Review: Far Cry: Primal

Far Cry: Primal, the fourth iteration of the Far Cry series, brings a fresh new take on the old formula. Instead of taking place on a remote island or sections of the world, it takes place in 10,000 BC (sorry Young Earth Creationists!) and you play as a character named Takkar, a member of the Wenja tribe, who’s aim is to retake the land of Oros for his people.

We’ll split this up to two parts: the overall review of the game and my own personal reflections, good and bad.

Overall Review

While it stills feels like a Far Cry game at its core mechanics, this prehistoric take on the series feels surprisingly authentic and comfortable. As the first full game attempting to take on a new world, Far Cry: Primal does an excellent job of engulfing the audience in a wild, untamed land with giant and sometimes vicious creatures.

The game uses a limited selections of weapons to continue this pre-technology world, and that actually adds to the game’s success. These few options make the player use what’s available to them, specifically a club, spear, bow, and selection of different bombs, to conquer everything from sabertooth tigers to a collection of other tribes.

The world of Oros is astoundingly pretty, and the best part about it is that it works. While several other open world games have their glitchy moments and pesky load screens, Far Cry: Primal actually manages to keep the whole game functional and the load times fairly short. This keeps the experience of the game fluid and maintains the atmosphere of the world as to not break the experience.

The expansive skill tree and upgrade system is enough to keep things fresh and interesting as you progress through the game. That being said, some of the skills feel like they should have just been regular additions to the game, instead of “rewards” to get for playing the game. The upgrades on the other hand actually do add depth to the game and reward you for going on treasure hunts for an enormous amount of rare materials.

This is where the game falls short. The story line isn’t anything spectacular, with all of the characters being too strange to relate to on a personal level. This means that the majority of the game is spent doing side quests and hunts for materials. The issue with this is that it gets extremely repetitive, with each of the side quests following a near identical path, with minor adjustments to the amount or type of enemies involved.

Finally, the achievement/trophy system leaves something to be desired. The game doesn’t require you to get all of the collectables, tame all of the animals, complete all of the side quests, or discover all of the unknown locations. It only requires a certain percentage of each of these things, meaning that there’s no real motivation for completing the entire map, other than curing any OCD that you may be feeling.

Personal Reflections

Let’s be positive and start with the good things the game does. The game feels authentic and fresh, and it does it very well. Unlike say, ARK, Primal does an effective job of making you feel apart of this prehistoric world without completely overwhelming you. While the world is “Far Cry” big, it doesn’t feel so enormous that getting around is a problem. I actually found that walking around didn’t feel like it took nearly as much time as it looked like it would.

In addition to these, the limited selection of weapons is a pleasant surprise for the series. While the other Far Cry games seem to give you any option you want to fight your enemies, this game gives you a few to pick from and tells you to master them. And it works for it. While I started at the beginning missing my spear throws, I was making 50 yard ones by the end. The game trains you to master the materials in the world instead of giving you any option you can think of.

The overall problem with Far Cry games in my opinion is the “create your own adventure/story” concept that preach as though it were a blessing rather than a curse. This explains why each of their games tend to have pretty lack luster stories and rely more on the player’s ability to resist getting tired of the world and “make a story for themselves”. This is the game’s real flaw: it’s trying to have Grand Theft Auto replay-ability instead of focusing on a story that impacts the player.

Don’t get me wrong, the game itself has great mechanics, a beautiful world, and a simple structure that makes the player get extremely good at what they do. But there’s a level of me that wants to say “bullshit” to building my own story rather than a company hiring quality writers to make me not just love the world, but appreciate the characters as well.

Let’s end on my hate-list. The game has broken moments, and yes I know that all games do. But here’s the problem. Two of the achievement/trophies in the game can’t be achieved because of glitches that prevent them from being completed. There (for some godforsaken reason) is a level cap that prevents all the skills from being unlocked, and the legendary wolf hunt can’t be finished because, while the first two wolves are supposed to die, the third one should stay alive to be tamed. This of course doesn’t happen. Something strange also occurs any time I try to heal my tamed bear. For some reason the hit box to heal doesn’t register with its size, which was especially frustrating during settlement attacks. And finally, while the grappling hook is a helpful addition to the game and works about 75% of the time, the other 25% it decides not to connect or glitches out and randomly pulls you back up. This may seem insignificant, but after the hundredth time, it’s enough to drive you crazy.

Final Assessment

Play the game. It’s fun and unique and a fresh take on the series. Just don’t go in with expectations of it being an incredible story or a flawless system. But there’s something gratifying about petting a sabertooth tiger I tamed before sending it into a base to maul my enemies. And Ubisoft, fix your game’s problems and don’t short change your achievement list. If you have 100 collectables, tell me to get all of them, not just a percentage.

Final Time: 23h 46m

Final Grade: 7.5/10

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