Far Cry Primal Review

March 15, 2016

With the release of Far Cry 4, whispers began spreading around the internet about what we could expect next from the team at Ubisoft. Many people hoped we would see a sequel to the excellent Far Cry Blood Dragon, myself included, so it was a shock when Ubisoft unveiled Far Cry Primal. The setting of the fictional land of Oros in 10,000 BCE, ensuring the removal of guns and most gadgets you used in other Far Cry titles, and the primitive nature that comes along with the setting felt unique at announcement. It also left people curious about what to expect, and somewhat apprehensive about what the game would become.

Far Cry 3

Far Cry has had a large focus on crafting in the past and this has been doubled down on in Primal. Gone are the days when foraging for resources was only for upgrades and to heal yourself, now you need to find flint, hardwood and various other resources to craft the weapons you use to survive in the land of Oros. The need to craft your own weapons, and subsequently foraging for the items you need to make that crafting happen, leads you to respect your weapons a bit more than in previous Far Cry games. Knowing that you will have to kill animals for hide, as well as finding hardwood and flint if you don’t pick up the spear you threw, has you running around staring at the floor searching for that one missing spear. It can feel prohibitive and draining at times, as even your fully upgraded pack doesn’t allow you to carry too many resources. As you progress it becomes less frustrating as you unlock skills that allow you to craft multiple weapons using the same number of resources, but early on it can become a struggle to manage your weapons and resources.

The biggest introduction in Primal is the wildlife that you will come across and your ability to tame many of them. Taming wildlife is surprisingly easy once you have the appropriate skill – just throw some bait near them, wait for them to chow down, and then hold a button. That’s all it takes, with the same canned animation each time. Once you’ve tamed something, that animal will become your companion and you can call it over to help at any time. Each animal has its own set of animations and behaviours; Jaguars are stealthy and will jump onto an enemy and drag it down, sabretooths will grab an enemy in its jaws and shake it to death and that’s only two of the animal types you can tame. Even the wildlife that you can’t tame have their own unique animations and actions, with one of my favourites being watching an eagle pick up a goat and then let it go to plummet to its death.

Much has been said of Far Cry Primal using the same map layout as Far Cry 4 in recent times, however, it’s completely unrecognisable in game. While the map layout is the same, the actual terrain is completely different and looks beautiful in a way that the console release of Far Cry 4 could only dream of. The standout is the lighting, which is among the best I’ve seen in any release. Walking through the forest, with light breaking through the gaps in the trees is incredible and led to me taking more screenshots than I normally would. Oros is full of largely hilly terrain, much like Far Cry 4 before it, but without the gyrocopter of Far Cry 4 it can be frustrating to go up and around hills at times. Traversal is faster once you start taming wildlife that you can ride, but even then it doesn’t help with getting over many of the hills and mountains.

Far Cry Primal 2

While there may be many differences in Far Cry Primal when compared to previous games, the general game design and flow is exactly what you would expect from a Far Cry game. While the emphasis is largely on melee combat, with the option of throwing your spears or using a bow and arrow, you will find yourself performing the same actions you have in the past. You will capture bonfires instead of radio towers, but they perform the same action: unlocking a portion of the map and side quests. You will also still attack outposts, using them as new bases of operation throughout Oros. The big change comes with the freedom to choose which missions you perform to progress through the story, replacing the more linear progression of past titles. The issue with this is that missions don’t necessarily state which particular storyline they will progress, and you can complete the final story mission without actually finishing the story. This prevents the final cutscene from triggering until you have completed the remaining missions, which can lead to confusion as the game effectively shows that you have beaten the big bad, but then nothing really comes from it. A non-linear storyline can be great when done well, but the implementation could use some work, in this instance.

Far Cry Primal’s Oros is a nice change of setting for a series that was quickly getting stale and helps breathe some life into Far Cry. However, the gameplay beats are still the same overall, with the title following the same “claim tower/outpost to unlock more of the map” equation that is endemic of all Ubisoft open world titles. Hurling spears is fun, but the traversal is frustrating, and I feel they went a bit too far on the importance and reliance of resources and crafting. Far Cry Primal is a solid entry in the Far Cry series, but it has enough niggles to prevent it from being great.


-Oros is beautiful
-Animal Companions are excellent


-Story is average
-Non-linear design to mission completion is poorly implemented
-Same overall gameplay design as all Ubisoft open-world titles, with bonfires replacing towers

Overall Score: