When you smoosh things together, the result can be a great concept as long as it’s done in a tasteful manner. You can create many cool things when you borrow ideas from others and bring your flair. In the present for Capcom’s third-person shooter, Exoprimal this is mostly true. By taking gameplay elements from the likes of games such as Anthem and Capcom’s very own Monster Hunter, you get a really interesting experience. Capcom isn’t setting out to make a genre-defying dino shooter game, it doesn’t need to. Exoprimal does have its issues, but it takes what other games have used, and made its own. In doing so, Exoprimal should be able to stand on its own two or four dinosaur legs. Before diving into the game, consider reading this review on Exoprimal, it could make your decision easier to make.
On this island, there’s no such thing as safe
The story of Exoprimal is fairly easy to follow and uses a lot of tropes from other movies and various games. In the year 2040, mysterious portals opened up dropping dinosaurs and the genetically modified Neosaures causing massive problems for everyone. Think of the plot Pacific Rim and Jarrasic Park but throw in time travel, and the end result is Exoprimal. So humanity’s only chance to overcome the dino threat is the exosuits, which are piloted by mercenaries or other private contractors. Where you come in is three years after the events in 2043, where you and your rag-tag team of mercenaries called the Hammerheads have to participate in Wargames run by an AI called Levithan.
These Wargames send contestants back to the year 2040 to fight the hordes in the exosuits. While they’re fighting, Leviathan is capturing data from both the suits and the portals to predict the next attack in the current year 2043. As you progress through each Wargame, you slowly find out not everything is what it seems and that Levithan could have its own objective.
For this review of Exoprimal, I played through the whole story to find any strong points. The narrative isn’t really the strong suit for the game, but your crew of society’s rejects is pretty colorful. Starting with Alders who is the tech whiz of the team. He comes in handy because of his giant brain, but also his humanity. Then your squad leader, Lorenzo, plays the mechanic role. He in my eyes adds comedic value to the game, so he can at times be important. Majesty is the other pilot, while without giving away much of the story has certain issues with the Wargames, and rightfully so. She’s a fighter through and through. Sandy is the crew’s android assistant, and behind you is crucial to the mission. Then there’s you — literally you. You play as the voiceless protagonist named Ace, who you create with Exoprimal character creation options.
The story is downright forgettable, to take my point home I’m having a hard time coming up with memorable moments. This could be linked to the fact that each cut scene plays after several long missions, so you may even forget whats happening while you’re playing. Additionally, the story is buried under codexes you earn as you level up. You have to go out of your way to get the full story of Exoprimal. This is something not everyone may not want to do.
“In order to fight monsters, we created our own”
While the story nor the characters aren’t that memorable, Exoprimal’s gameplay does make its case quite well. For starters, you’re in these stronger-than-life exosuits, and my favorite part is being able to change them on the fly during the match. This made every single game I was in somewhat unique because I’m able to alter my strategy on demand. For the start, I’d use a suit, then for mid-game, I’d use another, and at the end, I’d use a suit that benefits that point of the match. So I was consistently being effective with what I was doing by changing my exosuit. Exoprimal leans heavily into teamwork, and you can see that quite evidently. Each exosuit isn’t good on its own, but when it’s fighting with a team, the synergy is quite explosive.
When a giant dinosaur drops from a teleporter, Exoprimal becomes something else. The healers are working behind to keep the tanks up, and the assault exosuits are trying to alleviate some of the pressure for the rest of the team. These moments happened more often than not because players that I ran into seemed to focus on chemistry more so.
Each suit has its own strengths and weaknesses, and learning them made me not pigeon hold myself to one. Capcom clearly took a lot of time in perfecting this mechanic, and will probably be the main selling point for Exoprimal.
On top of that, there will be more suites coming that are variants of the ten originals. Each with new meta and behave as the polar opposite of their original forms. For this review of Exoprimal, I was only able to use the initial ten.
Rinse and Repeat
Gamplay-wise, Exoprimal has fun moments, but expect to do a lot of the same almost all the time. Before you start each mission, you can select if you want the final mission to be PVP, PVE, or Random. For Random you get bonus XP.
Each mission is broken down into two sections, the first part and the final section. The first section is all PVE, so you’ll either have to cull dinosaurs, defend a VTOL, and more. Then for the second section which is much like the first, but depending on what you picked as the final mission, you’ll get that. Meaning it’ll be either against just dinosaurs, other players, or both. Also for the second section, you have the option of becoming the dinosaur. If you’re the losing team, you’ll get it first. This adds balance to the late game that does help keep players immersed and also changes the flow of the match. There’s also a handful of missions that takes all ten players in the match and pits them against a giant world boss. This adds some change and keeps things a little fresh.
Again, this review of Exoprimal is written before the first season, so this could change after that. However, it feels like Capcom should have put more into the modes because at the moment what’s available doesn’t have the staying power of the exosuits. In other words, there should be more content in the game before Season 1.
Even with the chaos of the multiplayer, it does get repetitive quite fast. Grinding becomes a chore at that point, but the exosuits somewhat balance everything out.
Professionalism can be bought
As mentioned earlier in the review Exoprimal is a live service game, so having a battlepass is nothing out of the ordinary. There’s the paid Survival pass, which has cosmetics currency and other exclusive items. Plus, you also have the free battlepass that acts the same way as in any other game.
At the time of writing this Exoprimal’s review, there’s nothing that really that justifies the purchase of Survival Pass. Even for the free pass, there’s nothing much there to really stands out. Maybe for the next few seasons, Capcom could work on this system — it needs to be rehauled.
Flesh and metal become one
The exosuits are one thing, but creating a build to your play style is a whole separate world. Each suit has three module slots that can equip any module that’s unlocked and bought. The customization aspect of Exoprimal isn’t that hard to follow either, pick three that you like and set them. You can even upgrade the modules with the currency you earn from the missions. Every exosuit has a unique set of modules they can only get. This can make creating build another strong aspect of Exoprimal.
There are also RIGS which is an ability that goes over your left shoulder. They can either be something to heal your teammates, shoot out a powerful laser, and much more. You unlock more by progressing through the story, so they’re easy to earn.
I spent a lot of time creating a durable Zephyr build to run in and run out all while taking little to no damage. So you can become creative in what you make.
Overall, this aspect paired with the fun gameplay of all the exosuits can allow you to be one of a kind and stand out. It’s quite easy to follow along and doesn’t hide beneath layers of complexity. The exosuites and being able to create builds help Exoprimal, but not enough.
When the chaos settles
There’s something in Exoprimal underneath all that fluff. Because the exosuites and customization work, and it works well. There were moments when I was playing and enjoying myself because of the chaos, and how the team is operating. However, those moments were few and far between, because of the lack of content. If I was able to do more, I’d have a better time. But for the time being, Exoprimal feels half-empty and with a lackluster story. Outside the exosuits and the customization, there’s not much to pull players in for the long run.
Exoprimal is avaible now via Steam.