For this installment of Far Cry, Ubisoft is taking us all the way back to the Stone Age (10,000 B.C.E. to be exact). You play as Takkar, a lost member of the Wenja trying to pick up the pieces of his broken tribe. To ensure you survive the harsh environments of Oros you must hone your skills in combat, stealth, and (new to the franchise) beast mastering while fending off rival tribes Udam and Izila.
The biggest and best feature that Primal adds to the franchise is the Beast Master ability. The ability is imperative to the games function as it replaces the abilities that would have required technology while also adding new actions. The Beast Master ability allows you to command a wide array of animals to do your bidding. The Owl replaces the camera from previous Far Cry’s as it allows you to survey the lands ahead while also tagging enemies. The Owl can also drop bombs, command land creatures to attack, and attack the enemies itself. No amount of money can buy you a DSLR that can do that. The Wolf protects you during hunts. It growls, alerting you of nearby hostiles. The Jaguar is a master of stealth. It will crouch when you crouch and performs silent kills as to not alert nearby enemies. The Bear is a tank. Causes a lot of damage, but has no stealth whatsoever.
Another new feature is night time. In the previous Far Cry’s night time was never a big deal or any danger. In Far Cry Primal, you do not want to go out at night. Players who’ve played Dying Light will definitely pick up on some of the similarities as the animals get more vicious, and have a better lay of the land. Managing resources have more of an impact on survival than in previous games. You need certain materials for bonfires, and you need bonfires at night to keep the animals at bay as well as when you reach the colder regions of the map. So save up that animal fat and sticks. The new Tribe-Building aspect is really cool. It consists of building huts for various members of your tribe (that in-turn gives you rewards and perks), recruiting more tribesmen and women into the fold, and fending off Udam attacks. In previous Far Cry installments, the only melee you had was your knife. In Primal, melee takes the front seat as you craft clubs and spears that you use in hand to hand combat. The melee combat system is really fluid and just fun to use.
Ubisoft wanted to create as real a Stone Age experience as possible, and they even went as far as hiring linguists to create two different dialects of tribes. The Udam and Wenja tribes share one while the Izila tribe speaks their own. That being said there is no English in the game (so turn on those subtitles). For a game that’s entirely in a different language, the voice acting is really good. One in specific is Canada’s own, Elias Toufexis. He provides the voice for Takkar.
The game’s graphics haven’t really improved from Far Cry 4. The games atmosphere, environment, and setting are totally different than other Far Cry games, yet, it doesn’t feel new. It wasn’t long before I forgot I was playing a new Far Cry game. Speaking of atmosphere, the transition between night and day is quite blatant. One thing they could have done was change the HUD to more suit the atmosphere. A difference from the previous games is the lack of weapons. Understandably so, you can’t have machine guns and bazookas in the Stone Age, but I’m sure they could have thought of a few more weapons to give us. Fans of the previous games will be wondering where the humor and sarcasm are, as there is little to none in Primal. Although the story is well paced and interesting, the characters have absolutely no development whatsoever and most are quite bland. Lastly, the skill trees and crafting menus can be intimidating to new players due to them being cluttered.
For Far Cry Primal’s release, Ubisoft offered a basic version of the game ($79.99 CAD) or the Deluxe Edition for $15 more ($95 CAD). I went with the Deluxe Edition as I’m a sucker for Steelbooks, physical maps, and soundtracks and it was worth it. The Steelbook is awesome with some really nice art on the front, the map albeit small saves you from checking the in-game map all the time, and the soundtrack is great. It mixes traditional drums and woodwinds with the sounds of nature to create a soundtrack perfect for the game.
So is the game worth it? Well, if you liked the previous games but wanted to play something different I would say no, wait till the price drops a bit before buying. But, if you liked the previous games and wanted to play more Far Cry then I would say yes it is definitely worth the $80 price tag (and the Deluxe is definitely worth the $95).