Gogo itasha baka-rouga! You don’t speak Wenja? Don’t worry; you’ll pick it up as you play Far Cry Primal, but first let me introduce myself.
I am the great Takkar of the Wenja; the beast master, as they call me. I am on a mission to set up my village in the lands of the Oros, seek more tribe members, and protect them against the savage tribes, the Udon and the Izalas. Wait wait, Takkar? Wenja? Izalas what now? Are you sure we are in a Far Cry game?
Yes, we are in the right game, but not in the right time. Far Cry primal takes you back to 10,000 B.C., to the dark, primitive lives of our ancestors, and pits you against the vicious savages and unforgiving nature. This means that there are no grenade launchers, and no Gatling guns this time, sorry. The best you can expect in regards to advanced warfare is a spear.
With a basic storyline built around survival, Far Cry Primal puts you in the shoes–figuratively speaking–of Takkar, a Wenja tribe member who, seeking a better land for his people, finds it in a place called “Oros.” Settling down is not as easy as it may sound as you will have to fend off the bloodthirsty Udon and the wicked Izala tribes.
Takkar is not weak, nor helpless, and the more missions you finish, the more skills you unlock, the more powerful he becomes. But things really get interesting after you obtain your faithful owl that will act as your eyes and assist you in your recon approaches by identifying weak spots in the enemy base. You could, of course, forgo the owl and go in spear-chucking, but that will only tilt the favor towards your adversaries as you will be outnumbered, and more times than not, end up eviscerated.
As is now considered a norm in open-world games, you are able to craft a set number of primitive weapons the likes of clubs, spears and arrows, each of which can be imbued with fire that will help in warding off enemies and beasts. More interestingly, however, Far Cry Primal takes a page from popular MMO’s, and a handful of RPG’s, by granting you the ability to tame wild beasts. These beasts become your allies and will join you in combat, through sickness and health till its death do you part. Let me tell you, nothing feels more fulfilling than unleashing a blue-eyed wolf at your unsuspecting target.
Game of Thrones, anyone?
Crafting is not only limited to weapons. Since some enemies use poisonous arrows, you can’t expect to track your way to the nearest village every time you prick your finger. Far Cry Primal uses a similar health system to previous games: your health bar is divided into small sections, and if a section is not depleted, it will regenerate automatically. If a section does get depleted, you will need to recover it using other means, and this is where crafting comes in to save the day. Using a combination of herbs and meats, you are able to craft healing kits and antidotes to restore your lost health.
Should you constantly run out of resources, you may want to start looking into your talent trees. Under the “Survival Skills” tree is the “Primitive Heal” talent which is unlocked the moment you invest in that tree. “Primitive Heal” allows you to cure a section of your health bar without spending resources. All that is left for you to do is to improve the effectiveness of this cure method by unlocking “Primitive II Heal.” There you go, free healing.
Far Cry Primal is loaded with elements that add to its realism, from the beautiful flora, to the vicious animals roaming the Oros, ready to hunt you once they spot you. Remember: You are pretty low on the food chain, until you pull out a badass spear, that is. I could sit here and tell you about the night and day cycles, about the effort that you will probably put to tend to your village, and the many beasts that you will be able to tame and fight alongside, but you’ve played such games before and I don’t have time to explain why I don’t have time to explain.
With a story that will take you around 20 hours to complete, and a decent number of side missions, Primal has a lot to keep your hands dirty for some time. The unique Wenja dialect sounds awesome–hey, you didn’t expect them to be speaking broken English, did you? There may not be modern weapons and vehicles, nor new age gadgets and gizmos, but the simplicity of Primal, by taking everything back to where it all began, the basics of survival, is a satisfying experience of its own.
Whether you are a fan of the genre or not, Far Cry Primal is a beautiful experience that you should try. Roaming through the Oros, hunting high and low, and having powerful beasts by your side is a thrill of its own that will assuredly keep you hooked with its beauty.
Far Cry Primal is available on the PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One and PC. A review copy was made available to us via Ubisoft.