You could say Exoprimal was a little under the radar prior to release, but word of mouth for Capcom’s online thrid-person shooter has been building since the games release last week. Does the epic bout between exosuit powered humans & hordes of dinosaurs end up being as good as it sounds? Lets take a look….
It’s 2043 and your squad is caught in a vortex during a mission and find themselves downed on Bikitoa Island, during the crash landing you bailed out an exosuit to land in a mysterious 2040 alternate timeline. Here an AI called Leviathan has pulled you to partake in wargames against dinosaurs and other exosuit users from many different points in time to gether combat data. Surviving this you are returned to your time and make it back to your downed crew to ponder just what the hell is going on…
You wouldn’t really expect a deep story in a GAAS game, but Capcom went ahead and tried anyway. Sure, the story is pretty goofy (basically a rogue AI using time travel to pull dinosaurs from the past and put them with mutants to fight folk in exosuits from the future) but the game takes it seriously enough to include a lot of lore to unlock and high quality cinematics to keep the story moving along – lore unlocks as you level up and story progresses after a set amount of missions completed. It gives you something extra to look forward to over the 25 hours or so it’ll take till you get the last cutscene.
You get a decent quality to the visuals given its Capcom, but don’t expect to be too blown away. The highlight of the game is no doubt the various rigs you’ll get to play, each is packed with character and plenty of details to keep each looking unique – you’ll easily be able to see who your squad-mates are playing as. Enemies can fare just as well, the bosses and some large dinosaurs can be a spectacle, and if they ain’t then the size of some hordes will be as what looks like a hundred dinosaurs charge you down. Probably the weakest aspect is the environments. They don’t look bad or anything, just more along the lines of serviceable, aside from the odd nice vista which can make a decent backdrop to a fight.
The serviceable nature also extends to audio. If there’s a BGM I didn’t really notice, though the radio chatter that can keep you updated on your squads status is appreciated. This is all brought to you in what looks to be 4K/60. I say looks as the game does show some tell-tale signs of RE engines checkerboard rendering and the framerate can dip to the low 50’s on the odd occasion (masked well if you have a VRR display) To be fair the fast paced nature of the game means you’ll likely not notice these things unless you really look for them. Actually another great aspect was the server/game stability. In all the time played I’ve suffered no lag or disconnection issues at all – smooth non-stop online play.
As a third person live service game from Capcom, the gunplay is unsurprisingly fast and frantic as your squad completes objectives and slays dinosaurs. These dinosaurs come in simple guises, but their power & size grows quickly and the game will eventually start throwing in modified versions of them too to mix things up. Missions are usually PvE for the most part, with the final section having the option of PvP if you so choose it. You may wanna stick to pure PvE at first to build up some upgrades to apply to a suit or two, player rank & suit rank can furnish with new goodies or chests to open for cosmetics. Seamlessly switching your exosuit during missions not only helps your team but can go some way to advancing a few upgrades at a time. While the missions themselves don’t change up much at first, situations can arise as you progress which can add some spectacle, such as hordes of dino’s and boss battles that require more from your team than just itchy trigger fingers.
The aforementioned exosuits is where most of the variety will come in, especially in the early hours. There’s a few in 3 categories that focus on tanking (soaking up damage), assault (dealing damage) and support (heal & support teammates). Within each category the variety is also good. I mainly play Witchdoctor that focuses on healing and paralysing foes, but whenever the need arose I could switch, seamlessly during a mission, into Nimbus that pared back on the support for big increase in damage output. Its this switching that is key to this game, a balanced squad has more of a chance in getting the adjectives done fast and the higher your score the more XP is earned. I’ve leaned on the suit variety here too as it helps alleviate one of the main bugbears with the game – the early grind. The first dozen or so levels you’ll rank will feel as if its the same mission every time for several hours, and it kinda is as things don’t really open up until you hit around level 12. It’s no doubt caused many to ditch the game early, but it is worth ploughing through to get the most out of the game.
To be honest I do enjoy a little co-op styled GAAS (My most played game for months has been Darktide) and ExoPrimal is no exception. The general gunplay is pretty slick, game looks good aside from the odd framerate dip, plenty of unique exosuits to try, and a surprisingly interesting story & lore that’s just the right amount of goofy. The first several hours can be a killer though which has no doubt impacted player count already, there’s also the forced Capcom ID malarkey, with the usual future of a live service game being generally unknown that draws caution. While I enjoyed it, it’s difficult to say if everyone will, but it’s worth a try as there’s a lot of fun to be had if it clicks.
Exosuits Vs dinosaurs is just as fun & goofy as it sounds – if it clicks.