Lets sit down and look at the modern day of games. Today we are surrounded by games that emphasize themselves upon real-world modern-day problems – drugs, weapons, guerilla warfare, third as well as first world problems, and even insane leaders who just deserve to perish. This is a common trend we’ve seen in recent days. With titles such as Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, we got to see the ugly side of privatized military, Far Cry’s 3 and 4 let us see an insane warlord and a rather interesting dictator gone warlord. Sound familiar? It’s a trend that has continued on for the last decade or so. The what and why have changed, but not the overall outcome. In recent days, we’ve seen titles that decide to start breaking the trend, and even go away from the idea all together. Some of them are the fight for humanity, survival of the fittest, and even the simplest things in life – friends and family.
In the past week we’ve finally got to go hands-on with one of the most anticipated games of 2016 – Far Cry Primal from Ubisoft. The title reverts from what we’ve known about the franchise for the past.. Well decade or so. The team has taken off their coats, rolled up their sleeves, and dove ten thousand almost twelve thousand years into humanities history. They’ve decided to let the series shed its old skin and grow anew, much like a phoenix, and their approach has worked rather well. In an extravagant way of displaying their finesse for storytelling, design, and locations this new approach has been exotic to say the least. Their world of Oros is truly believable. The war between tribes, believable, but also the sense for the need to survive comes to the helm of the game. While riding in on a Wooly Mammoth is a sound idea just as much as riding into combat on a saber toothed tiger sounds as fun as it is, the game puts the ideas on a backburner, and even lets it simmer so that players can enjoy the larger details the teams at Ubisoft have designed.
Goodbye guns, bombs, and other fun things. Hello Spears, Clubs, and Pointy Sticks
When departing from what we’ve known with any modern title in the FPS genre, it’s hard to really categorize where a game belongs, and why. It’s easier said than done on any scale, but it happens as the genre is a generic label, much like cola is for any soda that’s dark in colour. What does work though is the fact that the team has cast away guns, knives, and explosives only to go primitive as we weren’t able to see our ancestors with those mentioned items. Instead they were surviving off clubs made of bone, bows made of wood and animal tendon or even reed peelings, but also knives as well as spears made from wood and stone held together by anything possible clear down to animal hide.
What the game does right is a massive amount of things, but what it does the best is giving us a glimpse of true survival that is brutal, dangerous, and has put humanity on the lowest portion of the food chain. With saber toothed tigers lurking about at every corner, vicious packs of canines, and even those huge wooly mammoths, humanity is at its finest point in the history of the species. In doing so we are able to test out the things that would’ve been used to survive such as the mentioned weapons, spears, clubs, and other pointy items including traps, which have been absent from the series since Far Cry 2. While they were there, they weren’t as useful as they were in Far Cry and Primal has made them return in all their, well almost all their former glory.
This means that players will survive, but they will require knowledge of all their weapons and how to use them accordingly.
Goodbye Modern Languages and Hello Primitive Tongues
Let’s pretend for a second that modern English (especially our American English) has been wiped clean from the map. Same with Italian, Greek, Latin, Russian, and others have been completely wiped off the map. The dialects are all, but modern. Welcome to the new world of Uros. A world that is primitive, brutal, and does not know the modern languages we do. But the question you may be wondering is one I’ll answer. How does this work out? Does it truly make the game more immersive?
At first the game truly can throw someone off since they will be reading the subtitles. Trust me, I’ve been there and done it, but over time it was as if the subtitles no longer existed. I found myself briefly glancing at them to take in the lines the characters were saying only to find myself fascinated with what was going on. The world feels alive, one that we could live and even touch if it were possible to do so. The most amazing part? The fact that Ubisoft’s teams were careful and researched quite a bit before bringing their language in the game to life. The detail shows and even makes the title more immersive than before.
How Far Cry Has Gone from Open World War to Open World Survival
Some Far Cry fans may hate me for this and call me wrong. While in many ways I am, one thing is true. The series has always been about survival to some extent. Players gather herbs, meat from animals, and crafting materials from the world around them. The difference in Far Cry Primal? Survival is the focus. This means hunting, gathering, working with your tribesmen are going to be at the forefront. With this goes the need for modern medicine, modern knowledge of elements, and back to the stone age survival needs that our true ancestors would’ve had. The use of flint for fire, the need to wonder perilously through caves to find resources. Craft fur clothing for colder climates and even protect your village from impending attacks.
While at first the game may feel similar to former Far Cry titles, the Wenja Tribe (your characters tribe) will feel small at first. One that is on the end of extinction due to enemy tribes, and dangerous hunts. With progression through the game, the tribe will grow, and so will the need to survive as resources will need to be gathered from around the world of Uros. With the need to go further out, so does the need to survive, and the dangers that come with it. This is where the world of Far Cry Primal has expanded and even made itself more dangerous than previous titles as players will worry about snakes, bears, mammoths, saber tooth tigers, wolf packs, and even enemy tribes at every turn. Now if only we had to worry about illness, exhaustion, and the likes in a survival mode. Damn.
Going Back to Modern Could Hurt the Franchise
While working on the review play through we have, it was hard to go back to titles like Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4. I grew accustomed to Brody and Ajay. They are likable characters in a realistic setting. One that provided fantastical dangers such as enemy troop checkpoints, traffic routes, and even skirmishes, but there is something to be said when removing oneself from the modern day conflicts of life and third world countries to an entirely new setting.
Far Cry Primal – as stated previously – takes away from the need to viciously fight through extremely inhabited areas of people, but instead utilizes the wild life and people to make it more vicious than ever. It takes away the modernized sense of vicious tenacity to bringing down a more humanized sense of survival and discord. Doing this brings a more human approach to it and allows for players to get a glimpse of a world that we had only once imagined. The only issue here? It leaves the yearning desire for the game to go fully into the survival mode where food, water, and overall health does matter. Then again, some may tell me to go play Ark: Survival if that’s the case.
When looking at Far Cry Primal, it was hard to accept the fact the series was going back in time, that it was going to destroy the franchise for what it were. While I was interested in the idea of fighting against the wildlife in that time such as saber tooth tigers, wooly mammoths, wolves, and even wooly rhinos, I was trying to remain not to hyped for a new installment to a series.
While the anticipation grew towards the launch, I can say the outcome has been quite pleasant and even entertaining. So much so that our review will be coming out next week based on the PlayStation 4 version of the game.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.