Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Far Cry: Primal: PS4 Review

Far Cry: Primal: PS4 Review

Released by Ubisoft
Platform: PS4

Far Cry has always been a great series.

Tapping into something primal and encouraging the survivor in all of us (thanks mainly to homicidal maniacs), the game series has always been a vicarious thrill.

But there's no denying that after Far Cry 4's thrilling ride, the series needed to go somewhere new - which was what Ubisoft has done with this latest, and gone back to basics in a major way.

Set in 10,000 BC you are a hunter in the Mesolithic era, an alpha male called Takkar, who is in the middle of a hunt when you join him. Separated from his crew when it goes slightly awry, and left without basic weapons but a drive to survive, Takkar, the Wenja tribesman, is thrust into the open world of Oros.

But the Wenja people and Takkar are not alone for very long - with cannibals called the Udam and the Izila race manifesting in the plains, trouble is just around the corner as Takkar tries to survive, claim territory, protect his people and build his own life.

Far Cry: Primal is simply a blast.

Even though it follows the traditional Far Cry model (kill people, stealthily kill people, take territory, crafting etc) and even though it suffers from a lack of a traditional story mode (no overall bad guy to take down), its sheer playability makes it such a fun experience.

Day and night bring different levels of engagement.

While daytime sees you besieged by warriors and beasts, night brings out an equally dangerous bunch of predators determined to take you down. Thanks to Takkar's hunting vision senses though, you can see where everything is waiting to pounce on you.

The hunting vision is a great touch, a nod to the fact the senses were heightened when they were cave-people; clicking R3 turns everything into a yellow mist that is emitted from whatever animal you see. Effective hunting can be executed by using this idea and tracking your prey so carefully.

But it's not just about the hunting to get the animals. A side quest to visit a shaman allows you the chance to control animals, starting with an owl and building up from there. It's a great touch that gives the game a bit of scope and a USP. The taming of animals is also a decent idea too, one that progresses as you do and gives travelling a bit more speed. (Given how open Oros is, it's hard to make your way around all of the areas you uncover).

Equally, the stashes that are around camps where you settle and areas that you free are a clever touch. Things you need are contained within and can be picked out as a type of refuelling; it's a shame that you can't drop items in there for later use, but it's a nice way to use the old trading post ethos.

Graphically, the game is incredibly visualised. From the vast world of Oros to the small world of the beasts, everything in Far Cry Primal sizzles. Each environment is different in its own ways and each presents a visual feast as the world is given life.

While it's fair to say Far Cry Primal is the gaming equivalent of a fast food meal in many ways; it's a head rush, but some of the substantial depth of the story that has blessed the other Far Cry series really does affect the long-tail of this game. A lack of a strong story does hit as you wander around doing whatever you want but as the view is so incredibly pretty and the world so immersive, it's not as crippling a factor as you may imagine.

(Hopefully, there's plenty of DLC potential and granted, with civilisation as it is in the past, there are more than enough options for the future of Far Cry: Primal).

Far Cry Primal works because it takes the template of the original game and changes it to make something different. And in a world of remasters and remakes, the original touch is anything but prehistoric.

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