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Far Cry Primal Review

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Gameplay:

Being set long before even the wheel was invented, Far Cry Primal does break away from the formula established by other games of its genre, and even previous titles in the franchise. The example I want to start with is how the map is revealed. Instead of having to clear outposts and then climb tall towers to do some arbitrary action to reveal the area around you, everything on the map is revealed just by walking by. If you want to see what an area of the map has in store for you, you have to actually travel there and explore a little, instead of going to a specific place to do a specific thing you have probably already done several times before.

There are still outposts to clear, but now you are not forced to do so. Claiming outposts will unlock fast travel locations and increase the Wenja population, which are helpful things to do, but not strictly mandatory. There are also bonfires that are similar to the outposts, but generally less well defended.

As man is still just working with rocks, bones, skins, and sinew your collection of weapons is not as diverse as other games, but is still effective. You have a collection of clubs, bows, and a type of spear, and all of them can be ignited so your enemies can be set ablaze, and picked up after use. Mainly I found myself going around with the normal bow and arrow, trying to pick off enemies with headshots, but the melee clubs are helpful when things get close, and the spear, when thrown, does tremendous damage. Knowing the situation and picking the correct weapon is important.

You will eventually unlock three bows and two clubs (or three if you have the Blood Shasti Club DLC). The normal bow has a good fire rate and does good damage, while the long bow does more damage and will zoom in, but takes longer to fire. The third bow is the double bow, which will fire two arrows at once, but I rarely used it. One arrow worked fine most of the time, and if not I could switch to using a spear. For clubs you get a single and two-handed kind. All of these weapons, except the two special bow types, have upgrades to them. The spear is especially worth upgrading for how much damage it can do.

 

 

You also have some secondary weapons, including animal bait, traps, stone shards for throwing, and a few bombs. I never actually used these traps, and rarely ever used the stone shards, except for the berserk shard. Similarly I only substantially used the berserk bomb, but the bee bomb and fire bomb are both useful. The berserk weapons contain a poison that will eventually kill the afflicted enemies, but until then will turn them against their allies. It is very useful when you are outnumbered.

The animal bait I never used to draw them into battle, but instead to tame the beasts of Oros. After you acquire the necessary skills, you can throw the bait out by an animal, and when it starts eating it, you can come up and tame it. From that point on it will follow you, assist you in fights, and can be directed to attack specific enemies. Some beasts are also large and intimidating enough to scare off untamed animals, so they will not attack you. This I found to be particularly useful, because the animals pose as great a threat to you as any human foe, or are even more dangerous. The most powerful beasts have to be brought down during the great hunt missions, and some of them you get to tame.

The first beast that you master is actually not tamed by bait, but is a mission reward. It is the owl and it becomes very useful. It can be used to scout an outpost, tagging enemies without putting you at risk, and you can also send out your other, tamed beasts to attack these enemies from the owl's point of view. Eventually you will also be able to drop bombs from the owl and have it attack enemies directly. It is entirely possible to clear out an entire outpost, labeled Very Hard, just by using the owl and the tamed beast, but you do need to be strategic about it. By the way, because you are not spotted, this counts as a stealth victory and awards you the appropriate bonus.

 

One more thing I want to mention about the beasts is that several have special abilities, such as revealing the map, being able to attack without alerting other enemies, and being ridable. Riding a sabertooth tiger is both fun and practical as it is significantly faster than you are. You can also ride mammoths, though you cannot tame them, and they are like tanks with how much damage they can take and deal out.

Personally I found the beast system to be very useful, but it does have some frustrating flaws. When going after an animal, especially a large animal like a mammoth, I would send whatever beast I have with me after it first, to draw its attention. This way when I start attacking it, I am not immediately attacked in response. That and if the animal runs off, my beast will give chase and possibly stop it. Also I felt like the beasts provided the only real way to attack an outpost without being detected. Normally I will spot a path to access an enemy outpost and use it to creep up on enemies, killing them before the alarm is set off, but I never really found such a path. Instead I would have to send in the beast to provide a distraction, or directly kill every enemy for me.

The flaw to the system is that you have three ways to directly interact with a tamed beast, and all are mapped to the same button. You can pet a beast, feed them to restore health, and ride some of them, but all of these actions are performed by pressing E. If you want to ride a beast but it is not full health, even if it is just missing a sliver, there is a good chance you will feed it instead, and even then the prompt to ride it will not come up after it is healed. It is possible to ride an animal not at full health, but getting the prompt to do so is seemingly random. At least the context for pet or ride is clear enough, as you are either looking at the head or the side of the beast. Making the system even more annoying is that the prompts do not always come up. You can have an injured animal and be right up against its face, but you will still not be able to feed it, and I do not know why. Hopefully this will be fixed with a patch in the future.

 

 

It will be necessary for you to kill a good number of animals as you play, as a matter of defense and because you will need their skin and other resources for crafting various upgrades and weapons. While it is possible for you to pick up arrows and spears after launching them at an enemy, sometimes it will be too dangerous to run forward to collect them. In situations like these, you can turn to your weapon wheel and craft more of them. This is also where you can choose to ignite the weapons, which can be useful against some enemies and necessary to clear some obstacles. Sometimes the way forward requires burning the roots and branches in your way, and other times you will come across a wall of placed stones. Those stones, it turns out, can be knocked away with at least the two-handed club. (It took me awhile to figure that out, but it might be mentioned somewhere I just did not notice.)

Besides crafting weapons and upgrades for yourself, you will also be able to build and upgrade huts for the important people that come to live in the Wenja settlement. You will want to do this as it unlocks access to specific skills and grants a nice experience bonus. Some of the resources can be hard to find, but if you open up your pack in the menu and mouse over the item you want, it will at least give a hint of where to look. Also, as you complete different encounters and claim outposts and bonfires, the Wenja will start depositing various resources in a bag you can access from a great many places. Unfortunately you cannot deposit anything in the bag, so you cannot really bank up what you find while running around.

By the way, there is one very useful option that I recommend using. You can turn off the search animation for when you loot bodies. With it off, you can just hold down the button and run around, picking things up as you pass the bodies on the ground. This is much nicer than having to constantly stop and watch your character go through the same animation to collect whatever supplies are there.

 

One last mechanic I want to mention is the Hunter Vision. It operates like many other special visions from other games by highlighting objects and entities of interest. Hit the button and you can more easily spot enemies, special resources, and so on. One issue with it is that the highlighting is applied to the entity's model, including parts of it you do not normally see. I noticed this with my sabertooth tiger, as the vertical plans outlining its jaw were highlighted, despite being within the tiger's head. Hunter Vision also reveals scent trails for rare animals, allowing you to track them down, and the blood splashes of wounded animals, for the same purpose.

I spent 26 hours and 20 minutes playing the game until I finally completed the last finish and reached 93.25% completion. As you can guess, I also did a lot of side stuff, such as side quests and collectible gathering. That last 6.75% will probably take a few more hours to do, at least, so for 100% completion, this could well be a 30 hour game, or a bit more. By the way, I do have the Legend of the Mammoth missions and did some of those, which contributed to my playtime.

Altogether, the gameplay is quite solid and it does a good job departing from the possibly too-well-established norms of the genre and/or franchise. You might not have the usual array of weapons at your disposal, but you are still able to get the job done quite effectively with what are effectively the basic weapon types we have used before in similar games. The beasts also do a very good job of adding strategy to the experience, as you need to consider how best to use them. Some enemies might be easy prey for them, but others can easily kill your beast, so you will need to think about how best to neutralize that threat, without losing your companion.




  1. Far Cry Primal Review - Introduction
  2. Far Cry Primal Review - Graphics
  3. Far Cry Primal Review - Story
  4. Far Cry Primal Review - Gameplay
  5. Far Cry Primal Review - Additional Gameplay Media
  6. Far Cry Primal Review - Conclusion
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