Far Cry Primal
It's time to go back to the Stone Age with the latest title from the Far Cry Series, Far Cry Primal. Here is our official review of the new Ubisoft game!
In Far Cry Primal, you play as Takkar, a member of the Wenja tribe. A long time ago the Wenja moved to a promised land called Oros. Oros is rich in wildlife, life saving vegetation, and resources for building weapons and shelter. It was the perfect place for the Wenja to call home. That is, until the Udam and the Izila tribes showed up. These tribes began destroying the Wenja’s homes and taking them prisoner. With each victory over the Wenja, the Izila and Udam dominion over Oros grew. When Takkar first appears, he knows nothing of this. He’s just trying to escape a hungry Sabretooth Tiger. It isn’t until he meets Sayla that he realizes his true purpose; unite the remaining Wenja and take back Oros.
Far Cry Primal takes place in the year 10,000 BC. An era where man wasn’t yet on top of the food chain. Instead beasts still ruled the land; while man was fighting for survival. That isn’t to say that anyone is weak. On the contrary, Takkar, his companions, and his enemies are quite formidable against the wildlife and each other. However, this is a time when Sabretooth Tigers, Mammoths, Wolves, and even Badgers took what they want, not fearing any puny human.
Oros is the perfect setting for this stone age story. Remember in history class when your history teacher told you about Pangea? Think of Oros as a somewhat smaller version of that supercontinent. For example, you can start in the west; where it is lush and green; go a few miles North and now you’re in a frozen tundra trying to keep yourself warm. Ubisoft did a really awesome job in making this massive open world landscape.
At one point, I had been playing for about 7 hours, thinking I had gone through most of the map only to find out that there is a whole other half to Oros I hadn’t seen yet. Take into account how many caves and underwater mysteries are waiting to be explored, and Far Cry Primal is as massive as it is beautiful. The Far Cry Series has always had a reputation for making upper echelon gaming experiences with their graphics. Primal is no different as every tree, river, animal, and snowy mountain is very pleasing to the eyes.
What's also very pleasing to the eyes is getting to ride a freaking mammoth! How many games do you get to ride a Mammoth or a Bear or even a Sabretooth Tiger into battle?! There aren’t many but Far Cry Primal is one of them. I can’t tell you how irrationally excited I was to cause maximum destruction on the back of a giant woolly mammoth. Even riding around on a bear or sabretooth tiger was pretty fun. Not nearly as fun as the mammoth but it was still cool. I’m not even talking about personal preference, either.
When you’re in battle on the back of a mammoth you are pretty much indestructible and you destroy everyone. When you’re riding anything else, it’s almost not worth it to take them into battle. The fighting controls on the bear and sabretooth get clunky, in a fight. They’re still fun to ride but it’s definitely better to let them fight on their own; while you sneak around back and cause brutal takedowns.
The combat does have its challenges. It’s fun getting to pummel people with a club or skewer them with a spear. However, you’re constantly having to craft new weapons or light them on fire using a wheel menu. After a while it can get a little cumbersome, especially if you’re in the middle of close combat and all you have left is two arrows. You then have to stop, craft, then fight. Enemies don’t stop when you have this wheel up, either. They just move really slowly. The lesson here is to always be prepared. This is just minor complaint to an overall bigger one.
After you fight and win against the Udam and the Izila, you can’t take their weapons! Sayla does at one point but you can’t! That really confuses me as the whole point of this game is survival in the middle of the stone age. I’m pretty sure a caveman wouldn’t have looked at their enemies spear and thought, “You know, I don’t like it. I’m going to leave this here.” No, instead they’d think, “I’m going to take this so I can use it against more enemies.” That would really tie the whole game together with crafting more weapons only being used as a last resort. Which, that last resort would happen often as weapons don’t have much longevity.
Another important element in Far Cry Primal is hunting. Whether its for food, tracking a person, or finding your next beast companion, hunting is very important. Primal uses a hunting mode where the world turns gray and only yellow and red highlights guide you to your prey. It’s a very handy tool to use. However, it only lasts for like seven seconds. It starts to become annoying to have to constantly hit the button every time you’re tracking. Don’t get me wrong, hunting is tremendously fun and you get invaluable beast companions out of it but I started hating to have to use the hunting mode. Mainly because I knew it I’d be constantly pressing a button that should only be pressed once to turn on and off.
Social interactions are a focal point in Primal. They progress the story, grow your tribe, and help you gain more resources. In fact, you can’t even gain certain skills like riding animals without these social interactions. You’ll find that a lot of these characters have a ton of personality, despite the fact that it’s in a completely foreign language. I marvelled at how Ubisoft could make up a language, unknown to most of us, but still have that emotion behind the words so that you could understand what was going on and how they were feeling.
Obviously, there are subtitles but the emotion is still there. Plus, the social interaction brings on a more supernatural facet to the game as there is a Shaman who will transport Takkar to fantastic places to help you commune with animals and learn more about the enemies you’re facing.
Despite some of its issues, Far Cry Primal is addictive and entertaining. The side game of collecting each different animal species had me exploring Oros for hours. Plus, the prospect of helping the Wenja grow their territory through mini missions featuring stealth and surprise had me hooked. I found myself saying, “Ok this is the last mission I’m doing today, ok maybe one more.” This went on for about an hour after I should’ve stopped playing. I haven’t been this addicted to a game in a while and I’m grateful for it. You should definitely check out Far Cry Primal’s massive world, if only for the chance to fight atop a woolly mammoth or grizzly bear. I’m pretty sure you’ll get hooked to the story long before you get to that point.