For a game with “Dino Forecasts” that warns of thousands of dinosaurs raining down portals in the sky, what’s surprising about Exoprimal is that it’s somehow even weirder than that premise makes it. suggests. It’s a competitive – which is also sometimes cooperative – hero shooter that pits two teams of five players against each other in dinosaur hunting war games, where they face off indirectly – but also sometimes directly – in separate parallel universes for see who can complete a purse of objectives faster. It takes a lot of familiar elements from team-based multiplayer games like Overwatch and Team Fortress 2, and combines them with wave-based survival elements to create an experience that feels utterly unique, and a whole lot of fun if you’re able to. find a well-balanced team.
After about 10 hours, my first impressions of Exoprimal are mostly positive. The competition’s twist to become more efficient at killing literally thousands of dinosaurs is a fresh and fun take on the competitive hero shooter genre, all 10 exosuits all fill satisfying roles and have fun abilities with great synergies, and it There were some nice surprises in the way the campaign story bled into the multiplayer space.
If it wasn’t already very clear, Exoprimal is a multiplayer only game. There’s no single-player campaign, though there is an interestingly woven if somewhat convoluted plot that contextualizes each multiplayer match. Essentially, you and your crew are stuck on the mysterious island of Bikitoa – an island that’s been shrouded in mystery ever since dinosaurs fell from the sky three years ago – and are forced to engage in data collection war games. for the love of a malevolent AI named Leviathan.
Each match consists of a series of rounds with a variety of objectives, ranging from simply killing X number of dinos, to capturing checkpoints, to defeating an extra beefy dino trying to get at you. flee. Two teams compete in separate instances and try to complete their objectives faster than the opposing team can complete theirs, with the team that does so first having a head start in the final round. In fact, I really like this twist. Instead of focusing on hyper-precise precision, twitch reflexes, and map knowledge, you focus primarily on efficiency. Things like making sure you stay on top of your cooldowns, using your special moves so they deal the most damage to the most enemies, and supporting your teammates so they can do their job too. . It takes the same skills you would use in other hero shooters, but applying them in new and interesting ways.
In the final round, provided you opted for PVP, the two parallel universes converge and you can interact directly with the opposing team while trying to push your payload towards the objective. At certain points in the match, Leviathan will also assign a “Dominator” to one of the teams, giving them the ability to transform into a giant Carnotaurus or Triceratops and wreak havoc on the opposing team for a limited period of time.
ExoPrimal Screens (June 2022 Update)
Each match you complete unlocks more nodes on the Analysis Map, a huge board that tells the story of Exoprimal. The idea is that the more matches you play, the more data your team receives and the more they are able to learn about the various mysteries at the heart of the story. These mysteries include: what happened on Bikitoa Island three years ago, why is Leviathan running these war games, why are there even dinosaurs raining down from the sky first place, and the central point of the plot, how to escape from the island. From then on, Exoprimal didn’t really make me care about any of those mysteries, its characters, or its world, so heading to the analysis map after every match feels more like the obligation of a critic than anything else.
What’s kind of cool is how occasional story events will take place during otherwise normal multiplayer matches. In one match, an uninvited exosuit crashed the game, causing Leviathan to introduce new, deadlier dinosaurs in an attempt to eliminate the intrusion. My only wish is for these events to happen more frequently, because one of my biggest issues with Exoprimal right now is that five hours later repeat battles against the same dinosaurs in the same modes on the same maps begin to wreak havoc.
The 10 exoprimal exosuits currently available are divided into three categories: Assault, Support and Tank. Assault suits tend to focus on max damage per second, supports are naturally the ones you’ll turn to for healing and crowd control, and tanks are on the front line with abilities that make them particularly adapted to absorb damage and aggro. Within these classes there is a wide variety of playstyles as well. mobility that make other exosuits downright sluggish in comparison. Compare that to Barrage, which uses all sorts of area effect attacks, from stun grenades, to fire grenades, to ranged mines, to even transforming into a human missile as its ultimate.
If the latter looks a lot like Overwatch’s Junkrat, you’re right. There is a lot parallels to Overwatch characters, some a bit cheekier than others. And while I wish there had been a bit more originality in some of Exoprimal’s exosuit designs, they’re generally different enough to never look like carbon copies.
The teamwork-focused design of Exoprimal’s multiplayer matches also leads to the all-too-familiar problem of being a blast when you have a communicative, well-balanced team, and a very frustrating experience when you don’t. This is a problem compounded by the progression system, which encourages you to stick to a single exosuit by assigning each its own level progression. The more you play with an exosuit, the faster you’ll unlock the advanced mods which can drastically affect its power, but that seems at odds with the hot-swappable nature of real mode. If I want to focus on unlocking mods for Zephyr, but my team already has three other Assault characters, then I’m put in the awkward position of having to beg someone else to change, change me, and to slow my progress with Zephyr, or stubbornly refuse to move and just play the match with a bad team composition. It’s not an ideal situation at all, and I wish there was a system that allowed me to keep progressing at the level of an exosuit without having to play with that exosuit.
I’m still a long way from giving a final verdict on Exoprimal, with my crawl map completion percentage at around 51% and 27 games played. I’m very curious to see how the Dino Survival mode continues to evolve over the course of the story, and to see what other surprises await me, like the one that happened to me earlier with the uninvited exosuit that suddenly planted an otherwise normal game. Exoprimal is full of great ideas, but the real question is whether or not I’ll be interested in staying once he shows all his cards.
Mitchell Saltzman is an Editorial Producer at IGN. You can find him on twitter @JurassicRabbit