The year is 10,000BCE and Earth is ruled by primitive tribes and beasts that have long since become extinct. Welcome to the experience that is Ubisoft’s latest installment in the Far Cry franchise, Far Cry Primal. It may be a completely different setting to any Far Cry game before it and you certainly won’t find any high powered weaponry around the place but Far Cry Primal is true to it’s gameplay roots and delivers an experience that seasoned Far Cry players will be used to.
You are, Takkar, a Caveman of the Wenja Tribe. You’re stranded in Oros, a fictional prehistoric valley that would be part of Central Europe. The surrounding world is full of rival cavemen (the Udam) willing to kill you without hesitation and that’s when the plethora of wild animals like Mammoths, Sabre-Tooth Tigers, Bears and Lion’s aren’t trying to kill you. You’ll soon meet other members of the Wenja tribe and before you know it Takkar will be off recruiting new members into the clan, braving the harsh environment and dealing with its many threats all in an attempt to provide security to your tribe.
When it comes to weaponry, the sniper rifles, machine guns and explosives have been traded in for spears, bows and arrows, and the likes of beehives to throw at enemies. Killing a mammoth is going to take a great deal of effort and will take a wee bit of getting used to but once you’ve adapted to the primtive weapons it’s all about thinking about the threat at hand and uses the best resources on hand to take them down quickly. Smaller animals and rival tribesmen can be quickly dealt to with a well aimed spear or arrow to the head. Takkar also has a special hunting ability that can be activated to reveal threats around the environment and also show tracks and blood spatter of animals.
Perhaps Takkar’s greatest ability comes form his ability to tame and eventually ride the beasts of Oros. Taming a beast, once you’ve unlocked the skill is as simple as throwing the wild thing some meat, waiting for it to start eating then approaching and pressing a button. Takkar will then work his magic and next thing you know that beast is yours for life. Having a Sabre-tooth or Mammoth on hand to help out certainly stacks the odds firmly in Takkar’s favour. Having a beast by your side is also a great deterrent as other predators will, in some cases, be scared off at the site of your impressive prehistoric companion. The ability system from Far Cry 4 is largely unchanged, although the skill upgrades take on a much more primitive form.
The radio towers we are used to seeing in Far Cry are back but this time they take the form of bonfire sites. Take out the surrounding tribesman and set the bonfire on fire and you open up that section of the map and abilities like being able to fast travel. There are no vehicles around so travel is entirely on foot or on the back of a tamed beast. With restrictions on how fast one can travel around Oros it means that the map is smaller than some previous Far Cry maps but it makes sense given the setting of the game.
Of course there were no binoculars back in 10,000BCE so early in the story you’ll unlock an owl that you can call upon to survey the land from the sky. Taking control of the owl will allow Takkar to figure out what threats lie ahead, tag them and even make use of the owl to attack from the heavens. Having the owl as the surveyor is a nice touch that adds something a little different to Far Cry and adds another strategic element to the game.
When it comes to the core gameplay this really is Far Cry just in a prehistoric era. You’ll kill a countless amount of animals in order to craft gear and you’ll find plenty of resources around to equip. There are enemies aplenty and even with primitive weapons you’ll be able to efficiently take them down. Just be aware that some of the harder missions will require careful planning and a fully stocked inventory. Having wood, reeds, meat and plants on hand to quickly heal yourself and craft additional arrows and spears is essential to successfully surviving the threats of Oros and there are many, make no mistake about that.
Once again Ubisoft have put together a Far Cry game that looks gorgeous. Far Cry 4 was a stunning backdrop that I still get taken aback by and the team have done a great job tackling the prehistoric land of Oros. The environment has a good sample of enivironments, from Riverbeds and forest, through to large Icy Mountain Ranges, all of them are well textured and detailed.
Far Cry Primal goes where no Far Cry game has dared go before and it goes it well. Changing the setting so drastically could have led to a major change in gameplay but Ubisoft should be commended for sticking with the tried and true Far Cry formula and getting it to work well in a game set some 12,000 years ago.
- Classis Far Cry Gameplay Remains
- Incredibly Detailed World
- Beast Taming Rules
- Map is a bit smaller than we're used too with Far Cry