Why is theHunter: Primal so Hard and Intimidating?

Posted May 6, 2015
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Why? Because it’s not for the weak or the unwilling. You’ll be engaged in different ways, and yes, it’s exceedingly difficult, but exceedingly fun as well.

This game is absolutely mind-blowing. It defies expectations but presents a level of difficulty that can be frustrating and yet very rewarding. theHunter: Primal is not your typical survival genre of first-person shooters. No, it’s both much more than that and yet different as well.

theHunter: Primal, getting the short end of the stick from humanity.

A Disclaimer

theHunter: Primal started as an internal project that provided a testing ground for new concepts and ideas from veteran Expansive Worlds and Avalanche Studios developers as well as to provide a safe area to learn for the interns from various higher education institutions. Project Flintastek, as it was called, will continue to be a great tool for those interns and developers to new and novel ideas into gaming. What does this mean? That it’ll be supported for a long time to come, and that you can expect some exciting things in the future.

Feeling Lucky?

The atmosphere that you’re thrust into is absolutely vast. So vast that it almost seems an impossible task that lays before you. Survive, clear out the dinosaurs on Primal Eden so that other human colonists can come and set-up a proper colony on this God-forsaken place.

You’re a prisoner being dropped in a 9.3mi2 island that needs your help. This is your last chance to prove to society that you’re not just a petty criminal. But can you survive being hunted by the five different dinosaur species that are crawling all over this island? And they don’t just stick to areas based on your perceived level of experience, either. Walk around (slowly) and you’ll see all five in their natural habitat.Quetzalcoatlus, Triceratops, Utahraptor, Velociraptor and of course the infamous Tyrannosaurus Rex are all trying to eat you in gloriously rendered detail.

The graphics in this game are stunning. They represent the best of what the Avalanche engine has to offer. The extravagantly rendered environments are absolutely marvelous to look at. The highly detailed dinosaur models combined with the impeccable aural backdrop makes for one hell of an experience. Hopefully they can incorporate some of those DirectX 12 elements that they’ve been experimenting with too.

Okay, so this is actually a hunting game as opposed to an outright survival game, so it lacks the crafting, trap building and weapon building you might find in a true survival game. This one puts you in the role of someone who arrives on a backwater planet with nothing. So yes, there are survival elements in that you have to scavenge for the various supplies that are dropped around the enormous map (and they aren’t usually close together), but the sole goal of the game is to hunt the most extreme of big game, the dinosaur. Take it as anything else and you’re doing it a disservice.

Well, alright, that’s not necessarily true either. You’re the one being hunted most of the time, and it’s frightening. The dinosaurs are modelled to be the efficient hunters that we imagine them to be. They’re camouflaged well, make scary sounds and run at you menacingly. One moment you’re being chased by a T-Rex (which you can feel as it stomps around), and then suddenly you’re being picked out of the sky and thrown to the fates below. Yeah, it’s really really hard. But persist and you shall be rewarded.

The sound engineering is incredible. The devil is always in the details, and they have those details in spades. You’re in a rain forest, and it sounds like one too. I don’t know how they captured all of the minutiae of a living breathing rain-forest, but they did it. The wind along the ears, the crunching of debris underfoot, and the living creatures reminding you that you’re not alone. And the dinosaurs are fantastically done too, if a bit ominous. The occasional call or grunt from the less docile species lets you know that they’re there, hiding, waiting, willing you to try to hunt them. So they can rip you to shreds.

Is there anything bad?

Games are always subjective, so there’s always going to be someone that finds something inherently wrong with a game. But here are some things that might be universally looked at with caution.

Yes it’s hard, very hard at times. The supply boxes seem to never give you what you want and while guns are there, you have to survive long enough to get one. And surviving isn’t easy when killing dinosaurs is near impossible. You also can’t jump and the stamina bar runs out But with the right strategy and enough patience, you can defeat even the toughest of these Jurassic beasts.

The landscape, while beautiful, is sparsely populated by anything, including those blasted supply crates that are so vital to the game.

But that doesn’t make it bad, per-se, it just makes it different. It has a different approach to the hunting/survival genres. It’s difficult, but requires you to think outside of the box to play it and succeed.

Love it or hate it, this game is fantastic presented as is. It’s vast, it’s gorgeous and it’ll suck you in for hours even though you might get frustrated. That’s the draw here. It’s the challenge to overcome the difficult tasks, no matter how discouraging they are, that makes it so much fun. There’s a lot to like and a lot of potential here. Is it worth the price of entry? Yes, yes it is. Because you’re getting a game that’ll evolve for many years from a developer that values the input of all the players.

And it’s fantastically fun. Surprisingly fun. I wasn’t quite expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, and actually expected to be exceptionally bored. But I wasn’t. You just have to play more than even an hour to get the hang of it. But once you do, you’ll probably become addicted. I finally see why survival/hunting games are so popular now. Who knew.

 

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