Released on 23 February, Far Cry returned with a new twist on its brand of open world action adventure. In Far Cry Primal you are whisked off to the year 10,000 BC – the Stone Age.
For those used to playing the Far Cry franchise it can be easy to see that Primal has a similar foundation to that of its predecessors; open world exploration, crafting and building. This game relies more on stealth that Far Cry has in the past: let’s face it, without guns you’re going to have to get a lot closer to your enemies. The weapons you do have must be created from resources found in the environment, so you have to keep your eyes open for vital ingredients.
Ubisoft rarely fails to impress in the Far Cry franchise, in one way or another. Far Cry Primal doesn’t just bring out your inner beast mode; it allows you to live in a time where the animals rule the land and humans just survive in it!
Far Cry Primal doesn’t just bring out your inner beast mode; it allows you to live in a time where the animals rule the land and humans just survive in it!
As with all the Far Cry games, progression is tied to skill points which you can put towards different abilities, learning new skills and strengthening others to progress through the story line. Additional skills can be unlocked by following particular character story lines, so it pays to stray from the beaten path and explore every part of the world.
You play as Takkar, a member of a tribe called the Wenja whose villages were torn apart by a rival cannibal tribe called the Udam. You embark on a mission to gather up the lost Wenja who were scattered across the fictional land of Oros, and along the way you will befriend special members of the Wenja who help you develop your skills. On your journey you will meet Tensay the Shaman who will show you the ways of the beast master, helping you tame your first beast to accompany you on your journey.
Tensay‘s not alone. You’ll meet Sayla the gatherer who’ll show you how to find resources, Karoosh the Warrior will teach you how to fight, craft warm clothes and make better weapons, and Wogah the crafter will show you how to make new tools and make your weapons more efficient (even with only one arm).
There are Udam outposts which you must take to expand your territory, create fast travel points and help increase the population of the Wenja. Bonfires also need to captured and lit to create new fast travel spots. Growing your tribe will unlock award packages to bolster your resources and help you craft new weapons, tools and equipment.
Both the Udam and the other antagonistic tribe you face, the Izila, field a range of different troop types including shock troops, sharpshooters and nasty fire-wielding thugs; there’s a clear escalation from the easy missions to the medium and hard ones. You are forced o use your brains, not just rely on headshots and brute force.
As with most open world games there are a number of secrets to find. Although the story here is a compelling narrative, you have the opportunity to take part in random events that spawn anywhere on the map. Such encounters suffer from being repetitive in nature, but do provide a useful bump in XP.
There is always something to do, whether it’s working through either of the stories, wandering the vast wilderness looking for materials, upgrading your village, looking for beasts to tame or finding the ever spawning events to bring new Wenja tribe members to your side. Or just murdering mammoths. This game is certainly huge.
The environment is beautifully realised, with believable and realistic flora and fauna. Sound design too is great, with a drum-based soundtrack evocative of early man and mammoths that sound like real mammoths (we checked).
Some open world games offer a vast expanse to explore, and fill that space with very little to do other than repetitive missions and encounters. Although there is an element repetitiveness in Far Cry Primal, the experience of simply wandering around the wilderness with only a few primitive weapons with which to protect yourself, especially during the night, is a compelling one. Never knowing what is round the next corner – and will it stab, slash, gore or simply trample you to death – creates a tension and sense of vulnerability that isn’t necessarily present in the rest of the franchise. Ubisoft certainly haven’t failed with this instalment of Far Cry.
Far Cry Primal can be purchased digitally on Xbox Store for £54.99. Retail disc versions are also available.
Oh… and one more thing: Watch out for Badgers!
Check out our gameplay video below.
This review was based on extensive testing of a retail-sourced copy of Far Cry Primal in real-world conditions. In other words, we bought it, we played it, we wrote about it.
Going back in time moves this franchise forward.
Far Cry Primal gives you a real taste of what 10k BC was like – we assume! – and taming beasts to eradicate your foes never gets old. A Far Cry without guns and explosions seemed like a mad idea, but arguably refreshes the franchise and sets itself apart from the rest of the open-world brigade.
Although not without its flaws – there’s repetition here that to a greater or lesser extent has marred all Far Cry games – this is a fun and thrilling adventure that you shouldn’t discount because there are pointy sticks rather than Kalashnikovs. Press start at your own risk!