Utter the words ‘dinosaurs’ and ‘Capcom’ in the same breath and many are likely to get excited about the prospect of a new Dino Crisis.
It’s not time for that just yet though. In fact, maybe it will never happen. But at least there’s Exoprimal to soften the blow, a multiplayer-focused third person shooter that lets you don various mech suits and demolish hordes of dinosaurs with reckless abandon. What’s not to like about that?
We’ve had early access to Exoprimal‘s open beta that’s set to start on the 17th March and run until the 19th. And our preview of this upcoming dino-blaster has seen it definitely rise up our list of games we’re eager to spend more time with this year. This is the kind of multiplayer game we can get behind, offering fast-paced, frantic action as you decimate fearsome prehistoric beasts alongside friends, family or just random strangers.
Only one mode is available in the open beta. Called Dino Survival, it pits two teams of five players against each other. This isn’t PvP in the traditional sense, though. Instead, both teams must rush to reach a sequence of objective points before killing waves of dinosaurs or defending an installation. It’s only once that a number of these objectives has been completed that the final stage of the match can commence, with the slowest team incurring a little penalty.
In this final round, it’s all about teams charging up a powerful hammer. Once it’s charged, it can be used to destroy a canister-like object, allowing them to move onto the next. The first team to destroy three of these canisters wins, but there’s a twist when it comes to the last: it’s contested. This is only time where players on both sides can directly combat each other, making the fight for victory even more heated. The focus is still on killing dinosaurs to charge the hammer, but it pays to also run some interference.
It’s a simple concept, but one that works rather well. And win or lose, you’ll still have a lot of fun wiping out dinosaurs like some kind of badass. There are seemingly plenty of dinosaurs on offer here, too, from fast-moving Velociraptors to terrifying T-Rexes. Capcom has been creative and added some dinosaur variants to spice things up as well. These Neosaurs have mutations such as bulbous sacks on their backs that explode, or the ability to turn invisible. Needless to say, you’re kept on your toes.
Exosuits are another key element of Exoprimal, giving you access to a wide range of weapons and abilities. They’re spit into three categories: Assault, Tank and Support. Assault exosuits make you a damage-dealer, giving you either close, medium or long-range weapons that mean business. This has proven to be our favourite class, with two exosuits in particular standing out: Deadeye and Zephyr. The former is a great all-rounder thanks to its assault rifle. The latter, on the other hand, is focused on melee attacks, and it’s oh-so fun getting in the middle of a pack of Velociraptors and letting rip.
For those who don’t want to be all-out assault, though, The tank exosuits let you assist your team by drawing attacks while also dishing out some punishment. And then there are support exosuits, which don’t offer much in terms of protection, but let their wearers heal those fighting alongside them, and also use a variety of buffs and debuffs to give them the upper hand. It’s worth trying all of the exosuits on offer at least once to see which work best for you. And a nice touch is that you can even change your exosuit in in the middle of a match.
With more objectives to be found in Dino Survival when Exoprimal launches later this year, we don’t really have any worries that it’s not going to be able to keep our interest. At least in the short to medium term. After that, we’ll see what the game’s support is like. In any case, while we weren’t sold on Exoprimal when it was announced, it’s certainly won us over after playing the open beta. Would we have rather had a new Dino Crisis? Sure. But we’re not going to pass up the chance of helping make dinosaurs extinct again when it’s this much fun.
Exoprimal launches 14th July on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC. You can try the beta yourself from tomorrow, 17th March until the 19th. Sign up, and find more details, on the official website.