You walk through the forest, the light on your torch dwindling, flickering, before being snuffed out by the cold night air. You hear a rustle in the bushes and see pairs of glowing eyes in front of you, slowly creeping out of the thicket as you hastily equip your trusty spear, ready to take on whatever beast dares approach you, Takkar, the Beast Master. And then, with no warning, you’re viciously mauled from behind by a sabretooth tiger.
Far Cry Primal is just that; primal. If you’ve played any of the Far Cry games before, you’ll be pleased by the familiar game mechanics, but also awestruck at the beauty and brutality of this open world caveman first person shooter/basher. One moment, you stand at the top of a waterfall overlooking the vast pre-historic world of Oros that’s teeming with high mountains and beautiful oases, and the next you’re lobbing vases full of angry bees into hordes of cannibalistic cavemen who are intent on gnawing on your bones, while simultaneously running for your life from a herd of wooly mammoths that you lit on fire with your flaming bow and arrow. Needless to say, it’s an action oriented game.
Your task in the game is a simple one: reunite your tribe, the Wenja, after they were decimated by a barbaric, hulking brute named Ull. And in staying true to the spirit of every Farcry game, your penultimate goal is only achieved by spearing, clubbing, shooting and burning anything that gets in your way. Okay, maybe not so simple, but you’re aided by a cast of eccentric tribesmen who offer their unique skills in crafting, hunting and resource gathering in exchange for getting free room and board in your straw hut village.
The skill and upgrade system remains largely the same as the previous installments of the game. You accumulate experience points by completing quests and subsequently use them to make yourself a more efficient hunter of AI characters. A notable addition to the game is your ability to tame animals and subject them to your bidding, which can range from gathering resources to demanding your honey badger to valiantly battle a wooly rhino. But invest enough points in the skill tree and you’ll be able to tame apex predators like bears and of course, saber tooth tigers. Forget about fighting the cannibals yourself; it’s often more fun to light your pet on fire and send him on a rampage in the severely undermanned outposts you have to conquer for your tribe. Oh, and you can also ride bears, tigers and mammoths into battle, so if that’s not enough of an incentive to play this game then go ahead and smash your console…seriously.
Despite leaning more towards the action genre, this game manages to still incorporate some RPG elements that are essential to the franchise. A major change in this game is the emphasis that is put on resource gathering. There’s no money in this game, and even if there was we all know cavemen wouldn’t have wallets to carry it around in. Instead, you have to spend your time collecting sticks, stones and animal hide to make all your weapons and upgrade your village. As you get stronger, so do the enemies and they become vastly more present, making sure that each fight leaves your character peppered with wounds, and the ground strewn with more and more bodies of those nasty, cannibalistic Udam scum.
I could prattle on and on about how cool this game is but until you’ve felt the catharsis of sending a hairy cannibal soaring off a jagged precipice after impaling him with a graceful toss of your spear from thirty paces, you can’t grasp the magical experience that is Farcry Primal.