Although Capcom’s multiplayer shooter Exoprimal, which was released on July 14, 2023, on all major platforms, was met rather coldly including on our website, within a week the attitude towards the game has changed, and ratings on Steam, for example, have increased from 56% to 77%. What happened? Everything is very simple, Exoprimal is a little slow at the start of the game, and in a few hours, it simply does not have time to reveal its full potential. But if you play longer…
|Platforms||Windows, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One / Xbox Series X|S|
Dinosaurs against fighters in futuristic exosuits on the streets of the cities of the near future? What kind of nonsense is this? Who even wrote this plot, a five-year-old child? This is the first mistake players make when introduced to Exoprimal. Because dinosaurs vs. exofighters are nonsensical, of course, but in this game, it has a pretty logical explanation. Of course, within the framework of a sci-fi plot in the spirit of anime. And no, this is not an insult in any way, it’s just that anime, even an adult, has its own laws, which do not always coincide with the laws of traditional Western science fiction.
Exoprimal has an AI that got a little confused by the directives and decided to play Groundhog Day with dinosaurs and exosuits. There is a high-tech company that wants to bring prosperity to people and make a lot of money, spitting on ethical standards and safety measures. Some try to use this chaos for their purposes. And of course, there is a team of good guys and girls who got into the wrong time and the wrong place.
Wrong time is not a figure of speech at all. In Exoprimal there are several timelines, several time paradoxes, doubles from parallel worlds, and stuff like that. At the end of the story campaign (yes, there is a story campaign in the co-op PvEvP shooter) all the threads will come together and you will be told in detail what and how happened in the past, in the present, and the future.
This is going to sound a little weird, but I personally played Exoprimal just for the story. Yes, in a PvEvP shooter with almost identical (no, not really) missions. Because here, as it usually happens with Japanese games, there is a bit of Homer, a bit of Nietzsche, a bit of Freud, and a bit of powerful religious motifs. And there are also very charismatic characters, even robots. Yes, one of the heroines is Russian, but this can be understood only because from time to time she announces her full name and in any situation mentions her grandmother, who seems to have been a heavy drinker.
After each mission, you find a note, an item, or an email that can explain what’s going on. After several missions, you collect all the items and evidence for the next explanation of the puzzle piece. After 2-5 missions, you get a story clip. It sounds a bit boring, but it actually works quite well.
It took me about 24 hours and 58 missions to complete the campaign.
One of the first complaints leveled at Exoprimal in the first days after release was that the game had very little content, and the missions were monotonous and uninteresting. This is true if you play for 2-3 hours. But if you go a little further along the plot, it turns out that there are a lot of missions in the game. Yes, sometimes you will run through the same small locations, and sometimes…
There are escort missions with some interesting twists and some serious PvP at the end; maintenance of zones, which is complicated by the constant influx of dinosaurs; killing intermediate bosses, such as carnotaurus, tyrannosaurus, or triceratops; co-op missions with big story bosses that take multiple forms, change levels and kill you in one hit; even more difficult missions where respawning characters is prohibited, etc. There are actually many tasks and they are different, but you have to be patient to get to them.
Almost every match in Exoprimal begins with a competitive side-by-side run through the level, where you sometimes see the ghosts of opponents doing the same tasks side by side. After a series of such short tasks, in which you have to shoot a certain number of dinosaurs of given types (it can be one triceratops, which is very difficult to beat), you get to the final, which can be PvP, PvE or PvEvP. In the latter case, the other team will try to prevent you from completing the task, and you will try to prevent them.
Those PvP skirmishes at the end are perhaps the most interesting part of the game. Because you have to shoot hundreds of AI-dinosaurs, follow the players of the other team, and… the players of the other team of dinosaurs. Yes, in Exoprimal you can turn yourself into a carnotaurus or a triceratops and tear opponents to shreds. It’s an interesting experience that asymmetric shooters have.
We have some questions about the gameplay of Exoprimal. There are really very small levels here, and sometimes you run from mission to mission through the same streets/corridors. The next mission may be exactly 5 meters from the previous one, and the next one may be in the same place. But shooting dinosaurs, both small and large, is really fun here, and the PvP part and story co-op missions are generally very difficult and require some preparation.
The exosuits themselves are a kind of homage to (or plagiarism from) hero-shooters and primarily Overwatch 1/2, which, as a reminder, will soon appear on Steam. Even the design of some characters and their skills seem to be borrowed from Overwatch. On the other hand, this lets you know right away what to expect from the local counterpart of Mercy, Tracer, Genji, or Reinhardt. There are currently ten exosuits, with three of them unlockable by leveling up the player, and most likely you’ll do so before the end of the story campaign.
Another complaint that was voiced towards Exoprimal at the start – is a large number of DLS, loot boxes, and a Season Pass in a game that already costs a lot. Yes, here we have to agree.
The cost of the regular version of Exoprimal on Steam is UAH 1,999. The cost of all cosmetic DLC (six of them plus the soundtrack) together with the premium version of the season pass is UAH 2,102. That’s a bit too much.
But… the base version of Exoprimal is on Xbox and PC Game Pass, and if you still haven’t bought yourself a PC Game Pass, I don’t even know if you’re a gamer? So yes, with a subscription, I must say, very moderate, for Ukraine, you will get Exoprimal almost for free while you wait for more important releases like Lies of P, Starfield or S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl.
That is why 90-95% of players on Exoprimal servers are players with an Xbox icon next to their avatar; PC Game Pass players have the same mark. That’s fine, that’s what Game Pass is for to play games that you might otherwise have missed. Why not, there are also interesting things among them sometimes.
As I already noted, I played Exoprimal primarily for the story, and it’s really good here. Maybe after that, I’d stick around to max out all the exosuits, collect all the Xbox achievements, etc.
But, as it turned out, after the end of the plot, there is simply no additional content in the game. The end-game isn’t ready yet, and instead of giving players a reason to stay in the game, Capcom seems to be telling us: “Well, you’re here to entertain yourself as much as you can, the end-game will come sometime later, we don’t even know when yet.” It’s… stupid.
Not that I really need that end-game, 24 hours of story campaign seems to be enough, but… it’s kind of not serious, dear developers. You didn’t prepare.
Not a mistake
Do I regret 24 hours at Exoprimal? Not much, there aren’t many games in the summer anyway and I just managed to get through the game before the start of the first season of Diablo IV.
I repeat, Exoprimal has a good plot, charismatic characters, various missions with interesting twists. And in general, as for a game that can be obtained almost for free, everything is very, very good. And even those who paid a lot of money for Exoprimal on Steam give the game positive reviews, which means something. Give the game a chance, it really takes a long time to gain momentum, but it can give you some entertainment at least for a few evenings. And no, it is not worth buying Exoprimal at full price.