Gaming

Far Cry Primal's savage world a visual spectacle

Far Cry Primal occurs in the fictional Oros valley during the Stone Age. The main character Takkar (left) has the ability to tame and ride certain wild beasts, such as the sabretooth tiger and the woolly mammoth (below).
Far Cry Primal occurs in the fictional Oros valley during the Stone Age. The main character Takkar (above) has the ability to tame and ride certain wild beasts, such as the sabretooth tiger and the woolly mammoth.PHOTO: UBISOFT
Far Cry Primal occurs in the fictional Oros valley during the Stone Age. The main character Takkar (left) has the ability to tame and ride certain wild beasts, such as the sabretooth tiger and the woolly mammoth (below).
Far Cry Primal occurs in the fictional Oros valley during the Stone Age. The main character Takkar) has the ability to tame and ride certain wild beasts, such as the sabretooth tiger and the woolly mammoth (above).PHOTO: UBISOFT

Authentic single-player experience let down by thin plot and lack of multiplayer mode

Exotic scenery has been a hallmark of previous Far Cry games, which have taken gamers to places like the Himalayas and the Pacific islands. But the change in scenery is arguably the most drastic in the latest instalment, Far Cry Primal, which occurs in the fictional Oros valley during the Stone Age (10,000BC).

Instead of guns and grenades, your character Takkar, who leads the Wenja tribe against the cannibalistic Udam tribe and the sun-worshipping, human-sacrificing Izila tribe, fights with spears and slings.

Primal will be familiar to those who have played previous Far Cry games. You explore the open world, capture territory from the other factions and participate in missions given by non-playing characters (NPCs) that also further the plot. You also craft gear and weapons by gathering resources such as flint and wood, as well as hunt animals for skins.

Oros teems with danger. Wild beasts will attack one another and you. It gets worse at night as more predators come out. Fortunately, Takkar has a special hunter vision that, when enabled, highlights enemies and items in yellow.

Takkar also has the ability to tame and ride certain wild beasts, such as the sabretooth tiger and the woolly mammoth. It is the Stone Age equivalent of driving a vehicle, with the quick sabretooth tiger akin to a motorbike and the mammoth akin to a tank.

  • 7/10

  • RATING

  • PRICE: $64.90 (PC, version tested), $82.90 (PlayStation 4), $82.90 (Xbox One)

  • GENRE: First-person shooter

My favourite tactic is to ride a mammoth into an enemy camp and let it wreak havoc. A single swipe from its trunk will send an enemy flying to his death, if he had managed to avoid getting stomped in the first place.

Less exciting, but almost as effective: Takkar's owl. In addition to providing aerial surveillance, this owl can take down enemies, like a Stone Age combat drone, with a single strike. It can also drop bombs.

In comparison, melee combat feels unsatisfying because of the limited weapons - you use either a spear or a club. I preferred the bow, which pretty much works like a rifle; but essentially, you are switching between just three types of weapons.

Developer Ubisoft had explained that it dropped the multiplayer mode to focus on the single player experience. The company deserves credit for creating a visually stunning and detailed game world that feels authentic. Ubisoft even developed a fictional language with distinct dialects for the three tribes.

However, there is little motivation to continue the game after finishing the story without a multiplayer mode.

The plot, too, is more functional than inspired and the two main villains are forgettable, especially compared with Far Cry 4's complex antagonist and his insane but entertaining monologues.

• Verdict: Far Cry Primal sticks to the franchise's tried-and-tested gameplay, but the pedestrian storyline and the lack of a multiplayer mode may turn off some fans of the series.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2016, with the headline 'Gaming Far Cry Primal's savage world a visual spectacle'. Print Edition | Subscribe