Set in the Stone Age, this game is nothing like the previous instalments of the franchise, lacking modern weaponry và an arch-villain


Far Cry Primal is set in the Stone Age, where you can tame animals that will help you take down enemies. Photograph: Ubisoft
Far Cry Primal is phối in the Stone Age, where you can tame animals that will help you take down enemies. Photograph: Ubisoft

Finding a game disappointing because of its similarity khổng lồ last year’s instalment is one of the great complaints levelled at the modern industry và its love of annual franchises. Far Cry 4, for example, was certainly accused of being too much lượt thích Far Cry 3, và the more you play Primal, the more it feels lượt thích an elaborate attempt lớn challenge all the assumptions around sequels and spin-offs.

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This time around, Ubisoft Montreal has certainly created a startlingly different Far Cry game, simply by setting it in the Stone Age – 10,000BC, khổng lồ be precise. Unlượt thích its forebears then, you can’t describe it as an open-world first-person shooter – it’s still first-person and open-world, but all guns, vehicles, explosives and gadgets have been summarily ripped out.

You play as Takkar, an unapologetic altrộn male in the otherwise peaceful Wenja tribe. Your role is to build up your nascent village, established in a province called Oros, by helping out the scattered local Wenja tribespeople. Early on, he rescues Sayla, a hunter và warrior who identifies missing members of the clan for you to trachồng.

From these quests Takkar assimilates an incredible array of skills. Tensay, the shaman, is perhaps his most important guru: he makes Takkar drink a foul brew which induces distinctly psychedelic visions, after which he learns how to lớn tame animals. He acquires a pet owl, & has the ability to lớn see through its eyes, which makes it a handy scout as it can tag enemies – và even, when upgraded, attaông xã them. But more importantly, Takkar can tame animals that will accompany hlặng on his peregrinations và take down enemies. As you build up experience points & progress through Takkar’s skills-tree, he becomes able lớn tame (và even, in some instances, ride) the likes of sabretooth tigers và giant bears. Big set-piece hunt missions let you tame extra-savage beasts, which prove sầu more or less essential allies when the story reaches its later, more frenetic stages.

The narrative also takes in Wenja’s interaction with two other local tribes – the warlượt thích, basic Udam from the mountainous north of Oros and the more sophisticated Izila, masters of fire, who occupy the marshy south. Udam attacks feature from the beginning of Primal, và the responsibility for fighting back against both tribes, & ultimately making them fear the Wenja, falls squarely onto Takkar’s shoulders. That process proves surprisingly thought-provoking: has tribal conflict always been hard-wired inkhổng lồ mankind &, if so, what did it take for tribes to start working together for the greater good?

You can piông xã all manner of allegory out of Far Cry Primal’s story but, when viewed in pure gaming terms, it fails to be as satisfying as the storylines running through previous iterations of the franchise. Takkar does get khổng lồ meet some great characters – Batari, the female leader of the Izila, manages to be both homicidal và alluring, and many of the Wenja characters have hilarious eccentricities, such as Sayla’s penchant for collecting the ears of dead Udam – but unlượt thích previous Far Cry games, there’s no arch-villain providing a focal point và, ultimately, the story fizzles out in a vaguely unsatisfying manner (although it sets itself up well for extension via downloadable content).

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Far Cry Primal is, however, a huge, sprawling source of great gaming joy, and wisely, Ubisoft resisted the temptation to shoe-horn in any dubious multiplayer modes. Any worries about the laông xã of modern weaponry are quickly banished by the array of available arms. Takkar has a club, a spear và a bow, all of which are available in different iterations, can be set on fire and are fully upgradable. He gets the Stone Age equivalent of grenades, in the form of bags of bees that leave enemies flailing or bags of rotten matter that induce them lớn lay inlớn each other. There’s one gadget – a grtáo khuyết – which proves invaluable when negotiating mountainous territory, and provides a centrepiece for a few puzzle-solving side missions.

Skills which initially seem superfluous become vital later on in the game, when Takkar has khổng lồ take on vast hordes of enemies (và the odd boss) with just his trusty beast at hvà. The ability to craft bunches of replacement spears và arrows on the fly, và to heal Takkar while running, are especially pivotal. The gameplay is pleasantly varied – there are plenty of sequences in which Takkar has to employ stealth, or use his hunter’s vision to lớn traông chồng prey and effectively operate as a Stone Age detective sầu.


Far Cry Primal Photograph: UbisoftThere’s much satisfaction lớn be had from taking out a succession of onrushing enemies with spear headshots – yet few games offer more opportunities lớn just amble about the game-world, hunting, exploring, collecting resources và dealing with whatever random events come your way. The game-world itself is so beautifully realised that it almost becomes a character in its own right: you learn, for example, how to read the terrain and take detours in order to lớn reach seemingly inaccessible areas. Oros may be savage, but it’s a glorious & cathartic place to visit.

Like the similarly experimental Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Primal takes a torch to the established Far Cry template, yet it still feels every inch a Far Cry game. The graphics, controls, hunting, bản đồ và resource-collection are all recognisable – to lớn such a striking extent that it makes you wonder what it would be like to play through an old version of Far Cry, using just the bow and ignoring all vehicles. Whether by accident, design or an emotive response khổng lồ criticism of Far Cry 4, Ubisoft, via Primal, has given the franchise a huge new shot of vitality and freshness.