Thursday, 17 March 2016

Far Cry Primal Review

So let me start with the fact that I've never played a Far Cry game before. So I won't be comparing with past games of the series, just as a stand alone game. Even so I am aware of some of the issues around this game such as it using the map of the previous game so they didn't have to start from scratch... Yeah.

Far Cry Primal takes the Far Cry formula and throws it back to the end of the Ice Age. It's a first person, Ubisoft style adventure game. It's not historically or scientifically accurate and is heaped with beauty, violence and smattering of silliness. You play as Takkar, a lone Wenja tribesman in search for the land of Oros where you hope to find more of your tribe and bring them together so that you can face the other two tribes of Oros, the Udam and the Izila.

I really enjoyed this game. Often whether I like a game or not can come down to external matters and I think this is one of those times. I'd just got to the point with Destiny where I just couldn't be bothered any more. There wasn't anything left to do that was keeping my interest. I wasn't really looking at Far Cry Primal as my next game, but it was being talked about in my Destiny group and so eventually peer pressure got me to do some more research. I liked what I saw. I had some Game store credit so I went for it.

It was a very pleasurable first few hours. All the usual traits of a good game. Lovely graphics, not absolutely top notch, but they've done a good job with what they've got. The light in the game is particularly pretty. Shafts of sunlight passing through the mist of early morning or the silhouettes against the moonlight. The new photo mode in the upcoming patch will be a much used addition. As well as being nice to look at there was a good sense of player progression and plenty of side quests to keep it interesting. Despite the lack of any story whatsoever, the one thing that came closest to the game having some kind of emotion was the building up of your village. As you travel around Oros, saving other cave folk from your tribe, the Wenja, your village would grow. Infrequent visits back home would see slow growth and the eventual relaxation of a hunted people. They started by sitting around looking sorry for themselves, then the next time someone had made a drum, the next time a small harp, babies were born. It was really quite touching to see the direct affect your actions were having on your people back home.

Every time things did start to feel a little samey a new side quest type or new game mechanic would be unlocked. Things carried on like this for the first twenty four hours of the game. Then came the grind. Well it would have been a grind with any other game. But with nothing else to play and more peer pressure from my gaming group in the form of trophy hunting, the game continued to keep my attention.

Trophies were never even a thing for me. Never paid attention to them. I'm usually into story based or heavily immersive RPG games. Once the story was over, I'd either play it again because it was so good or feel like I'd finished the game. My gaming group do trophies. Not only trophies, but platinums. I glanced at the trophies I'd won so far for Far Cry Primal and realised I was already sixty percent the way through it. This is my chance, I thought. My first platinum. And so I set myself that exact task. This is maybe why I played the game so much. But I'm pretty sure if the game was crap or too hard or even too easy, I wouldn't have bothered. But after sixty odd hours of play, I platinumed my first ever game. Pretty chuffed.

I would recommend the game to anyone though. It's a solid game. Very Ubisoft style of hundreds of side missions which are normal a distraction from the main story, but in a game with no story, they become the story. Your story.

The missions and game mechanics are varied enough to keep your interest. The characters are very one dimensional but appealing nonetheless and infrequent conversations seem to keep them fresh. Beautiful landscapes. Great music that suits every situation and keeps you on the edge of your seat. It wasn't until I started trophy hunting that I really appreciated the use for all the different weapons. The first half of the game I pretty much just used the bow, so I recommend trying them all out. The spear is particularly useful against the tougher enemies.

I suppose I should really talk about the animals as they are meant to be an integral part of the game. I enjoyed collecting them all, Pokemon style. Taming them is a bit of a gimmick, done with one button press. But it's nice to have company on your otherwise quite lonely time in Oros. At first they were quite useful especially sending a cave lion in  to devastate a small group of Udam before you head and mop up. Some of the legendary beasts have some slight back story which ties together bit of the game. But as the game progressed, they became less and less useful. With most quests offering extra experience points for stealth and not even the stealthiest of animals actually being stealthy, I quickly stopped using them. By thirty hours in, they were gone. I went back to them from time to time and the only time I rode them was to complete a trophy for mounted beast kills. But nothing beats walking over the brow of a hill and seeing a herd of mammoths grazing in a sun soaked valley.

It's an easy game and an easy platinum if you're looking for one. At one point I was stuck solid on one mission, but it's just a case of grinding side quests until you level up enough. Went back a few hours later and blitzed it.

So yeah, a good sixty hours on a solid game and I enjoyed it very much. If I'm completely honest it's not worth the price tag, but a few weeks after release and you can now get it for a better price. Buy it, play it, be a cave man. You know you want to.

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