Far Cry is a franchise that’s always held a special place in my heart. I played Far Cry 2 on the Xbox 360 and Far Cry 3 was one of the first game review codes our fledgling website Dual Ring received.
The series has shifted from one biome to another – savannah to Islands then mountains and it seemed that we were likely to get a temperate or icy game next when Ubisoft changed direction and produced Far Cry Primal. Ubisoft tend to do a complete game then a ‘ side story’ and Primal is one of the diversions rather than a Far Cry 5. It is however marketed and costed as a full game.
Far Cry Primal takes the Far Cry open world genre and pulls it back in time by many thousands of years. You play a Wenja tribesman named Takkar who has his hunting party ambushed in the first few minutes of the game and must get back to and build his tribe. Ubisoft have tried to make the environment feel immersive even going so far as to invent their own neolithic language for use throughout the game.
For all that you’re in a different historical era Far Cry Primal feels surprisingly familiar. You have to take outposts, explore and follow storyline and sideline quests. Develop your skills, craft bigger bags and better weapons and slowly work your way through the map.
There are a few major changes. Perhaps the most obvious is that as you’re in the past there are no guns and no vehicles. I expected that this would make the combat much closer up with more of an emphasis on melee but it actually meant Ubisoft introduced a number of weapons that you can thrown and launch – everything from the trusty bow to being able to throw your club at your opponent. There is melee involved and if you’re inclined to play that way its possible but you can do higher damage with most weapons throwing them.
Driving and flying is out but as a recompense you can can train and befriend most of the animals you meet. This starts off with an owl for scouting and moves onto small Dhole wild dogs which can loot your kills, moves onto wolves and cats which fight with you and when you get to mammoth, bears and Sabre tooth tigers you can ride them. The training mechanism is straightforward and the utility the animals provide is nice but its’s not game changing.
Paid Extras: Apex edition of the game available with extra missions, weapons and crafting items for £33.99 (including full game)
Ubisoft is a French Multinational video game publisher and developer. It’s one of the largest studios in the world with around 10,000 employees and an annual revenue over 1.4 billion Euros. They’re probably most famous for Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, Just Dance, and Prince of Persia but they’ve lots of other projects that are slightly less known.
The Ergohacks Evaluation
Primal uses a mechanic called hunter vision which highlights all the important things in your view. This does not initially include things like harvestable plants but with appropriately spent talent points it can. Hunter vision works at night nearly as well in light and if you use it makes it difficult to miss important items. There is some flash in the game particularly at night but its possible to play with very little time spent out at night and avoid much of this.
The game uses subtitles from the first scene in every interaction with other characters.
Far Cry Primal conveys a fair amount of information via audio however there are normally visually indicators in the HUD or the environment which will replace them. I played for an hour without any sound and while it did complicate things slightly it was usable.
Far Cry Primal is designed with a combination of openworld freedom around optional quests and a central storyline. Its possible to just wander in the woods and follow the arrows that pop up from one quest to another and make good progress or you can choose to follow the core storyline closely and push through the game.
Crucial information is represented as text and graphically on the map and minimap in most cases.
Far Cry Primal on the PC can be controlled by either a keyboard/mouse combination or via a game controller. The keyboard and mouse is fully remappable and there are several predesigned controller schemes available as well as further customisation such as swapping shoulders or sticks. I’ve had better luck playing with a mouse and keyboard but the controller isn’t a second class citizen and if that’s your preference will work well. You’ll need good reflexes to play although turning the game to easy and turning on aim and melee assist will reduce but not eliminate this need. Button mashing and QTEs are rare but required to break away when you get grabbed by an an opponent.
As you would expect from a modern PC game there are a huge number of graphics and interface options available. You can make your UI virtually vanish or provide you with a lot of extra information.
The graphics in Primal are impressive and I found them significantly improved on Far Cry 4 when running on the same setup. We looked at the PC version of Far Cry Primal and have not access to the Xbox One or PS4 versions but comparing screenshots the PC version turned up to high does have a significant edge.
Environment & People
Far Cry Primal has numerous themes running through it of ecological collapse, the conflict between three worldviews and what happens when they collide. The game does not try to be high brow about it but does make you think and wonder why things are happening.
Ubisoft is a multi-national company with 10,000 employees in multiple countries. It has not published information about it’s impact on the environment or corporate social responsibility.
Far Cry Primal retails at the standard market price for a PC based full game. This has caused some controversy as is arguable a filler game in the series. I would however find it justified as the length of game and unique perspective is very playable. If you play all the side quests in the standard game I’d estimate there are around 40 hours of gameplay here before you restart.
OS: Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64-bit versions only)
Processor: Intel Core i3-550 | AMD Phenom II X4 955 or equivalent
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 (1GB VRAM) | AMD Radeon HD 5770 (1GB VRAM) or equivalent
Storage: 20 GB available space
Additional Notes: Windows-compatible keyboard, mouse, headset, optional controller. Supported Video Cards at Time of Release: AMD Radeon™ HD 5770 (1 GB VRAM) or better, HD 7000 / 200 / 300 / Fury X series, NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 460 (1 GB VRAM) or better, GTX 500 / 600 / 700 / 900 / TITAN series. Note: This product supports 64-bit operating systems only. Laptop versions of these cards may work, but are not officially supported.
Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K | AMD FX-8350 or equivalent
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 | AMD Radeon R9 280X or equivalent
Storage: 20 GB available space
The game downloads and authenticates via Ubisoft’s online store Uplay which needs to be running whenever the game is playing.
When I started this review I said that the series had a kind place in my heart. I’ve played all the major games and most of the side games but Primal is something a little different – its not quite big enough to match up to the main series of games and yet is bigger (and more expensive) than the previous side stories. There’s been a lot of talk about the fact that the map in Primal is virtually identical to that in the Far Cry 4 and whether you think this matters of not its undeniably a sign of Primal’s status.
The question is does that matter? It does but not a lot. If you’re a Far Cry Fan there’s a lot here you’re going to like. The changes from being in a Stone age environment do change the flavor of the game but it’s still recognizably and playably the same type of game. There are better graphics in Primal but you need a high powered PC to take advantage of this. Bottom line – if you’re a openworld or Far Cry Fan I’d very much recommend Far Cry Primal. If you’re looking to try the style of game Far Cry 4 is probably a better deal.
The review is based on the Standard version of Far Cry Primal (PC) kindly provided by Ubisoft. This article was first published on 8th March 2016.