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Games: Far Cry Primal cocks a snook at creationism

Takkar must hone his tribesman skills, fight with spears, call upon the help of tamed beasts, take down enemy outposts and evolve into a cunning predator
Neil McGreevy

Far Cry: Primal (PS4)

By: Ubisoft

Early man hasn't seen much action on the gaming screen of late. But much like Dino Crisis, Turok, or for those old enough to remember, 1991's Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja, Far Cry Primal cocks a joyous snook at creationism.

When it was announced the latest Far Cry would move away from firefights and island despots, focussing instead on the struggles of early man 12,000 years ago, fans thought Ubisoft had taken a club to the head. Yet the result – the fifth in the series – is far from being a prehistoric wreck.

After gun-slinging in lush jungles, tropical islands and the Himalayas, Primal takes the franchise back to the Stone Age. Filling the bearskin boots of hunter-gatherer Takkar, Primal's page right out of history sees our hero lose everything, leaving players stranded in Oros.

To survive, Takkar must hone his tribesman skills, fight with spears, call upon the help of tamed beasts, take down enemy outposts and evolve into a cunning predator.

Being Far Cry, players can explore the valley of Oros freely as they attempt to form a new tribe. The Ice Age wiped dinosaurs out by the time Primal takes place and mammals are now frolicking on their graves, and it's these wolves, sabre-toothed cats, jaguars and the like that Takkar must battle, as well as defending his people from rival tribes.

Gameplay-wise, not much has changed in 10,000 years. The problem of too much to do rears its Cro-Magnon noggin again, with a main objective to work towards amid the endless clutter of extra activities that interfere with any attempts to reach it.

The explore, destroy, colonise routine of previous Far Cries still exists, except with Flintstone-eque stand-ins for radio towers and guns giving way to bows, clubs and spears.

The basic formula is becoming as long in the tooth as its woolly enemies, though Primal's scant weapon variety and focus on hunting at least freshens things up as, by using his knowledge of wildlife like some loin-clothed David Attenborough, Takkar skins more things to wear than Buffalo Bill before prom night.

Technically, though, Primal is fully evolved, with the Far Cry 4 engine ensuring its world boasts Betty Rubble beauty.

For those who found Far Cry 4 too vast and unfocused, Primal offers a prehistoric change of atmosphere, and while this mammoth pelt of a reskin could have been yabba-dabba-poo, fans will have a gay old time.

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