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Top of it’s Food Chain

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    Far Cry Primal

    Rating: 3.5 – Good

    Top of it’s Food Chain

    Far Cry Primal starts with a counter, the year 2016 is displayed and then it quickly begins to count down. Speeding back through the ages, passed 0 and onward into a time before Christ, to the year 10,000 BC. When man fought for their place on the food chain with stick and stone amongst vicious beasts and fire was survival. Primal, places you in the shoes of Takkar, a hunter amidst a pack of Mammoth, face down in the dirt alongside another Wenja tribesman. Spear in hand, Takkar and his tribe navigate through the field waiting for the right moment to claim their prize. When a young Mammoth is separated from it’s pack the hunters pounce, trapping it and allowing you to deliver the killing blow. As your tribe honors the great beast’s spirit, a ferocious Sabertooth steals your victory from you and slaughters your tribemen.

    It’s this scene that sets the stage. As Takkar narrowly escapes, he is tasked with finding his lost tribesmen and gathering them together to defend them against the growing threat of the hostile tribes known as the Izila and Udam. That however, is where the plot grinds to a halt and the overshadowing threat of the rival tribes never really hits home. Takkar sets out into the land known as Oros to gather other strong tribesman like himself, who after the completion of their quest promise to help the Wenja and teach them to survive. There isn’t much to his band of Wenja warriors however once the introductions are made and they provide Takkar with their own nickname. They do supply Takkar with quests such as hunting quests which allow him to tame the stronger beasts of Oros or require that he be riding a Mammoth into a group of Udam. Outside of being quest providers however, they don’t develop much further and Primal more or less just feels like one large side quest overall. In fact, they become a little cumbersome due to the repetitive nature of Far Cry’s current state and it’s easy to grow tired of them.

    Primal’s gameplay is a familiar but offers a unique experience due to it’s time period. Much like Far Cry 3, Blood Dragon and Far Cry 4, there are a ton of things to do and many collectibles litter the massive landscape of Oros, from spiritual rocks to Izila masks stashed in hard to reach locations. The occasional Wenja tribesman may offer you a quest to solve a problem and aid the village, or you may come across an invading parties leader and will need to dispatch their leader. Takkar has many tools at his disposals to complete these quests. The way Primal handles it’s combat is definitely one of the shining example of melee combat done right in an FPS title. His clubs are best used up close, while his spears are best when thrown and his bow is for the more precise moments. All of his weapons can also be lit on fire for added damage provided you have enough animal fat or thrown at enemies when range is an issue.

    For the first time in the series, Takkar can bait and tame the more vicious wildlife that roam the land. A very useful mechanic expanded on from Far Cry 4’s Shangri-La missions. Takkar can tame small creatures like dholes and wolves to the larger, more vicious creatures like sabertooth tigers, bears and even the fearless Badger. Each animal also has it’s own attributes and perks. Wolves reveal the map, sabertooth tigers are the fastest and bears can dig up items for you. Primal also has a day and night cycle that isn’t based on movement like previous titles. Day can turn to night unexpectedly and early on, expeditions into the dark can be a dangerous venture. However, stronger tamed beasts can scare away much of what’s lurking in the shadows of Oros which really kills a lot of the elements that come with night time in Primal. Just be sure not to get separated from you pet or the wildlife will grow a bit bolder, thankfully fire is another alternative to keeping animals at bay.

    The crafting mechanics make their return and allow Takkar to upgrade and expand his prehistoric arsenal providing you’ve taken down the necessary beasts that roam the plains of Oros. Primal also adapts building mechanics introduced in Far Cry 4’s Valley of the Yeti downloadable content. Takkar can build and upgrade huts for his fellow warriors and spruce up his own cave for access to new tools such as traps and bee bombs as well as experience points. Increasing your village’s population also bring it’s own rewards such as better materials delivered to your private stash and permanent experience boosts. Taking outposts and lighting bonfires is one way to increase your villages population as well as completing the many side quests and random encounters throughout Oros.

    Oros is a beautiful world and wandering the landscape is a pleasant experience when not being mauled by the wildlife or attacked by rival tribesman. While you’ll spend most of your time exploring vast jungles, spelunking in caves and diving into lakes, Takkar will also get to explore more northern, snow covered locations as well where fire is life to those who haven’t crafted clothing yet. Primal sports some of the most gorgeous vegetation I’ve seen in a game and healing or petting your beast is a great way to examine just how much detail Ubisoft put into the game’s wildlife. The first time I ordered my cave lion to fight a bear, a rather vicious battle took place as my cave lion reared back on two lucks and stuck blow after blow against the bear before finished it with a crushing bite to the bear’s neck.

    One of the things I love about Primal is it’s language that’s spoken throughout the game. Ubisoft had a team of linguists create a language close to what they theorize may have been spoken at the time. The voice cast does a wonderful job at bringing the language and ultimately the Wenja to life. Along with everything else involved from the wildlife to the sounds of a nature, it all culminates into one living, breathing world. There’s nothing quite like the howling of a pack of wolves or the growl of a jaguar hiding the brush to make you stop in your tracks. Even the snarling of more passive creatures will make you peak over your shoulder.

    All in all, Far Cry Primal manages to stand apart from it’s modern day predecessors. While the plot may be paper thin and the overall objective skewed, there isn’t a shortage of content as far as Primal is concerned. With all the collectibles, side quests and locations to seize from the enemy, you’ll be occupied for hours on end all the while enjoying the brutal, savage combat Primal provides you with. If you ever wanted to experience life as a caveman, exploring the untamed wilderness of Oros is certainly a unique adventure worth taking.

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