Now Available on Consoles, Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey Rewards Those With Patience

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I hated Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey the first time I played it.

I just didn’t ‘get’ it. Thrown into control of a primate, I just didn’t know what to do, really, and that’s despite the new Xbox One and PS4 ports of the game having tutorials from the outset; a boon that PC players found absent upon its release on that format some months ago. Build a bed, Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey kept telling me. I kept shouting at the screen that I didn’t know how. Needless to say, the first time I closed the game down, it was in rage.

The second time I played Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, however, I approached it from a different angle. I tried to forget that it was a video game. Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey doesn’t hold your hand. It doesn’t want to. It wants you to find your own place in its lush world; figure things out for yourself. And to do that, you have to just go with the flow. That means taking your time, not viewing objectives as a list of things you must race to do in some kind of attempt to ‘complete’ the game, and simply interacting with things to see what happens.

With my new mindset, I found myself enjoying Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey somewhat. Exploring the African jungle in which it’s set with a baby I rescued on my back, I soon figured out what I had to do to build myself a bed. Then I found myself a partner, and establishing my own little settlement came not long after. Tragedy struck, however, when I went out exploring one day.

Wandering into uncharted territory, I got intrigued by a watering hole. Not taking heed of my primate’s increasing level of fear, by the time I realised that a feline predator was breathing down my neck it was too late. Well, for my partner, anyway. While I managed to escape safely by hurriedly climbing a nearby tree and scarpering away through the canopy, my soulmate, who I’d been shacked up with for days, was mauled. With my lesson learned, I was more cautious when my primate’s spider senses kicked in from that point onward.

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Adrenaline-filled situations like the one just described aren’t the norm, though. For the most part, Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is a slow, lumbering experience. It’s a survival game, so keeping your primate in top-top shape by eating, drinking and sleeping is a paramount. And in between, you need to interact with pretty much everything you come across. Using your senses, you’ll steadily gain a greater understanding of the world around you. Only then can you evolve.

Your learnings make you smarter in the long run, opening up new abilities and increasing your chances of survival. Ancestors‘ story is greater than the primate you start out with. Spanning generations, your bright ideas are passed along, giving the next age of primates a head start. It means your time is never really wasted. Everything you experience is of worth; either developing your primates directly, or making you more knowledgeable.

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Arriving on consoles months after its PC release, Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey benefits from a multitude of bug fixes. The newly-implemented tutorials are helpful, too, even if they are a bit vague at times. And there are other issues, like the fact that you can’t run without jumping when you release the button, and climbing up and down trees can be more troublesome than it should be. Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey can sometimes throw up unnecessary frustrations that bring the experience down a little.

Ultimately, Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey isn’t a game for everyone. You’ve got to really like survival games to eke the most out of it, and you’ve also got to be willing to approach it with an open mind. This is a game like no other, for which it deserves a huge amount of credit. But by the same token its lack of hand-holding, especially in the early hours, is sure to put many players off. Those that stick with it, however, are likely to find something special. Like evolution, appreciation of Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey requires patience and time. If you have it, give it a go.

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.