A good Samaritan gifted me a copy of Far Cry Primal. So far I've played the game for 18 hours and it's time to post the initial review of the game.
Features & Comparison to older titles
Far Cry Primal brings back some nice features from Far Cry 2, most notably the ability to create Save games and freely save/load them. The benchmark tool found in the game options is also a nice addition.
Seeing these features brought back feels like the PC version of the game is actually designed for PC. The in-game menus look like they were made for keyboard & mouse. There are actual, click-able buttons! Oh and no "Press any key to continue".
There's also options for multi-monitor support: You can select the main monitor (where the GUI is displayed).
The game indeed partly feels like a re-skinned Far Cry 4, but not as much as I expected. Even though Ubisoft recycled Far Cry 4 's map pretty well (according to this comparison), it feels completely different and you wouldn't notice it unless you were aware of it. Some goes for the IGN's video comparison of similar locations.
Here's a list of recycled game mechanics I've discovered so far:
- Takedowns -> Pretty much the same.
- Radio/Belltowers -> Bonfires
- Craftable boosts -> Instead of having to craft these in advance, the dosage is crafted when activated, assuming you have the necessary resources. I think this is a more streamlined approach as it removes the unnecessary step. After all, all drugs are consumed by wrapping them around a raw piece of meat. Yummy.
Graphics and performance
The graphics of the game are absolutely stunning. When combined with a steady +60 frame rate, it creates an illusion of photo realism. The Orors feels very alive.
Performance-wise I'm able to run the game at maximum settings with frame rates bouncing between 60 and 100.
1920 x 1080, Intel i7 5960X @ 4.3GHz, MSI GTX 980Ti GAMING 6G, 32GB of RAM, Geforce-driver version: 362.00 (released on March 1st, 2016, "Game Ready: Far Cry Primal")
Updating to "Game Ready" drivers hardly changed the frame rates.
The game feels easy. It's easy to play, easy to kill enemies, and easy to get killed by a pack of wolves. There are a lot of features that are making the gameplay more "convenient". At the same time these features are also decreasing the difficulty and the punishment of dying, letting your beast die, etc. At the moment, all I need for a new Sabertooth Tiger (if it happens to die, of course) is 3 red flowers. I could also go and tame a new one, in case finding 3 red flowers is too hard. Personally I think you should not be able to "revive" your dead pets by just throwing some magical petals in the air. It's just far too "convenient".
Having a beast quickly becomes a necessity. Not only does it scare the other predators away, but it's also your personal, undetectable hitman. A cave bear just "happened" to attack our outpost. You know, the type of a bear you only see in the northern parts of Oros. Totally not suspicious. If that wasn't sarcastic enough for you, here's a quick guide on how to clear an outpost without being detected:
- Scout for enemies with your owl. Drop bombs if you have them available.
- Order your beast (hitman) to kill the enemies, one by one. If the health of your pet drops too low, give a move order back to your hiding spot and heal the beast with some meat. It's like repairing vehicles in Far Cry 2, 3, and 4. However this time the vehicle can be remotely controlled. Who would have thought going back 10,000 years would bring such technology.
- Repeat until all reachable enemies are dead. Snipe the watch towers with a longbow. Or drop stingbombs with the owl. All nicely done from a safe distance.
When you manage to piss off a group of mammoths, you are in trouble. It's absolutely terrifying to run away from one.
The animals seem to be able to move around really well and there's very little situations where they can't reach you. Unfortunately all animals seem to follow the same pattern before attacking: Turn towards the player, growl at least once, and then attack. During this period most of the beasts can be killed with just one arrow between the eyes. Thanks to the animation the creature has to go through, the player has plenty of time doing it.
There are situations where the enemy tribe members can detect you within a fairly long distance, even in the dark, while they are carrying a huge-ass torch. In general it feels like they can almost smell you.
Since Far Cry 3, there have been 4 main role-based enemy classes: Sharpshooter, assaulter, "molotov thrower", and heavy. Primal includes all these classes. Except for throwing molotovs, poison bombs and firebombs are being thrown at you, depending on the tribe you are fighting against. Remember how shooting at the molotov carrier ignited him? Yep, this also happens in Primal.
My #1 way of taking down a heavy is to use the deadly combination of a stingbomb and a burning arrow. Apparently fire and bees work really well together.
Storyline and quests/missions
One of the biggest improvements has to be the ability to accept as many missions as you want and only begin the mission once you reach the destination location and accept it there. This way you don't have to constantly run/fast travel between your home village and the target locations.
Overall the game is likable. Initially the game is extremely hard as most of the bigger animals can easily one-shot you. After buying some additional health slots and learning how to resist enemy attacks, even the largest beasts can no longer take you down by surprise.
Some changes that I'd make:
- Instead of taming animals by going "shhhhhhh", the player would have to find the beast's nest and take one of the cubs. The player would have to constantly feed the new cub and train it. This would be a more realistic approach and would involve some cute cubs. It would also give more value to your beasts.
- Dead pet is dead pet, forever. You have to re-tame another one if you wish to have it back.
- Collecting beehives is far too easy. Could use smoke of a torch and then proceed collecting it? In addition to that, the player would have to craft leather pouches. Something to store the stunned bees. Right now it seems that you carry pieces of live beehive in your bag.
- The enemy should definitively attack your owl. It's far too easy to kill everything with the very convenient stingbombs. It would seem this has been tried to fix by making the AI move towards your position.
- Fast travel can only be started from a fast travel location.
I'm certainly enjoying the game. I recommend it to those of who really liked the crafting system in Far Cry 3 and 4. Even when limited to primal weapons there's still enough to choose from.
I have yet to decide (March 1st, 2016) whether or not I should get Far Cry Primal (shortened to "Primal" for the rest of this blog post). If the game would at least feature a CO-OP mode it would be easier to justify the full triple-A title pricing, which in European Rupees is 59,99€.
However I'm a long-time modder of the Far Cry Series (since Far Cry 2 ) and the game certainly has some potential on the modding front.
A fried of mine was kind enough to provide some Primal .fat files. Here's what I've found out so far:
- Primal's FAT version is 9, which is exactly the same as Far Cry 4's.
- All the usual archives are present, including common and patch.
- My most recent set of filelists for Far Cry 4 archives results 1384 (36,81%) known files of 3760 for common.fat, which is pretty good compared to Far Cry 4's common.fat: 89,73% (2944/3281)
Based on the findings above, Primal should be mod-able, assuming Ubisoft hasn't decided to surprise us with a protection against edited .dat/.fat files.
Later today (March 1st) RazorFinnish received a copy of the Primal common.dat and common.fat files. An attempt to unpack the common.dat with Gibbed's Dunia2 tools revealed at least 2 critical differences to Far Cry 4 .fat/.dat format:
- Platform identifier (PC) in the .fat header now seems to be 0x01040000 instead of 0x01030000
- ZLib compression for .dat entries appears to use a different version, incompatible with Gibbed's Dunia2 Tools.
Hopefully these obstacles can be cleared - allowing Far Cry Primal modding to officially begin. Stay tuned for upcoming updates.