The Far Cry series has always been a favourite of mine, with Blood Dragon topping the chart in my opinion. Now Ubisoft have stripped back humanity in this latest instalment and thrown us back into the age of cave dwellers, rocks and long forgotten beasts. I think that the developers have taken a risk with this entry, getting rid of all the technology we have come to expect in modern day shooters and giving us a loincloth and a rock in their place, is brave to say the least. Over the last week I have made a conscious effort to stay away from other reviews to form my own, unsullied opinion, as this can muddy your view of a game before you even start.

There is nothing like jumping on your ride and feeling the wind in your hair.

Far Cry Primal does not have a massively intricate story, but rather one of pure survival of the fittest. As you delve deeper into the campaign you soon realise that it is a pure struggle between three tribes to dominate and become the alpha male in a world that is harsher than Siberia. You play as Takkar, a member of the Wenja tribe. The Wenja are the weakest of the tribes and the least advanced as far as intelligence goes. Takkar is tasked with bringing his dying tribe together and forming a strong society that will survive together against all odds. The other tribes are the Udam, who have become cannibals, and the Izila who are the most advanced of the tribes and are just as vicious. Takkar at first finds himself alone in the land of Oros, but soon comes across a medicine man called Tensay who tells him of the plight of the Wenja. Takkar vows to bring them together and so it begins.

Travelling across Oros, a primitive region of Europe, you will come across a few Wenja tribes people that are integral to your survival. Like Tensay the others will teach you much needed skills, Tensay teaches you how to tame some of the wild creatures that roam throughout the land such as Saber Tooth Tigers, Cave Bears and Badgers, who I have to say pound for pound fight like a Tiger on acid. In order to gather your people together you must travel across the land from the cold wastelands of the North to the tropical warm South. Although you can go anywhere you wish on the map from the beginning of the game, travelling to the North has some restrictions in the form of the cold weathe. As you get the important tribe members together you soon learn the skill of winter clothing that enables you to go North for more than a few minutes before freezing to death. You also start to build up a village base with these members, where you can build them huts and upgrade to learn more important skills.

Side missions in Far Cry Primal are also important, more often than not when you are travelling through Oros certain Wenja missions will pop up. These include killing the captors of a Wenja member to escorting some Wenja to a safe place. Every time you do these side missions you will add more tribes people to your village, growing the Wenja’s strength and numbers. These missions do become highly repetitive once you have completed the four or so different types and add nothing to the overall enjoyment other than gaining another member for doing them. I am a bit disappointed by these as with a land like Oros and the setting Far Cry Primal portrays, the developers had scope to make these missions variable and enjoyable. The land of Oros itself does give off a sense of pure survival, as you encounter many dangerous and wild animals across every part of this vast land. Some of these you will be able to tame once you have the skills, but for me the most enjoyable thing was being able to ride certain ones, there was nothing like riding into a stronghold on the back of a Mammoth and simply destroying the place while tossing enemies into the sky with the animals big tusks.

Nigtht time across Oros can be a more dangerous affair with many of the more vicious animals on the roam during these hours. Luckily Takkar does know how to light a fire and sometimes this is the only way to fend off the roaming packs of Wolves. Gathering resources is also an important task and you should never walk past anything you find, stone, wood and plants are all needed to make weapons and medicine, while the skins of animals can upgrade your weapon carrying capabilities as well as the huts of the more important members of the Wenja. I can’t help feeling that the developers missed a trick or two when it comes to upgrading your village. All you can upgrade are those huts and your own cave, it would definitely have been a more meaningful experience if you had to make defences, upgrade walls or even build look-out towers. The fact that you can’t makes the village seem just like any other camp on the map instead of the safe haven you have set up to protect the Wenja. As with all these types of games there are many enemy camps scattered throughout the map for you to take hold of, once you have killed all the enemies within the camp you are rewarded with extra tribe members and you will also be able to fast travel to that location in the future, cutting down on all that running through the wild.

Graphically I think that Far Cry Primal is not the best the series has ever looked, but it does give off that feeling of being in a land before time. Oros is simply alive with creatures and quite often an Eagle will swoop down from the sky and grab a Goat right in front of you before flying away with its kill. I don’t think that any other instalment of the series has given us a world that feels so alive or dangerous. The struggle just to survive the wild animals on a daily basis is enough to have you sneaking around when you hear a big cat roar, or you see Deer running in the opposite direction.

Far Cry Primal is a mix of missed opportunities, repetitive side missions, dangerous animals, warring tribes, and you. Dispite all of its flaws there is somthing that feels great about this game, much like Blood Dragon that did not really do anything new apart from looking all neon and adding in some T-Rex Dragon type animals, but it was a hell of a game. There are a lot of things that I would have loved to see in Primal, things that would not have broken the bank to add, such as a deeper crafting experience. For me however, Far Cry Primal is a step in the right direction for the series, too many titles are full of guns and guts and it was brilliant to get back to a time before all of the technology made it possible to hide behind a wall and take out an enemy two thousand yards away with a press of a button. If you are looking for an intricate story with twists and turns, full of machine guns and destroyed buildings then this game is not for you. However, if you are looking for something that puts you in pure survival mode where every kill is the difference between being a little less hungry or dying and there is not a light switch in sight, then Far Cry Primal is for you. There is just something empowering about strutting around with a Saber Tooth Tiger in toe.