Far Cry Primal Review: Do You Even Forage?
There's plenty of reasons to do a roll back in time. Some people love the way vinyl records sound in our modern world, remember New Coke? People tried it and almost immediately brought back Coke Classic, but today, we'll talk about the good old days.
I mean the real good old days. The days of sleeping in the cold trying to huddle over some embers and hopefully scare away some sabretooth tigers at the same time, this week we're talking about Far Cry Primal.
Set in 10,000 B.C., Far Cry Primal is the latest in the Far Cry series and as a complete stranger to the franchise, I thought I would take this version of the popular franchise for a spin. In Primal, like other games in the series, players adventure through the wilderness to complete missions and collect resources to move the story forward, which brings us to the game's narrative.
You are Takkar, a strong but well spoken (for a caveman) character, who is exceedingly cunning and very crafty. Takkar is a hunter for the Wenja clan who have been decimated by cannibalistic neanderthals and bullied by their more organized cousins. The dialogue is the equivalent of Sims gibberish, but it works given the game's setting. You will encounter many of clan brothers and few notables characters from the other side, but you aren't here for a lesson in diplomacy are you?
My problem with the story is that I don't care about these characters, and no one gave me any reason to care about them. They don't provide any flavor through our short chats and provide minimal upgrades to my gear, which boil down to pointy sticks and bigger clubs. I guess I shouldn't be so down though, right? It's a beautiful day on the savanna, mountains, etc, and plenty of things to squish with blunt clubs and skewer with spears.
Wandering around the wilderness tracking down prey and exploring new realms was pretty neat, after all, there are plenty of creatures to skin for your gear and meat. There were a few times when I was surprised by enemies utilizing poison or the wildlife changing as nightfall came and I was nearly killed by a crocodile. Thankfully everything is pretty easy to club to death, except the mammoths, but they'll do their own thing as long as I don't mess with them.
The problem is that it all ends up being repetitive. The first time you descend upon a gang of neanderthals, you get your ass kicked, but get a bigger club and your problem is solved. Some missions the clan give you will add more members to the community, but there isn't a lot of variety. I was overjoyed when I began taming animals and raced to collect them, like some primitive Pokemon enthusiast, but shortly after that, the game really loses steam. By the time I had captured a majority of the fast travel points on my map, I couldn't force myself to gather another slab of clay.
At about 6-7 hours in, I just stopped, place the game back in its box and walked away. There are plenty of other open world games out there and this doesn't seem to be memorable in many respects. I had high hopes for the game, but there's isn't enough meat to dig into.
My single player game backlog is really stacked and I cannot justify the spending of hours on this title, despite how novel it felt upon first glance. I guess it should be noted that it is the only title I've bought in 2016 that isn't super buggy but is that the criteria for enjoying a game? If I were to drive a car that made it from point A to point B while blasting Cher's greatest hits at full volume, would I evaluate the trip as a success because I didn't die? Okay, maybe that's a bad example, but seriously the community needs to demand more of "AAA" developers. If not, I hope more and more indie developers continue to take up the call to deliver, fresh compelling games.
"I thought it was going to be DLC" replied a friend when I told him that I was trudging through the game. You know what, it would have been a great DLC package, but as a standalone title, sorry Takkar, we had fun. We will always have where ever the hell we've been stabbing mammoths together.