Far Cry Primal Review
Far Cry games have always impressed me ever since I first played Far Cry Instincts. I really enjoy the savage setting and exotic locations that we get to explore in every installment. For me, Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon stand out as being the most unique in the series. Far Cry 3's mechanics basically set the standards for the way an open world Far Cry game should be. Blood Dragon brought a lot of uniqueness and creativity to the formula. Far Cry 4 was an enjoyable game, but it really felt too similar to Far Cry 3 in many ways and just didn't differentiate itself well enough to make it feel fresh again. Far Cry Primal feels like the true successor to Far Cry 3 and Blood Dragon for me. It's such a solid game with such a high level of immersion that I really feel its the best Far Cry experience to date.
Far Cry Primal opens with a prehistoric setting. The game takes place in 10,000 BC and you get to play as a caveman. The opening to the game introduces you to the overall prehistoric era extremely well and it only gets better from there. You play as Takkar, a member of the Wenja tribe. Along with Sayla and other companions, you build your tribe and defend it from the imposing threat of the Udam and Izila tribes. Far Cry Primal is oozing with atmosphere and introduces players to a fantastic prehistoric setting. The overall look and sound is really good with this title.
Much like other Far Cry games, you gain experience through killing enemies and completing missions and the experience allows you to level up your character. Unlike all other Far Cry games, there are no guns this time. All of your items are custom built out of wood and stone. This really makes the gameplay stand out since you can't just run into an area and shower enemies with bullets then toss a grenade when they seek cover. There are no grenades and there is no true rapid fire weapon. The bow is your main long range weapon and the club and spears are used for close range. The spear can also serve as a mid-range weapon - there is nothing more satisfying than tossing and impaling an enemy in this game. Eventually you'll unlock slings and other sub-weapons such as sharp stones to throw and hornet's nests. Pretty much every weapon in the game is perfect for stealth. The game allows you to choose if you want to approach a situation with or without stealth just like other Far Cry games. You can also light your weapons on fire for extra lighting in caves and to burn enemies and shrubbery.
Far Cry Primal stays true to the tradition of hunting animals to upgrade your gear. Returning animals from Far Cry 4 can be found and there are also some new animals such as a sabertooth tiger, wooly mammoth and great elk. Animals are more of a threat this time since they like to hunt your character and you have to fight them off with spears and arrows. Elephants, rhinos, and badgers are just as much of a threat as they were in Far Cry 4, but this time you have to watch out for the sabertooth tigers and cave lions, which are just as dangerous. You can enter a tracking mode by holding down on the R3 button. This will allow you to pick up the scent trails of animals and see if they are leaving a blood trail. It's pretty cool to shoot an animal with a spear and follow behind it using its blood trail if it runs off. Sometimes animals will die from their wounds as they run off and you can track them up to the point where they die. The game cycles between day and night, and the night changes up the gameplay a bit. You'll have to watch out for wolves that hunt in packs during nighttime. Animals sometimes have weaknesses and special abilities, such as being weak to fire or having the ability to swim after your character once you hop into the water.
Instead of just killing animals, you can tame some of them to get them to fight beside your character. It's much like the past missions in Far Cry 4 where you had a tiger companion. You can tame sabertooth tigers and many other animals and bring them with you to help hunt and kill other animals or kill human enemies. You also get access to an owl companion that can help you survey an area and mark enemies and even attack them once you power up. Animals lose health to enemy attacks and can die if they are damaged badly enough. Giving animals meat will replenish their health or revive them. All tamed animals can be sent away from the menu that is used to summon them.
Far Cry Primal does away with the radio towers from Far Cry 3 and 4. We now have camps with a bonfire that can be lit to mark your territory and give access to fast travel in that area. The game still has enemy outposts that you can invade as well. Fires can be lit at camps for an extra checkpoint. Besides story missions and extra missions, one of the main focuses of the game is to build your tribe through rescuing captive Wenja to increase your population and you will also build your tribe headquarters using loot items that you found around the environment. You'll eventually run into skilled Wenja that return to your headquarters and offer their skills to your character. When you open the upgrade menu, their skills will be listed beside their icon and you can unlock their skills to upgrade your main character.
Story missions have some good variety and there are missions with hallucinations such as the missions that Far Cry 3 started. The hallucination missions in Far Cry Primal match the most out of any Far Cry game since they allow you to experience situations as an animal or another tribe person and feel more like part of the story rather than a person getting stoned and seeing random stuff out of his head like in Far Cry 4. The characters in Far Cry Primal are full of personality. All characters in Far Cry Primal speak an old dialect that is translated on the screen in English. The dialect makes the game all the more immersive.
Overall, the game borrows heavily from Far Cry 3 for its gameplay features, but it also adds in many new features that give it a fresh feel. The overall look of the shrubbery and landscape is fantastic for the most part. I do notice some 2D textures on some bushes every now and then but you really have to stop and look around a lot to find them since most of them are 3D. One argument I have with the environments is the look of the climbable vines that you find throughout the game. It's hard to believe that Ubisoft still uses the same 2D vines textures from the old Far Cry games. You can walk up on a climbable vine wall and easily see that it's paper thin while looking at it from the side.
The overall controls work well, but the game has so very many commands that it's easy to get them mixed up and do something by mistake. It's easy to accidentally pick up a body while trying to go into tracking mode at times of desperation in enemy camps. The most problematic set of controls are controlling the owl or riding an animal. Both of these controls are hard to adjust to and they feel awkward. The owl was hard to control no matter if I set the flying controls to normal or inverted.
Far Cry Primal is a beast of a game when it comes to what all you can do and all the missions and collectibles available in its world. The world map is huge and it feels even bigger while traversing it. There are no vehicles but you can ride on animals once you unlock certain skills, but while starting out, you'll be traveling on foot most of the time. The world is very savage since enemy tribes and aggressive animals are constantly roaming the area so hiding in shrubbery and sneaking by dangerous animals are always a concern. If you're a fan of Far Cry or just first person shooter games and want a fresh experience then I can't recommend Far Cry Primal enough. The game really surprised me with what a fresh take it gives players on the Far Cry 3 formula.
+ Fantastic atmosphere for a prehistoric setting
+ Great overall sound
+ Takes the Far Cry 3 gameplay to a new level
- Animal controls are hard to manage
- Why does Ubisoft keep using the same 2D climbable vines in each Far Cry game?
Final Rating: 92% - Far Cry Primal is such a unique and fresh experience that it just may become your favorite Far Cry game yet.