Exoprimal at its best, feels like a bag of mixed ideas that sometimes work and sometime don’t. As a cooperative meets PvP shooter, its general gameplay feels satisfying to play. However, the overall mechanics at play here don’t always work and at times, feel a little underwhelming. It also doesn’t help that its story is drowning in complicated notes and voice bits which you are forced to listen to while juggling matchmaking with other people.
I won’t deny that Exoprimal isn’t addictive. It has that multiplayer appeal where as soon as I completed one match, I brainlessly went into another. Whether I lost or won, it never felt overly competitive to the point where I was annoyed by a match result. On the other hand, when you realise how little content there actually is in this game, I wondered how I managed to sit through it for weeks on end.
Exoprimal kicks off as a team of researchers (whatever you want to call them) crash land on an island. The island seems to be an old lab of some sort and time travel, for whatever reason, is possible. I honestly have no cooking clue what the hell was happening in Exoprimal’s story. While the game does deliver these plot points through notes, cinematic and voice lines, it doesn’t really do a good enough job to make you care.
It also doesn’t help that while the game is trying so hard to tell a story, you’re likely sitting with friends waiting to go into the next match. So instead of forcing them to wait 5 minutes while you gather your thoughts on the story and watch a cinematic, I just skipped everything. After a while, the story was going on and on about stuff and I couldn’t care less. It also doesn’t help that the story takes forever to get anywhere. I had to play around 50 matches to unlock all the pieces of data to complete it.
While the story was an utter disappointment, the gameplay itself is somewhat strong. It is basically all about fighting hordes of dinosaurs with the odd PvP mechanic here and there. There is a range of Exosuits to equip which fall into the typical game roles such as tank, healer and DPS. These suits can be swapped out at any time during a match which allows for a lot of freedom to mess around.
Exosuits are all fun to play. I didn’t have any specific model which I disliked. In fact, while I was happy always playing sniper, I didn’t mind switching roles if need be. There’s an Exosuit for everyone but you’ll gel more with others. However, it is important that each match has a well-rounded team.
Matches last just over 10 minutes in Exoprimal. While there are a handful of different modes, the game doesn’t let you choose which one to play. You have to matchmake and just hope for the best. Every match starts off with a series of objectives where you have to slaughter dinosaurs. The final mission (which is literally called the Final Mission), swaps between a PvP and PvE variant at times.
The PvP missions see 5v5 teams go head to head while completing an objective. This means you can kill other players as you attempt to win the match. The PvE missions have objectives but instead of killing players, you need to try to complete them faster than the other team. After each objective, the game would show me the enemy team’s silhouettes and let me know whether I was completing the mission faster or slower.
There is some mission variety and some are better than others. A capture mode put my team against the other as we had to take zones and fend off the enemy players and dinosaurs at the same time. However, most of the time, I was always thrown into a payload mission. Here, I had to escort a payload across the area faster than the enemy team. If it sounds like Overwatch that’s because it is exactly that.
The difference here is that missions are littered with dinosaurs and thousands of them in fact. Some missions would literally spawn a thousand Raptors and we would mow them down as fast as possible to get to the objective faster than the enemy team. Later in the game, these missions then threw tougher dinosaurs at me such as a T-Rex. This beast could wipe my team in a few hits.
Exoprimal does evolve but it changes very slowly. For every 5-7 boring payload matches I played, I would get one new location and mechanic. This means the game requires a lot of time and attention to fully realise. The later missions get tougher and new dinosaurs are introduced but you’ll need a lot of patience to reach this point.
it also doesn’t help that Exoprimal’s general RPG-ness is lacking. Each Exosuit does have some cool cosmetics to equip. There’s also a mod system where you can slightly power up each suit by levelling it up throughout the game. As it levels up, you’ll get mods which can be equipped into different slots. Mods do a whole bunch of things. They increase damage, change the way a gun shoots and tweak certain Exosuit abilities.
I didn’t feel as if this system was deep enough for my liking. Definitely not deep enough to keep me engrossed in the game with the constant need to play it in order to unlock a set mod. So after a few dozen hours, I felt a bit bored. There wasn’t that need to play a certain Exosuit to unlock a masterful mod which would turn the tide of the match. It was all pointless buffs with small tweaks to the game.
The battle pass was likely the only reason I kept going. It contained some cool skins and of course, the time-gated progression forced me to play in fear of missing out on the items. Sadly, the battle pass takes forever to progress. Even weeks later, I am only halfway through the track. Capcom now expects players to put everything aside and go play the same matches with unexciting upgrades and tedious objectives….. It just doesn’t work.
Don’t get me wrong, Exoprimal has some fun missions hidden underneath the surface. It takes what feels like forever to get there. When I did, I felt burnt out. As if I spent weeks playing this game, it doesn’t feel any different and the Exosuits are still performing the same way as they were at launch. It is a challenge to keep going.
Capcom does have content planned for Exoprimal in the months ahead but with a slow-progression battle pass, I don’t see players hanging on for much longer.
This Exorpimal review is based on a code sent to us by Capcom. The game is out now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.
Exoprimal is a fun shooter with some intense PvP and PvE matches and modes but its shallow progression system and tedious gameplay can’t keep this dinosaur alive for long.