When is a bow better than a gun? When is a spear in the chest of your enemies better than a combat knife or machete? The answer…all the time. With the recent announcement of Far Cry: Primal, we of the mighty Troll begin to wonder if regression is truly as beautiful as it looks. It certainly isn’t a pretty word, so why has Ubisoft opted to venture into the past instead of forward like the rest of the gaming world? They have done well over the past few years with a spectacular array of beautiful gaming innovations. So is this a step forward into the light of new ideas, or a mistake? When the teaser first started appearing on the murky recesses of the Internet, a lot of people thought that the long-awaited “Far Cry With Dinosaurs” was about to show its savage face. But, it looks as if we’re set in the Ice Age, which means no Dinos. Although, there was that one time when Manny and Sid had to fight a few rowdy reptilian neighbours. What was that movie called?
So anachronistic dinosaurs, maybe. And mammoths, with big pointy tusks that will no doubt skewer you and your buddies during the supposed storyline. One can only hope that seeing your brethren crushed under the feet of a mammoth is as awesome as it sounds. There are no guns though, which is a Far Cry prerequisite is it not? Without guns or grenades of some sort, Far Cry: Primal would fall out of the Shooter category and into, let’s say, RPG? Well, the common shooter has been redefined lately by masterworks such as that of Fallout, Bioshock and the recent Wolfenstein. Then again, these titans don’t exactly fit into the average genre of the Shooter. With the other installments of Far Cry appealing to all generations of gamers, including a slew of teenagers hell-bent on getting their next CoD fix. Why has the mighty Ubisoft opted to step back into the tribal era of man and mammoth? And why does the guy in most of the footage look like Vaas? Weird.
Everything is better with bows. That’s freaking why. Or am I just a bit of a ranged DPS nut. Hunter, Ranger, Archer, Legolas fanboy, take your pick. It’s not just the Bow and Arrows though. The spears, the hunting of one of the largest, most spectacular animals in history. The mystical cave art, hunter-gatherer barbarian types, sabretooth tigers, bears, and what looks like an offering to some sort of sun god. Also, there are MAMMOTHS. MAMMOTHS! I mean, deep down we all have this primal (I get it now) urge to fight a mammoth, right? When last have you fought a Mammoth? And don’t mention Skyrim to me. Those big hairy lumps of elephant DNA were too friendly. They also had the odd giant watching over them, ready to club you with a bad attitude. I digress, just a little though because we seem to have found ourselves in the Stone Age, or the Ice Age. Either way there are probably a few giants just waiting to throw a boulder at your face. The setting is similar. The people not so much, although they have the look and feel of the Forsworn. Could it be a mere re-skin? Does Ubisoft seek to trick us with mere model changes and a visual tweak, or do they truly have something up their animal skin sleeves. It’s a bold move. To move forward with tech and tricky plots and then suddenly take a step back into prehistory. This is a good thing in my opinion. The potential is enthralling, which also means it scares the pudu out of me.
There is still a buzz, and it’s getting louder by the instant. The subject, that Far Cry: Primal may just be a clone of its predecessors. A rehash of quirky intros, repetitive gameplay, fetch quests and a dull ending to round of your nerd sandwich. Kill and skin four Sabretooth Tigers and use their hides to make a new bag for more loot. Join the hunt for a Mammoth, keep your fellows alive and kill the large hulking animal before it kills you. Then suddenly, it steps on your buddy and you’re’ painfully introduced to the shocking emotion the game has to offer, *Sniff*. Personally I don’t see what the fuss is about. The world enjoyed the last two iterations of Far Cry. Vaas in his infinite glory, introduced the world to a new breed of psycho, which was evident by him having a little thing for Die Antwoord (Ugh!), and a dark desire for the torture of the human spirit. Then out of the Cat Cave came Sitra, a dark temptress to illustrate causality to the protagonist. Turn the volume up a few years and we have Pagan Min, our Bond villain of Far Cry 4 and a maniacal dictator to boot. He has a history with the protagonist, and sends our Ajay reeling on a journey of self-discovery and revolution. Ahhh, this is Gaming at its finest. They had good storylines, visual bliss, hellish twists and enough bullets and explosions to make Arnie proud. So, Ubisoft, do you continue the series’ tradition of recycling its old mechanics and moody models and possibly fail to move the series forward in a meaningful way. Or, is it your intention to scare us into a new era of tribal game mechanics and blissful combat with the spear and arrow.
Truth be told, I’m looking forward to it. Mammoths!