Exoprimal is a PvPvE action shooter developed by CAPCOM. A mysterious event has caused worldwide invasions of dinosaurs; as an exofighter, it’s your job to cull these incursions wherever possible. After an accident, you’re dragged into the core of this event and, along with your team, are expected to work out an ever-developing conspiracy.
To be completely honest, going into this, I had minor expectations for the story, assuming it was going to be very simple and one-note, acting as a vessel for the gameplay… I was pleasantly mistaken. After crash-landing on the island of Bikitoa, you’re mysteriously teleported into the past — the year 2040, the day the dinosaur invasions began. Another exofighter by the name of Magnum informs you that Leviathan, a rogue AI, has dragged you into this time to partake in his wargames, a series of combat trials Leviathan is using for unknown means. After this wargame concludes, you’re sent back into your time and are dragged back whenever Leviathan deems it time. I found this to be a perfectly satisfactory introduction; it sets up the main gameplay well and adds enough motivation for the characters to try and figure out what's going on. Going ahead, most of the story is told through the “Analysis Map”, a series of interconnected nodes which reveal small segments of the mystery as you progress. This also has some side details referring to the rest of your crew: Lorenzo, Alders, Majesty and Sandy.
This is the area of the story I genuinely really love; they each have very distinct personalities and pasts while not feeling bland or too forced. Many interactions and conversations feel incredibly natural, helped by the stellar voice acting. It isn’t perfect, though, as there’s quite an exaggerated amount of nodes on the “Analysis Map”, which makes story progression occasionally feel like somewhat of a grind, especially when so many advancements in gameplay are also tied to the story.
The gameplay is Exoprimal’s greatest aspect. The only mode currently available is Dino Survival: two teams of five deploy into a wargame and have to complete set objectives throughout the map, all while racing against the other team. These objectives range from killing a set amount of certain dinosaurs to defending a specific area or object for a set period. Once these have all been completed, the team is deployed into the “final mission”, another objective/set of objectives; whichever team finishes first wins. However, to spice things up a little, in the PvP mode, the teams are deployed on opposite sides of the same map, leading to the last push for the final objective being very PvP-centric. This also works alongside the “Dominator” system: each team is given one use at some point during the “final mission”. The “Dominator” allows the user to summon a player-controlled dinosaur and send it to the other side of the field. Players are given the ability to complete these objectives with a vast quantity of exosuits: Tanks, Assaults, and Supports, all with remarkably unique abilities and playstyles.
Combat pacing is incredibly fast, emphasising this speed to always remain ahead of the opposing team but never feels impossible to follow. Different exosuits highlight vastly different playstyles, which can help cater to people who may want to slow the game down a little, such as Roadblock, a very traditional tank, all the way to the people who want to embrace the game's immense speed, with a suit such as Zephyr, a highly mobile, melee focused Assault unit utilising tonfa and fast-paced combos. Everything feels surprisingly well-balanced so far, too, having taken advantage of the different possibilities and playstyles, there wasn’t a single suit I found to be unusable. “Dominators” were the only part of the game I found an issue with balance; they seem incredibly strong, and many of the suits have little to no chance to deal with them alone. While this isn’t outright a huge problem because they can be killed quickly with good coordination in public lobbies, this is a near impossibility.
Luckily enough, in the era of broken and messy AAA games, Exoprimal ran perfectly. Visually, it isn’t outstanding, but by no means does it look bad. Performance-wise, I had zero issues or hiccups; server stability was perfectly fine, and I noticed no bugs.
Content is, without a doubt, this title's biggest downfall, having only the singular Dino Survival mode at launch. The variety is massively lacking, and despite the very entertaining gameplay loop, it’s very hard to justify the £50 price tag for such a small amount of content; if you don’t fall massively in love with the gameplay, you’ll most definitely lose interest very quickly. Exoprimal’s progression systems are also relatively lacklustre, seemingly taking more of a safer, balanced approach over giving the player tangible increases in strength. As each exosuit levels up, they gain access to new modules, which change the way certain abilities act, such as increasing the damage and range on Vigilant’s freeze ability. This system isn’t particularly bad; it just doesn’t feel all that good, as progression seems incredibly hard to notice. When tied to the game's lack of content, it emphasises these issues twofold.
Exoprimal (Reviewed on Windows)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
As a whole package, I found myself having fun with Exoprimal, but the harsh lack of content and weak progression systems really hold it back. It has potential, and maybe a fantastic game later on, but right now it’s difficult to justify the price tag.