Far Cry Primal is the first big surprise of the year. It takes you to a time little explored in video games: the Stone Age - a time when man was not exactly the highest link on the food chain. Nature was against us, and just survive the day was a challenge. It’s a feeling Ubisoft has managed to capture in Far Cry Primal with almost total mastery.
A simple tale of travel
The setup for Far Cry Primal is quite simple. Your tribe has been almost annihilated, and you need to regroup in the land of Oros. Through the games various missions, you will rebuild your village, rescue members of your tribe, earn new powers, and claim your revenge against opposing tribes.
In Far Cry Primal, Ubisoft has managed to combine the best of their action games with environmental survival to really place you in the Stone Age. Here, survival goes beyond avoiding bullets: you must hunt, craft, and build shelter by finding resources across Oros.
And it is a dangerous place: predators, rival tribes, and even weather stand in your way - especially traveling at night. During the darkest hours expect more predators and ambushes as you rely on your ears to guide you.
Far Cry Primal’s setting of the Stone Age permeates even its gameplay. True, it is a first-person action game, but the approach is… original. There are no guns, and to survive you must create your own weapons to stand a chance of defeating or taming the wild animals that stalk you.
As a result, Far Cry Primal’s action is intense but paced. You must be patient when attacking or hunting because you are always prone to attack and ambushes. Pick your moment carefully, and think twice before attacking at night.
Don’t worry though, Ubisoft has given you the vision of a hunter to help – let’s call it a primal "instinct". This highlights elements in the environment in way similar to that seen in Tomb Raider, Assassin's Creed… and almost any other modern open world game. This lets you see tracks and other hints as to the location of enemies and prey, while also intensifying the sounds of the world.
In Far Cry Primal you must also conquer opposing villages to bring new members to your tribe. These grant new powers that help you survive, and that allow you to advance through the story.
The land of Oros is recreated in great detail, with all the different tribes carefully decked out in apparel appropriate to 10,000 BC. The weapons you use, like the club, bow, or spear have all clearly been carefully researched. Expect every spear to be tipped with an era appropriate head.
This detail is also true of the characters and animals. The wolves are so furry you almost want to hug them… except for the teeth… and then there are the trees that move ominously when there is an impending storm.
Finally there is the sound. The tribes of Far Cry Primal speak a primitive dialect, giving more authenticity to the game – but don’t worry it is all subtitled. The ambient sound is also fantastic. No music, only the sound of the world, perfectly sets the scene - especially at night. You will be on constant edge as you listen for the crack of every branch.
Far Cry Primal different kind of action game, and it is excellent
Not since Chuck Rock has there been such a brilliant game set in the Stone Age, and certainly none like Far Cry Primal. From the ambiance to the gameplay, everything here offers something different and fantastic to the current games of this generation.