Posted on 12 Mar 2016 by Simon Sirmenis

Far Cry Primal

The Defence

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Action, Adventure
Platform: Consoles, PC
Review copy: No
Release date: 01 Mar 2016

The Prosecution

OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i3 3.2 GHz
Intel Phenom II X4 3.2 GHz
VGA: Nvidia GeForce 460
AMD Radeon HD 5770
HDD: 20 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: Partial
Mod Support: No
VR: No
FOV Slider: Yes
FPS Lock: 120+
OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i7 3.8 GHz
AMD FX 4.0 GHz
VGA: Nvidia GeForce 780
AMD Radeon R9 280X
HDD: 20 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: Partial
Mod Support: No
VR: No
FOV Slider: Yes
FPS Lock: 120+

The Case

The Far Cry franchise has changed hands, protagonists and environments. None of the games have stuck with the same location, with the exception of Blood Dragon. Far Cry Primal is here to shake things up though with a blast from the very distant past. This instalment has not only chosen a setting new to the series but also a very unusual setting for any game, especially a first person ‘shooter.’ This appears to be a calculated risk for Ubisoft but will the risk pay off?

The Trial

Your tribe has travelled a long time and your food is all but gone. Fortunately there is a herd of mammoths and the hunters ready their spears. You, Takkar, sneak through the bigger mammals and find your perfect prey. Some of your tribe’s hunters manage to isolate it and the fight for survival begins. The animal doesn’t go down without a fight but its fate is sealed. Unfortunately you were not the only ones hunting that particular prey; a sabretooth tiger leaps into the fray and many of your fellow tribesmen sadly end up on the other end of the food chain. To save yourselves, you and your mentor jump down the rocky hillside and you get knocked out. When you wake up you see your mentor just long enough to say your goodbyes and this is where the game starts.

Even though you were introduced to a few key mechanics, like healing, during the deadly hunt sequence, this is where the real tutorial starts. You are taught the basics like gathering, hunting and crafting, all the essentials needed to survive in this prehistoric world. After mastering the basics you meet the soon-to-be first member of your new tribe, Sayla, who leads you to the land of Oros.

There is no running, you can only fight or hide.

Now you are free to go pretty much anywhere, unless it’s “locked” because of story reasons, with only one goal in mind: find your lost Wenja tribesmen and bring them back to the newly settled village. Well, that and kill the cannibalistic Udam and the pyromaniac Izila tribesmen.

The map is huge, overwhelmingly so, especially because you haven’t the option to quickly travel around with a vehicle this time, at least not until you unlock the animal riding skill, though you can still Fast Travel to already discovered locations. The map is full of things to do, from main quests, to side quests, to dynamic mini objectives that you can stumble onto as you explore and quests that you are suckered into because you need a certain resource. With the constant running around, you can’t stay out of trouble for more than thirty seconds. You will constantly run into enemy patrols or be harassed by predators.

One solution to scare away those pesky predators is to have an even bigger predator by your side. This is where one of the cool, new features comes in – animal taming. Thankfully, you can learn this skill early on. When you manage to tame a big enough animal it will not only help you hunt and kill enemies but it will also scare away those pesky, smaller predators who would otherwise pester you throughout your journey. And, as previously mentioned, if you invest your skill points accordingly you can even ride the biggest animals which makes trekking around the map far less tedious.

Tame one, skin the others.

Unfortunately it’s much more complicated to gather resources whilst riding on the back of a bear, which is a huge part of your progression. You need materials to craft gear and upgrade your settlement, which in turn lets you craft even better gear. You’d think that prehistoric people were pretty basic but the selection here is quite wide; from basic clubs that have multiple tears to two-handed clubs to spears, bows, longbows, double-arrow bows and lots of throwable items as well as general equipment upgrades in order to carry more of everything.

Interestingly, each time you bring back a major character to your camp and build them a house, you are then able to access their skill tree. Each of the major characters specialise in different types of skills so you have quite a range to choose from, such as a ranged focused skill, melee focused one, animal taming, gathering and so on. In the beginning, when you have no skills the game is quite bland but gradually, as you unlock more tools and abilities, the world opens up to you and it becomes far more entertaining. Exploration becomes less tedious and the combat more enjoyable. The problem with the combat is that the melee part is very basic with only an attack and a heavy attack to choose from. You’ll often find yourself doing all you can to avoid melee because of this, sticking to ranged combat instead as much as possible. The spear has a satisfying weight to it that knocks enemies back and the bow…it’s pretty much the same thing that we had in previous Far Cry games.

Another problem with the combat is the AI. It will most likely drive you nuts. The enemies have eagle-eyed vision and, unless you are sneaking, will spot you sooner than you will spot them. In most cases enemies will see you even when their line of sight is obscured by foliage. But if you are quick enough to go into sneak mode and hide behind cover you will avoid being spotted though. And that’s pretty much the way to engage in battles – stealth. Scouting targets and taking them out one by one with any and all means available to you is still as fun as it was in the previous instalments. But if you are spotted or attacked by a predator in the wild and if you aren’t quick enough to take the enemies at a distance, which can be pretty hard at times as they do take cover, evade as well as hide, I suggest you run and re-engage later. This works with most human enemies but animals employ hit-and-run tactics that not only deal damage depending on the size of the beast but also really annoying. This behaviour by both, man and beast, on the technical side is quite advanced, but on an entertainment level really frustrating.

Far Cry Primal does not shy away from blood and gore.

Far Cry Primal in most cases looks very good, especially so during ingame cutscenes. The main characters are modelled and animated superbly with extreme emphasis on hair and fur. The environment though is a bit bland. It is quite detailed with lots of flora and fauna but at the same it’s boringly brown (except for the snowy region, that is boringly white). I found myself wishing for the leaves and grass to have brighter green to provide the game with more contrast.

The audio is a mixed bag as well. Everything is voiced in native caveman and only subtitled in broken English. It does give a distinct feel to the game but also takes you out of the immersion when you constantly need to read the subtitles. That said, the voice acting is done incredibly well especially considering it’s all entirely made up. Though I was constantly waiting for Takkar to utter “I didn’t ask for this” as he is voiced by Elias Toufexis, better known to us as Adam Jensen.

The Verdict

Far Cry Primal is a solid game. It is a bold experiment, venturing into a prehistoric world but being built upon the foundations of Far Cry 3 and 4 did it as much bad as it did good. A lot of the assets and mechanics used in the previous titles don’t really fit or work well (Case in point: the melee encounters). The game itself can be a fun distraction with its unique setting but after a while, with too much going on and no real focus on a clear objective, I lost interest. If you are ok with a more sandbox experience than a story driven, open world game then Far Cry Primal is a good choice for you.

Case Review

  • One with the Nature: The new animal taming ability is quite intriguing, with faster terrain traversal or enemy scouting, giving you a unique alternative to modern day vehicles.

  • You Pretty: Even though the environments are rather bland, the game is nice looking especially so in the cutscenes.

  • Uga Uga: The prehistoric language makes the game feel authentic but coincidentally and paradoxically breaks immersion too.

  • Lo-tech Encounters: Open melee battles are the weakest in the series but stealthy encounters are as good as ever.

  • Too Much to See, Too Much to Do: The game is full of marked objectives. You will also feel compelled to pick everything that’s not nailed to the ground which oftentimes leads you off the path.

  • Me Club You: The melee weapons in the game are a complete disappointment.

3.5 Score: 3.5/5
A brave venture into a prehistoric world that needs to evolve a little more.


  • Visuals: A good amount of options here. Not only does Primal have the settings that a PC gamer considers standard but the game also has such settings for contrast and gamma as well as good range of quality settings.
  • Audio: Nothing to see here. You can only select the master volume and toggle the music.
  • Gameplay: A lot of assists in this game, all of which can be turned off. FC Primal also features an option to turn of search animations which I can’t praise enough.
  • HUD: Ironically this is very sophisticated for a game set in primitive world. HUD can get very crowded but you can customize pretty much everything individually.
  • Controls: You can turn off mouse acceleration – yeey!

Comments (3)

Posts: 7
Posted 17 Mar 2016, 16:09
It's not much of an innovation though. You were already able to ride elephants in Far Cry 4 and Blood Dragons in FC3: Blood Dragon, so that wasn't new. And apart from that, all you did was basically hold a button until the animal's AI becomes friendly to you and hostile to your enemies. It's a minor tweak, hardly a big innovation. :/

Posts: 133
Simon Sirmenis
Posted 16 Mar 2016, 21:55
Arguably the biggest "innovation" is the animal taming. But otherwise I agree and mentioned as much in the review that the reuse of the same mechanics lets the game down, especially on the melee combat part.

Posts: 7
Posted 16 Mar 2016, 18:56
This game is such a disappointment. They take a risk in bringing the game into a completely different setting, only to have EVERY gameplay mechanic remain EXACTLY the same?! Whyyyy? What is the purpose? The only new thing I can find, is the new spear-stabbing animation, and it's LAUGHABLE. :(