Far Cry Primal: The Stone Age Doesn't Care About You

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Stone Age is one of my favorite periods in our species' relatively short history. Far Cry has been one of my favorite game series since Far Cry 2 in 2008. The newest game in that series is Far Cry Primal which takes place during the Stone Age, drew my attention long before its release. I considered purchasing it for either PS4 or XBox One but settled on my gorgeous new PC. So far, I've been killed by a mastodon, a bear, a jaguar, a cannibal and a pig. Even as a longtime Far Cry fan, life in Oros takes a little getting used to.

Primal goes back to 10,000 B.C. and tasks us with wiping out a rival clan that has scattered and hunted our own. I thought for sure there was some sort of rug waiting to be pulled out from underneath me, and that within an hour I would invent the crossbow or find a blunderbuss left behind by some aristocratic time traveler.

Granted, I'm not too far into the game as of yet, but I have not encountered any such rug. I am still wandering around with the same basic weapons, trying not to die as often as possible. I've encountered some truly terrifying beasts who have taught me that I am not the most dangerous badass in this game. I'd grown used to overwhelming the enemies and manipulating the wildlife  in Far Cry 3 and 4, so I approached the Stone Age scenario with similar braggadocio.

I quickly learned that this was not the way to approach combat in Primal. As a primer, I should note that I've been playing on hard, with the minimap and reticle turned off in order to provide a more immersive experience. I didn't start playing that way, but after browsing the interface options, I decided to dial things up a bit. I expected a challenge. I felt that I was ready. I believe I mentioned a certain pig in my introduction. Allow me to elaborate on that particular encounter.

I was out hunting at about mid day when I spotted a plump hog on the side of a steep hill. I'd had great luck dealing with goats and a few deer and though my supplies (read arrows and spears) were low, I thought that for sure I had this pig's number. I crouched low in the bushes, arrow knocked, waiting for the right moment. Finally, I let loose the arrow and watched it sail through the air and land directly between his eyes. The pig twitched and squealed before running directly at me. He reached me seemingly in an instant and let loose the most savage flurry of attacks I have seen outside of a professional Street Fighter tournament.

Yes. That is an eagle carrying away a goat.

As the screen faded to black, I had a moment to contemplate what had just happened. I was legitimately surprised by a Far Cry game. I loved the stories in 3 and 4 but neither one of them offered the kind of challenge I'd been looking for since I survived the harsh and brutal world of Far Cry 2. For the first time in eight years, I have found a game that doesn't give a shit about me. I'm not ready for a full review of Primal as of yet, but I know I'll enjoy getting there.