FarCry Primal Review (Xbox One)

Let me tell you of Takkar…

FarCry Primal, the 10th installment in the FarCry series, dFar_Cry_Primal_cover_arteveloped by Ubisoft Montreal, places gamers in the Land of Oros, in 10,000 BC, at the end of the last ice age.  We assume control of Takkar, the game’s protagonist and warrior of the Wenja tribe.  Primal opens with Takkar and a group of hunters journeying to Oros, and preying on a herd of Woolly Mammoths.  Group member Tensay provides background to Takkar on the Wenja people.  The flesh-eating Udam tribe, and masters of fire; the Izila tribe, have brought darkness to Oros.  UII of the Udam has destroyed the Wenja village, scattering the Wenja throughout Oros.

While on the hunt, Takkar’s group is attacked by a Sabre-toothed Tiger, causing the group to flee. Tensay and Takkar are cornered and forced over the edge of a cliff.  Takkar survives the fall.  Tensay is not so lucky.  Tensay spends his final few breaths pleading with Takkar to continue to Oros to find members of the Wenja tribe, rebuild the Wenja village, and bring light back to the Land of Oros.

FarCry Primal is a first-person action-rpg set in an incredibly vibrant environment.  While it follows the mechanics of most open-world action-RPGs, setting apart FarCry Primal from other games within the genre is the rich experience of navigating its primitive world.  Ubisoft’s ambition is splendidly executed.  You will trek through photo4mountainous peaks and grassy valleys.  You will search through treacherous caverns, hunt along rivers and lakes, leap over waterfalls and endure the elements while attempting to survive nature’s primal gauntlet of predators and tribal warriors.

Main missions task Takkar with seeking out lost Wenja, each with unique skills or abilities to enhance the Wenja village.  Complete objectives to bring each tribe member back to the Wenja village.  Each objective allows Takkar to build huts for those he has saved, unlocking new skills, abilities, weapons, and resources along the way.  Players improve Takkar through a standard skill-tree, with each tribesman representing a set of unlockable skills and abilities; hunting, gathering, crafting, and beast-master (taming the predators found in Oros for cooperation) abilities are amongst the categories used to enhance Takkar on his journey.  Looting is a big part of the experience.  Gathering resources from deceased warriors, skinning beasts for food and crafting purposes, grabbing plants, clay, and rock from the land are consistent parts of the action and vital to giving Takkar the necessary skills to progress through the entire game.

photo6The most unique element of FarCry Primal is the ability to tame beasts.  Upon unlocking Takkar’s beast-master ability, players can distract beasts with bait, sneak up on them and through holding the X button can perform the tame action.  This allows Takkar to be in control of the animal as it hunts alongside you, protecting you from other predators.  There are varying degrees of predator ferocity, ranging from Dholes, Badgers, and Lions, to Bears, Jaguars, Panthers, and even the mighty Sabre-toothed Tiger.  Takkar can also learn the ability to ride atop a Woolly Mammoth, making for some awesome stampedes through rival villages.

Takkar can instruct his companion to attack rival tribesman or other beasts while maintaining cover, giving the game an element of strategy and espionage.  Takkar can even learn the ability to summon an Owl to scout areas ahead, placing markers to track enemy tribesman or attacking them without triggering suspicion of Takkar’s presence.  The animal interplay in FarCry Primal is an engaging element.  Watching a Sabre-toothed Tiger duel to the death with a Mammoth that has been isolated from his herd is quite awesome.  

Don’t worry if your Tiger isn’t up to task; if your tamed beast is killed they can be both revived or summoned again.  Once you have tamed a beast you can summon them again if you have thephoto5 necessary resources in your inventory; such as the rare plants found throughout Oros.  As long as you maintain a focus on looting all of the resources you see around you as you complete objectives, you shouldn’t find yourself without the necessary resources to enjoy all of the game’s mechanics.  I didn’t run out of what I needed at all throughout my play-through.

Takkar has plenty of weapons of his own at his disposable.  He uses clubs, bows, spears, firebombs, sting-bombs (a hive of bees that swarms and kills tribesman in it’s vicinity), and berserker bombs (throw this to turn an flesh-eating Udam against his own people).  Secondary weapons include projectile shards, traps for larger predators and a sling.  Takkar is also equipped with a grappling claw to ascend to hard-to-reach peaks throughout Oros.  Each weapon can be enhanced with fire if you have the necessary resources. If at long-range; shoot an enemy tribesman with a flamed-arrow for extensive damage.

There are numerous dynamics found in FarCry Primal that make the game continuously engaging and versatile.  The Wenja, Izila, and Udam all speak in unique dialects and are dressed in unique gear with distinguishable face-paint and mannerisms.  

Primal’s dynamic time makes the experience very different depending on whether it is day or night.  During the day you may see a herd of Mammoths peacefully drinking from a waterhole, or deer galloping through the hilly Oros landscape.  At night, apex predators lurk in darkness.  Packs of wolves prey on Takkar, and can even be seen in the distance pack-hunting rival tribe members.  The night is aptly far more dangerous for Takkar, though various camps scattered throughout Oros allow Takkar to rest until the light returns.

Though I don’t typically play many first-person games, (this was also my first experience with a FarCry game), I thought the first-person perspective was perfect for Primal.  The in-your-face cut-scenes with exchanges of dialogue showcase the fantastic detail of each character.  Their body language and dialects bring a very unique visual experience to the game.  You must tread carefully at night, as predators may ambush you from behind, a situation far more suited to first-person view. The perspective adds to the overall experience of the game.

photo1Aside from the game’s main objectives, there are numerous side-missions and location-based events to help Takkar unlock the entirety of his skill-tree.  You can unlock the majority of Takkar’s skills through the main objectives and through collecting animal skins as you travel throughout Oros, but the secondary objectives give the game a good degree of replay-value once you have progressed through the game’s main storyline.  As I played, I focused initially on collecting all of the rare animal skins for crafting, but I could have shaved 10 hours or so from the 40 hours it took me to complete the game had primary missions been my focus.

I did not find FarCry Primal difficult.  The main missions are mostly quick missions, not the lengthy, time-consuming endeavors found in most open-world titles.  I thought this was a smart approach by Ubisoft, as it kept me interested in the game and not bogged down with an eternity of repetitive tasks to complete in order to finish the story.  It is a game any level of gamer, casual to hardcore, can enjoy and complete.  Once I got into the meat of the game I couldn’t put it down, it was an enjoyable experience from the opening cut-scene until the final credits.  I would recommend FarCry Primal to anyone interested in experiencing the primitive Land of Oros.

– All in-game photos and clips were captured on my initial play-through. FarCry Primal was provided by Ubisoft for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed in this review are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Ubisoft.  

– Ryan Kosinski

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