The "Far Cry" series is known for its first-person shooting mechanics, rich open world experience, varied gameplay and memorable characters. In its latest spin-off, Ubisoft ditched modern weaponry for something more primitive in "Far Cry Primal," available for PS4, Xbox One and Windows PC. As Takkar, players are tasked with restoring the Wenja in the land of Oros. It's a fierce battle for survival in this mythical land that relies on a familiar formula for success.
After a deadly attack where Takkar is the lone survivor, the search for the Wenja begins in "Far Cry Primal." Takkar starts off with just one ability, but it's one that will be of great use through "Far Cry Primal." Hunter Vision, similar to the Detective Mode in the "Batman" games, highlights resources, animal trails and other points of interest. Using Takkar's Hunter Vision, players can craft their first weapon. Collecting resources across Oros leads to weapon upgrades, increases the amount of items Takkar can carry and village upgrades.
Takkar meets Sayla, a lost Wenja with the ability to find additional plant resources. With the establishment of your village, players are next tasked to fight off the Udam and Izila, enemy tribes wanting to completely wipe out the Wenja from Oros. Over the course of the main story missions, Takkar will find skilled Wenja who provide additional skills and missions to complete as part of the establishment of a new Wenja village.
It wouldn't be a true open world without plenty of radiant quests. There are random events where players can save a captive Wenja or defend a tribe from attacking beasts or enemies. Players can capture bonfires, find camp fires that serve as respawn points or complete missions from skilled Wenja such as Wojah, a master crafter, or Jayma, a skilled hunter. Unfortunately, there's a lack of truly compelling characters in "Far Cry Primal," but that's a small hurdle to overcome with the wealth of gameplay options at one's disposal.
Ubisoft created original languages for each of the tribes and populated Oros with a diverse range of flora and fauna. Players won't tire of exploring each area of Oros in order to find cave paintings and other secrets to gain experience points. Oros is teeming with life which can be hunted — in the case of deer and goats — or feared — packs of wolves at night or lumbering bears.
There's just so much to do in Oros, that players are unlikely to be bored by "Far Cry Primal." In many ways, the game plays as a "greatest hits" of sorts for the action genre that combines RPG elements with open world missions. There are multiple skill trees where Takkar can upgrade spear damage or increase the visible range of a map or highlight resources on the mini-map.
If you played "Fallout," "The Witcher," previous "Far Cry" titles or any "Bioshock" game, you've experience a lot of what "Far Cry Primal" has to offer. That's not to say it's a bad experience, but those looking for something truly unique may be a bit disappointed with what's available. It's a credit to Ubisoft's mastery of the formula that "Far Cry Primal" is so fun to play. It's a well-crafted experience where the main challenge is figuring out how to overcome more powerful enemies through a combination of traps, bombs, arrows, spears or through melee combat.
That's not to say "Far Cry Primal" doesn't add a few tweaks to this formula. The best addition to the game is its beast taming ability learned from the shaman Tensay. Takkar can tame different animals to serve as allies in the dangerous world of Oros. An owl is the perfect scout that can also target enemies. Large cats such as jaguars or cave lions are perfect companions to chase down prey. The beastmaster hunts are a lot of fun with the chance to tame Great Beasts. The element of surprise isn't much of an option when having a bear by your side, but the ability to deal extra damage makes up for the lack of stealth.
After learning Takkar can tame animals the first question for most players is if he can ride animals. That answer is a resounding yes, but it requires an advanced skill and the right animal.
"Far Cry Primal" is really good at what it does, but it never strays too far away from a pretty standard open world experience. There's a lot to like with the game, but the overall experience may wash over players without leaving much of a lasting impression. "Far Cry Primal" is a fun, beautiful game with plenty to offer for fans looking for the next big game adventure.
"Far Cry Primal" was reviewed using a PS4 digital download provided by the developer.