Far Cry Primal review: massacres, mammoths, mayhem

The name Far Cry is synonymous with guns, goons, and all manner of open-world activities. The series has been going strong since 2004, but developer Ubisoft has decided to change things up a bit.

Far Cry Primal is a fresh aesthetic take on the series, and yes, it actually works.

Far Cry Primal takes place around 10 000 BC, when humankind still scoured the land for shelter, hunted mammoth beasts, and explored the great unknown Earth. You play as Takkar, a generic member of a clan that’s wiped out by a fierce sabertooth tiger.

Takkar can also tame animals, which comes in pretty handy, and apparently means you play as some sort of chosen and great leader. You then stumble upon the land of Oros where you begin to rebuild your tribe and take back the land.


You and your clansmen will fight against two rival tribes, who, if the tables were turned, would be in your position as well. Far Cry Primal is about a man massacring his way across a new land, conquering beasts and rival tribes. Maybe is is an allegory for modern corporations?

Overall the story isn’t all that exciting and consists mostly of people giving you quests that they’re too lazy to do, or require a proxy in these tribal wars. It feels as though you’re more of a pawn in Oros for the Wenja tribe than an actual player in the grand scheme of things. It somewhat reminds me of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Takkar seems similar to Punished Snake.

Far Cry Primal is about a man massacring his way across a new land, conquering beasts and rival tribes.

The story is also anti-climatic and will leave you with some post-endgame depression for a good while. Not in a good, thinking way, but rather a “what was it all for?” sort of vibe.


Most of the quests consist of going to location A, then B, and finally C, finding an item or two, or killing a few people. There’s not a lot of variety beyond standard open-world video game tropes. A fun though sometimes frustrating element to these missions is the ability to track. You’ll be able to follow scents and blood in a special vision to track animals or people. You may spend around half of the game doing this in order to give you a better view of the world at hand.

A mammoth ran through camp and killed all of the captives. It was amazing

It’s possible for animal models to glitch when viewing them in this mode, but it’s a rare occurrence. Apart from that, the graphics in Far Cry Primal are sublime and the developers at Ubisoft Montreal have really outdone themselves with the game. Character faces have flaws, freckles, and a range of other blemishes that add realism; animals are funny little bastards; and the scenery is just exquisite.

Like other Ubisoft titles, I would often just stroll through the world while taking in the sights and sounds of the night sky, dawn, or one of the many lakes. It really is a gorgeous world to behold.


A great attention to detail has also been put into all of the furry and not so furry creatures in Oros. Too bad the majority of them are jerks. There are too many times when Takkar would be minding his own business, slaughtering some opposing tribe members from a distance with a bow when a sabertooth tiger would maul him. The gall of it all. During one of the rescue-the-villager missions, a mammoth ran through camp and killed all of the captives. It was amazing.

Apart from the animals, one of the harder aspects of Far Cry Primal are the stealth sections. It’s easy for opponents to spot you and blow your cover and near impossible to regain said cover besides making a mad dash out of the area. There were also times when I’d hide in a bush and rival clansmen would run up to me and thump me over the head, though it was rare.


Ubisoft has also put a lot of work into the sounds of Oros. The team created three distinct new dialects for the game, which is each allocated to one of the tribes. Not to mention the soundtrack which perfectly fits each and every scene in the game. It’s audio heaven.

As with most Far Cry titles, Primal is filled with a range of collectibles, trinkets, side-missions, and explorable areas. Everything gives you XP, which you’ll need in order to upgrade your character and his abilities. The amount of content available in the game is incredible and will keep you playing for some weeks to come.

Game information:

Release Date: 23 February 2016
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Engine: Dunia Engine 2
Genre: Action-adventure
Platform(s): Xbox One (review platform), PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
Launch Price (RRP): R699-R999
Industry Average Score: 79/100

Verdict: Far Cry Primal is one of those games that keeps you coming back for more. Yes, it has a few niggles here and there, such as the story, but they’re easily overlooked in the grand scheme of things. It’s bound to keep you playing for nights on end.

Score: 8/10



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