2016 is looking to be quite the year for caveman-esque action-adventure RPGs. Not only do we have Guerrilla Games’ post-apocalyptic Horizon Zero Dawn to look forward to, but with Ubisoft Montreal’s upcoming Far Cry: Primal to be released later this month, we can expect another game with the Stone Age aesthetic. Primal is one of the years most anticipated thus far, but it remains to be seen whether the title will be a gameplay gem or will end up leaving us at rock bottom.
It’s definitely an interesting direction to take Far Cry; the series has always been known for its unique blend of first person shooter tactics and open ended exploration. In fact, the original Far Cry played a massive role in establishing the open world shooter as a mainstream genre and for many it’s always been a game about explosions, guns and more explosions. However 12,000 years ago, the ideals of marksmanship were far from refined, and the closest thing to artificial explosions was the discovery of fire. The fact that Far Cry: Primal is set at the height of the Mesolithic period, in 10,000 BC, means that there will be no guns and no explosions, no modern tech of any kind – certainly, this is a thematic shift for a series that featured private helicopters and modern weaponry in its most recent entry. How Ubisoft decides to compensate for the lack of technology, especially given Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4’s heavy utilisation of vehicles, will prove to be a linchpin with regards to the success of the game. With the latest gameplay clips it appears that a solution as simple as swapping out rideable quadbikes for rideable sabre tooth tigers will be sufficient. However, only time will tell as the game in its current state is set to lose out on the explosion obsessed demographic that took such a liking to previous entries in the series.
“This is a thematic shift for a series that usually features private helicopters and modern weaponry”
All this being said, the game still appears to capture the essence of Far Cry. Narrative director, Jean-Sebastien Decent, stated that all games in the series are “about survival at first, and then about going from being the hunted to the hunter”. In this sense, Primal, does have massive potential. In being set at a time when man was not at the top of the food chain, survival and hunting will presumably take up the majority of the player’s time as you do battle with the forces of nature. Truly, survival will be a constant struggle which is reemphasised through the game’s protagonist, Takkar, who is the sole surviving member of his hunting party. Also, other staple mechanics of the series such as crafting and outposts, may well translate effectively into the new game. Crafting in particular will not only add to the realism of the game, given that all the tools used by Stone Age were hand crafted, but will also create a real sense of progression for players. Outposts too, could be adapted effectively for Primal. In previous games, outposts were enemy bases located across the game world that controlled the local enemy presence. Killing every enemy in an outpost allowed the player to capture it. In Far Cry: Primal; the basic concept may well remain the same, but instead of enemy military factions, the player will be competing for territory against hostile rival tribes, gaining territory by capturing various tribal camps.
The area in which the game is set as well, Oros, which appears similar in scope to Far Cry 4’s vast and rich setting of Kyrat, seems in tune with the open ended exploration for which the series is so well known. The game world appears truly massive. As a matter offact, watching the trailer for Far Cry: Primal and seeing the various terrains the player has to traverse; mountains, forests and wide open grassy plains, I was strongly reminded of my journeys through Tamriel in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a game I have literally spentcountless hours enjoying. Both games even allow you to hunt mammoths! That in turn, got me thinking how much fun I had travelling across Skyrim and how few private helicopters it took to do it. Now obviously, Far Cry: Primal will be no Elder Scrolls game, but if you’re biggest issue with the game is that there’s no fancy guns or large explosions to look forward to, then you may be better suited to such mindless experience as Call Of Duty.
Far Cry Primal is set to release on February 23rd 2016 for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.