Far Cry Primal hands-on: A refreshing addition to the series
I just want to keep playing the game
Earlier this week Ubisoft invited me out to Burbank, California to experience the next chapter in the Far Cry series, Far Cry Primal. There’s one thing that was made clear to me during the one and a half hours of gameplay time I had with Primal: Ubisoft has a calculated approach to Far Cry series and that’s a good thing.
Stepping into the Mesolithic world of Oros as Takkar was as familiar as it was alien. Primal felt and played like a Far Cry game, but every comfort from the modern-time set games before it had been stripped away, leaving us with something entirely new. There is no purchasing of gear in Primal, you have to craft every item, be it a weapon, clothing, bomb or accessory. While the demo at the event did not address the game’s plot line, it did show off the world, new skills and how players will grow their tribe and take the land of Oros from the predators (both prey and human alike).
In short, the game is exactly as the title suggests, Primal.
Like with Far Cry 4, Ubisoft has created a giant world for us to roam about in Far Cry Primal. Each region of Oros has its own environment, each populated with various animals, tribes and resources. The environment in Primal affects how you play the game, for example, if you’re in a cold climate a ‘Cold’ bar will appear in the left portion of the screen and slowly tick away if you aren’t wearing the appropriate clothing -- clothing that can only be crafted by skinning rare animals. In about an hour and a half of game time, I only came across one of these animals.
As I was playing, I encountered the cold region without considering that the cold would affect me. Luckily, a developer named Dan gave me a heads up -- brandishing a flaming weapon wards off the cold - as well as potential predators.
If you have played a previous Far Cry game you have experienced the panic associated with casually strolling across a portion of the map, only to be suddenly ripped apart by an alligator. I too know this fear and I got to experience it countless times in Primal, except it wasn’t a death from an alligator (that only happened once) it was mostly due to a badger that I wanted to tame. That’s right, I said tame. In Primal we get the option to tame a number of animals through Beast Mastery - it’s a valuable tool in the progressive world of Oros, one that we will get into later.
Traversing the plains of Oros led me to encounter a number of tribes, some of which painted themselves blue or used poisonous bombs or simply used brute force to keep me away from their territory. It wasn’t their territory for long - each enemy encampment or outpost I encountered, I took over with haste (and ease thanks to my amazing tamed bear.) Within the allotted game time, I took over three outposts and around two side-quests that had me killing various chieftains or members of other tribes.
Each time I took over an outpost, my tribe grew and as they grew I would encounter them throughout Oros hunting and gathering. It wasn’t revealed during the demo how the tribe member’s hunting and gathering would affect me, their chieftain, but it’s easy to imagine that they play a role in crafting resources. Otherwise, there’s no reason to waste the effort on programming them to kill and gather while I’m out expanding our territory.
The map itself opened up as I took outposts. With each outpost a new quest or point of interest would appear on the map - it definitely kept me busy. Completionists won’t be leaving any areas too quickly. On the other hand, it's typical Ubisoft fare, so your mileage may vary.