Officially released on July 14, after various phases of beta access, it is in a certain general indifference that Exoprimal begins its real career. And if on the one hand, we can fear an Anthem-like future, on the other hand Exoprimal still has a good number of real qualities.
History or nanar?
First of all, let us point out that Exoprimalunder its nag shooter surroundings, says something.
The player, named Ace, avatar vaguely customizable mute and his team live in the year 2043 and patrol to the island of Bikitoa before crashing. It is then that theAI Aibius Corp’s Leviathan forces Ace to engage in battles against hordes of prehistoric creatures by sending him back to 2040, the year these dinosaurs first appeared.
Strangely, it was Leviathan who could predict the appearance of dinosaurs from 2040 to send fighters equipped with exoskeletons to destroy the threat… Coincidence?
The scenario mixing exoskeletons, dinosaurs, AI and time travel could have an anecdotal and above all nanardesque side, but it is not actually neglected by the game: the main plot is revealed as the player plays as well that a whole bunch of ancillary information that the player can go and watch whenever he wishes. At the time of writing these lines I have almost finished and I find that the scenario is a good surprise because I follow it with pleasure, there are a few surprises and for a story that mixes dinosaurs, exoskeletons, journeys in the parallel time and dimensions I expected a lot more boat even if we do not escape the usual problems of causality of the genre.
Exoprimal invites us to face hordes of dinosaurs and other players in exoskeletons through a single game mode (for the moment). So let’s break the abscess right away: the majority of negative opinions on Steam blame the game for a lack of content and complain of always having the same thing to do on one or two maps. The problem is that these opinions come from people who have played less than two hours, thus being able to be reimbursed for the game. And indeed, in two hours of play, we only see that.
But the more you progress in the game, the more the objectives diversify and even become more complex. If at the beginning it is just a question of defeating a certain number of hordes of dinosaurs, later come the capture of points, the destruction of points, the protection of points or the escort.
Same thing for the final mission: from the only cube escort of the first parts, we arrive after a few hours of play at several varied final events.
And finally, it’s the same with the cards (from two to start with seven or eight once the story is advanced) but also with the variety of dinosaurs. I can tell you that the first time the snipers start appearing, it quickly becomes a problem if the dps of your team do not take care of it as a priority.
After a few hours of play, the parties are far from alike, we can only blame a lack of diversity in the biomes between city, base and forest.
The games are all PvEcP type: all the phases before the last are PvE with the confrontation against dinosaurs and the final phase can be PvE or more or less PvP.
In any case there is a “race against time” component that the game reminds us of by telling each phase which team is ahead of the other and we can see at times in the form of a red ghost the opponents and their progress .
The interest of going faster is to get ahead for the final phase: for example the team in advance can start to take the “flags” even before the team behind is still at this point. phase.
The game nevertheless makes sure to maintain a certain balance, for example by prematurely ending the phases of a team that is really too late.
The other way to balance things and put PvP into the game is the possibility of being able to summon a dinosaur to disrupt the opponent’s progress. It’s always a pleasure to be in command of these monsters of mass destruction which will be more or less well managed depending on the degree of cohesion of the team opposite. The late team may also be offered to shoot down a special dinosaur to increase the difficulty for the opposing team.
The divine armors
Indeed the teams, made up of 5 players, will be proportionally as effective as they are coherent and really play together.
For this Exoprimal offers 3 main roles (damage/tank/care) currently divided into 10 exoskeletons.
Most of the time a 3/1/1 split is optimal. If you run out of damage doers, you don’t move fast enough. The absence of a healer is almost prohibitive.
Unlike other games, there is no lack of healers because the three exoskeletons having this role are very fun to play. It’s even the opposite, we often start with two healers, fortunately the game allows you to switch to another exoskeleton at any time… if the players have enough sense to optimize their crew.
If we can criticize the exoskeletons for not necessarily being original in their styles (we have the single target specialized dps, the zone dps, the dps a bit of everything, the dps bedroom, area healer, target healer, etc) they are pretty darn well balanced. Overall, no exoskeleton stands out as “best dps” or “best tank”. Depending on the situation, they will shine more or less. The exoskeleton Vigilant is for example very good against a large dinosaur but less interesting against hordes of small dinosaurs which will be better managed by a Dam.
Each exoskeleton has four abilities with varying cooldowns as well as an ultimate ability that charges as the game progresses and is rarely available more than once or twice per game. You can also choose an accessory like a shoulder cannon or a temporary shield to define your style of play a little more.
And if it’s so pleasant to play each of the classes, it’s because the game is technically successful. If graphically it is pretty in its style, nothing more, we are surprised to see how hordes of hundreds of dinosaurs do not cause any slowdown despite the deluge of pyrotechnics that we send to their face. And play a road block who with his shield blocks hundreds of dinosaurs in an alley while his allies try to decimate the horde before the shield explodes is always a big kif.
Playing an exoskeleton increases its level. This allows you to unlock specific improvements that can be purchased and increased with Bikcoin, the in-game currency that you earn while playing. They improve basic skills in order to customize his exoskeleton a little. There are other generic abilities, which are transverse to all exoskeletons. These improvements do not make the exoskeletons much more powerful, which avoids an imbalance between new and old players.
A strange price positioning
Beyond the improvements to the exoskeletons, the game offers a whole bunch of cosmetic modifications, whether on the armor itself or on the player’s profile with various thumbnails and emblems to show off.
These modifications can be purchased in the store (against euros), in game against Bikcoins or by falling into chests with random content that you win throughout leveling. There is also a season pass which earns cosmetic items for free but also its paid version which earns more.
Similarly, some exoskeletons can be purchased with Bikcoins once a certain player level has been reached, but these exoskeletons are unlocked as standard for owners of the Deluxe version.
Suddenly, it can be strange to see the game offered at a high price when its whole model seemed to be that of a free to play.
I imagine that if one day Capcom wanted to give that kind of access to the game, we would only have access to the Deadeye exoskeleton with everything else to unlock, so in a sense we are paying for the basic unlocked classes and cosmetics.
But if we can talk for ages about this monetization, the fact remains that the game itself is very fun. This PvE with its touch of PvP gives often tense games and if it can happen that some bad players rage (at the same time what idea of rush solo far from the group) very effective bots take the place and it is never lost.
The designers of the game, with their bias to unlock the riches of the objectives little by little, took a risk with the impatience of some players and the first days on Steam, the reviews were generally bad. But it is in train to reverse as those who persevere find that the game is much more than what it shows in its first hours.
A new game mode is planned for the end of July, then collaborations with street fighter 6 but above all monster hunter and I can tell you that I will because it has been a long time since a game of this style had amused me so much with its simple handling but its more complex control than it seems and his exoskeletons which I all find fun to play.
Tested by Aragnis on PS5 with a Deluxe version provided by the publisher