Ubisoft is practiced when it comes to dipping into the pool of history. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon took us back to the '80s, while Assassin's Creed has taken us to just about every other place in time. Far Cry Primal has trumped them all, taking us to the prehistoric era.
When I say prehistory, think 10,000 BC prehistoric! If you've played previous Far Cry games, the game play still has all of the action you've grown to love. While you won't find your usual grenade launchers and mini-guns here (how weird would that be), you will come into arrows, clubs, animals, and whatever else a cave man would use to subdue an enemy. It is most definitely a Far Cry game, but we aren't in Kansas anymore.
Meet Takkar, our savage protagonist cave man from the Wenja tribe. The Wenja have been spintered throughout the magical land known as Oros. As any cave man worth his spear would do, he makes his first priority to not become a midnight snack for the ferocious animals of the land. Solving that, he's off to hunt for his family and the rest of the Wenja tribe.
Speaking of the Wenja tribe, among it's ranks are some pretty interesting characters. One of the tribesman that Takkar encounters is a lunatic of an old man that gives him.. uhh.. special drinks? These potions enable you to begin communicating with animals. Maybe it's best we don't know what the old man put into his concoctions...
Prehistoric bartenders aside, you'll also find yourself crossing paths with a few other tribes. The Udam tribe is one of cannibalistic pursuit. The other tribe, the Izilia, just can't get enough of that warm sparkly fire stuff.
One way that this game sets itself apart from previous installments is the new animal companions. Letting loose some bait and practicing everything you learned from the animal whisperer television show will net you your very own beast master status!
Owls allow you to track high above your foes for better perspective of the land and warning of incoming threats. I almost forgot to mention - these owls can drop bombs. I think I remember something like that on the discovery channel...
Not every beast companion is of the feathered type, of course. You'll find yourself stomping everyone underfoot a mammoth, rending flesh with a sabertooth tiger, and much more.
The Far Cry team deserve huge compliments for their hard work and effort on the visual front! The animal's are gorgeously modeled and animated. Even the most ferocious of beasts are just plain beautiful to look at. Attention to detail is everything - and from the beasts to the rendered landscape of Oros they nailed it.
The art direction follows closely to the thematic one would expect of ancient times - with much of the landscape organically molded with natural features. Beautiful day and night cycles, wonderful weather systems, and top notch lighting effects. Full ecosystems immerse you at every corner. The uniquely fantastic visuals blend together with atmospheric audio to truly pull you into the eyes of Takkar.
Are you bored? Not in this game you’re not! For those looking to pop in and wrest some havok from the game, enemy tribes are littered around ripe for the pillaging. Exploration feels rewarding as well for the adventuring type, with plenty to see and even potential recruits to pick up for the cause.
The only repetition one might find is through the metric truckload of side quests. The saving grace here is that the outcome of each side quest can be different based on what you choose to do - a positive return from the previous Far Cry games.
I believe that different doesn't always mean worse, and Ubisoft has done a fantastic job of putting that hypothesis to the test. Who would have thought an open world shooter for a world 12,000 years ago would've been a good idea for a video game? They've shown us an outstanding wilderness setting, well written story, and fluid action-oriented gameplay. The entire package leads to an incredibly immersive and even more so enjoyable experience.
If you've liked any of the previous Far Cry games, then you will more than likely love Primal. Even if you hadn't played the previous games, you could do far worse than this foray into ancient times. It provided me with everything I wanted, and for that I'm painting my green thumbs up on the cave wall.
If you would like to see gameplay, Ciph3r has been braving the wilds for a few days now. As for me? I have a pup to tame!