By Michael Zacharowicz
Note: This review, nor my gameplay, was sponsored by anyone (just in case someone complains about it).
2015 was filled with amazing titles branching across multiple genres; Just Cause 3, Black Ops 3, Mad Max, Undertale, and Fallout 4 to name a few. You name it, there is probably a game for it [except rail shooters, because “who plays rail shooters?” (MatPat, Game Theory)]. 2016 is only two months old, but great video games are still to come. Far Cry Primal is a perfect example of one.
Recently, I was granted early access to Far Cry Primal. The game, starring Takkar (a hunter from the Wenja tribe), is set in the later ice age in a fictional valley located somewhere in alpine Europe. He is the lone survivor of an ambush on his group, and he’s stuck in the Oros Valley. After drinking some blood (and going on a drug trip of sorts), he develops an ability to tame animals. This is key, for he can tame saber-tooth tigers and wolves among other beasts and creatures. He has a pet owl, who, as the equivalent of a pair of binoculars, can scout enemy areas.
The gameplay is slightly frustrating, up until you can craft better gear. Repetitively tossing bait to tame an animal will get annoying quickly, but the animal’s aide is worth it. In the case of the saber-tooth, the tiger provides for a means of transportation. This needs to be featured in more games (Shadow of Mordor came the closest, with riding wolf-like Caragors).
Fighting is pretty standard, but feels rewarding when a simple whistle summons a bear hiding behind a corner. The story is slightly predictable, (I haven’t finished, but I think I know how it’s going to end) yet it still manages to feel different – enough to be liked. The setting is absolutely beautiful, with great redwoods, high mountains and swamps. Oros feels like a much larger area than it actually is, thanks to the level of detail Ubisoft put in.
Human-animal interactions vary a lot throughout the game. There are deer hiding in the woods that may be startled at any moment, causing them to flee in panic. The bears may appear out of nowhere, creating a great threat to the lone hunter. As one approaches a gorge, a group of woolly mammoths may be grazing, sparking new hunts. That said, hunts are fantastically thought out. Sneaking up with your Assassin’s Creed like vision, you can spot everything. Your companion owl can also be used to fly around the area, finding a previously unthought-of area of attack.
I highly recommend this to Far Cry fans and Ubisoft fans alike; players will feel at home in the forests and mountains with the stunning level of detail. If this would mark your first Far Cry game played, or even Ubisoft game played, it is still worth it. If you can only take one thing from the game, take the beast-mastery.