It’s safe to say that many were disappointed when Capcom revealed it was making a dinosaur game that wasn’t a new Dino Crisis – ourselves included. But still, when a game gives us the chance to combat hordes of dinosaurs while wearing a suit that gives us superhuman powers, we’re going to jump at it. And that’s exactly what Exoprimal does.
Taking place in a future where dinosaurs have wreaked havoc upon humanity, Exoprimal, despite being a multiplayer-focused game, actually has a story. It’s the year 2043, and after an unforeseen encounter with some kind of anomaly, you’ve found yourself in a pickle. A rogue AI, determined to gather data, keeps dragging Exofighters from across time and space into competitive games where two teams vie to complete a string of objectives faster than the other. And did we also mention that these events take place three years in the past? Yeah, it’s all very convoluted, but also kind of intriguing.
To unravel the story of Exoprimal, you have no choice but to jump into what is the game’s only match type (so far, anyway), Dino Survival. Begin a match, and you’ll find that you’re put into a team of five players, and have to compete against another team to determine who will come out on top. Essentially you’re in a race, dashing from one point of a map to another in order to complete a range of objectives. For the most part you’ll be simply eradicating hordes of dinosaurs – everything from Velociraptors to hulking T. rex – but sometimes you’ll be required to defend a control point. And once a number of these objectives have been completed, the final stage of the match begins.
When it comes to the final stage of a match, what happens next depends on whether you opted for PvP or PvE at the start of the game. Most will opt for random seeing as it grants you an experience bonus. A PvP finale will typically task you with escorting a big blue box while defending it from dinosaur attack, but in the final stretch you’ll likely come up against the opposing team, too, allowing you to truly test your combat skills in order to destroy them or their cube to improve your chances of success. In PvE, most often you’ll just have to defeat yet more waves of dinosaurs faster than your opponents.
If it all sounds a bit repetitive, that’s because it is. Although you are sometimes provided with alternative missions and objectives that spice things up a little. New dinosaurs are introduced as you progress, too, with outlandish ‘Neo’ variants eventually being added into the mix that really shake things up. It could be said that Exoprimal serves these things up a little too slowly though; many players may have grown weary by the time they’ve completed even just a handful of matches. Ultimately, there are only so many Velociraptors and Pteranodons you can kill before you get a little tired of hearing their names.
Doing their best to keep things interesting are the various Exosuits you can wear, each giving you access to a unique range of weapons and abilities. Split into three categories, it’s up to you as to how you want to support your team. Assault class Exosuits allow you to take the fight to dinosaurs and other players alike, balancing mobility with considerable offensive capabilities, either ranged or close. Tank class Exosuits, on the other hand, are more for those who want to support their team by drawing enemy fire and shielding others. then there’s the Support class Exosuits, which trade armour for nifty abilities that help their team while also possibly hindering the other.
What’s great is that you can change your Exosuit during battle, allowing you to be stetegic in your choices or cover for any weaknesses you spot in your team. You might start in an Assault class Exosuit, wiping out hordes of Velociraptors with frenzied melee attacks, before swapping to a huge Tank Exosuit equipped with a shield when encountering the opposing team during a final dramatic moments of the match, for example. It’s up to you. You also get to customise each Exosuit loadout with a range of booster chips, and equip a piece of special equipment called a Rig. These range from powerful cannons, to a booster device that quickly allows you to get out of trouble.
As if that’s not enough, at key points during matches teams are also offered up devices that allow them to summon giant dinosaurs. One lucky player gets to take control of a giant prehistoric beast such as a Triceratops or Carnotaurus or a short while, and if used effectively, it can truly change the tide of a match. All in all, everything makes for dynamic matches where you can rarely guess who’s going to be the victor.
As mentioned, the slow rate at which new dinosaurs and other aspects that make Exoprimal more fun to play are rolled sully the experience somewhat. And sometimes matches can see you having to complete multiple objectives in the pretty much the same area which can be a bit dull. It’s the competitive nature of Exoprimal that will likely turn some players away from the game the most though; every match is a mad dash, giving you little time to breathe, take in the surroundings and appreciate the effort that has put into bringing the game’s dinosaurs to life.
With a new PvE match type set to be added to the game later this month, and more updates promised in the future, we’re intrigued to see what becomes of Exoprimal. While it’s not quite as compelling to play as we’d hoped it would be right now, it’s still very enjoyable in short bursts. We love its Exosuits, and we love its varied range of brilliantly realised dinosaurs, but we’re not so keen on the fact that there’s currently only one match type and that, whether you play PvP or PvE, it’s ultimately still a race that gives you little opportunity to take everything in.