
So the franchise that really doesn’t know what it is releases a new game that isn’t connected to any of the previous games whatsoever. The first game had an ex special forces agent trying to rescue a journalist, the second is tracking down a mercenary in Africa who has turned two fighting factions against each other, the third is where a tourist is abducted by pirates but escapes and tries to rescue his friends and the fourth is where you try and overthrow a self appointed king in the Himalayas. These are just the main games, there are many spin-offs as well, with Far Cry Primal being the latest of these from Ubisoft Montreal. Is it still just another mediocre game in a mediocre series, or is it something completely unique in it’s own world? Please note this review may contain spoilers.
You play a hunter called Takkar, who is part of a tribe of humans called Wenja, a tribe that is dying out in the world due to the oppression of the cannibalistic Udam tribe and the pyromaniacs of the Izila tribe. Your main goal is to rescue your tribe, set up a camp/village and allow your tribe to prosper. Very simple premise to begin with and a fairly valiant quest seeing as you are tribe looking to survive instead of eating each other or setting fire to everything.
You arrive in the valley of Oros, a new land where many animals lives and exotic plants grow, after being chased down by a sabre-tooth tiger. You meet a gatherer who attempts to help you set up a safe place for the Wenja tribe, but along the way you meet a lot of interesting and colourful characters, including one guy who pisses on you and thereafter refers to you as “Piss face”. Each character can allow you to learn new skills, craft new weapons or look for certain resources, plants or animals.
The world is a mixture of rivers, grassy plains, forests, caves and snowy areas. It is a sandbox-style game, where you can explore the world Oros and it’s many beasts, as well as performing small side-quests along your journey. It isn’t as big as Fallout 4, but you still have a lot to explore.
The gameplay is brilliant. The variety of weapons is fairly small, mainly limited to clubs, bows and spears, but also including throwing shards, bait bags and sting bags (basically mini bee hives). My particular favourite is the spear, mainly because you can just poke things constantly or if you have a keen eye, can throw from a long distance and cause some serious damage. One of my favourite skills is the beast master ability, where you can tame some of the wild animals of Oros. Of course, you don’t really want to tame a deer, they aren’t going to do much, but having a sabre-tooth tiger as your wingman has some excellent advantages. Apparently the badger is supposedly a handy sidekick too, I’ll let you know if I find one. (Editor’s note – Nath did find one. Apparently it took out a Mammoth)
The storyline is pretty decent, nothing too complicated, just making sure your tribe survives. There are a lot of side-quests and it is easy to get distracted from the main plot. However, like Fallout 4, the side-quests can ultimately make you overpowered for the main quest, but who cares if you have a bear as your backup instead of a jaguar?
There some drawbacks however. The game does rely on you creating weapons and ammo using the crafting method which means you do have to do a fair amount of foraging. It’s not too bad I guess, but if you want that particular bow, you sometimes have to skip to the other side of the map to obtain the resources instead of the area you wanted to be in. However, you can skip this by sleeping which allows your daily resources to become available from all the hunters and gatherers in your village.
The weapon wheel can be a bit complicated too. There’s quite a few things you have to do to select the weapons you want. For example if I want my short bow, it’s LB, followed by the left stick to highlight the bow, then left/right to select the bow I want. What makes it worse is that the gameplay doesn’t pause. You can see the pack of wolves surrounding you whilst you’re trying to get your best club out.
In the end the game is breath of fresh air in a video game landscape populated by guns and ammo. It is nice to see something different for a change that isn’t a Call of Duty: Something, or Assassin’s Creed: Something, or FIFA 20 or whatever number it is on now. I’d give Far Cry Primal 8 spears to the face out of 10. It will almost certainly will be in my top 5 games of the year I think, but probably won’t make number one (unless Doom turns out to be a complete disappointment)