Review – Exoprimal

The Raptor's Gambit

Overview

Developer Capcom
Publisher Capcom
Genre Multiplayer, Third Person Shooter, PvPvE
Platforms PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox Series X|S
Release Date July 14, 2023

I have to hand it to the folks at Capcom. People in futuristic war suits fighting dinosaurs? It has to be a premise from either a low-budget Syfy movie or the minds that brought you the Lost Planet franchise. As a fan of both Destiny 2‘s Gambit mode and Capcom‘s weird science-fiction shooter franchise of yesteryear, I had to check out Exoprimal. While it’s not without its flaws, I’m glad to see them expanding back in this direction.

Content Guide

Violence: You’ll be shooting and slashing dinosaurs and other players. There is no gore or visceral blood. Characters just have death animations then vanish.

Sexual Content: There is none.

Drugs and Alcohol: None.

Language/Crude Humor: For Exoprimal, this is the most egregious section of our guide. They throw basically every common curse word in the human language here at some point. Expect to hear the same language you would hear in an R-rated movie. F***, s****, and more are all here.

Dark/Spiritual Content: In a day and age where we’re concerned about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence, it’s somewhat unsettling (though not uncommon science fiction trope) to have a misguided AI causing problems. Leviathan, which sets up the scenarios for the players, is causing a lot of strife here.

Review

Welcome to the near future of 2040. From the construction and collapse of a space elevator to time travel to the creation of alternate energy sources and more, humanity has done incredible things and failed gloriously. Now, a seemingly-omnipresent artificial intelligence called Leviathan is pulling all the best exofighters, warriors whose brains are hardwired into futuristic combat suits, through time into life-or-death scenarios. The winners get to live to keep fighting, the losers are slaughtered, and Leviathan gets to keep gathering data, presumably to work out how mankind can overcome the dire extinction scenario we see itself in.

The story itself feels pretty boilerplate as far as weird sci-fi goes. I actually think the Hammerheads, our main character’s crew, are surprisingly engaging. They even set up some unexpectedly satisfying moments. The characters aren’t given the opportunity to shine properly, however, and the blame for that lies solely on Exoprimal‘s storytelling.

Perhaps I should backtrack. The storytelling is intensely flawed but it’s largely due to how they’ve incorporated it into the game. Story codex entries are essentially drip-fed to players as they complete online matches, with cutscenes or special matches being triggered when enough codex entries are unlocked. At its heart, Exoprimal is a 5v5 PvPvE game. Teams of five will squad up, picking healer, tank, and damage classes. They’ll have to work through a series of scenarios fighting off various waves of dinosaurs, occasionally while completing other objectives too. The first team to complete everything wins the match. Fans of Destiny 2‘s Gambit mode will likely feel at home. I, for one, love the idea of this becoming an entire genre…particularly when the gameplay loop is so satisfying.

Right now, there are 10 playable classes across three archetypes: three tanks, three healers, and four damage dealers. To Exoprimal‘s credit, every class feels completely unique and beneficial in its own way, and thanks to an RPG-like experience/level system, you can unlock new augmentations and skins as you level up with an exosuit. Looking at the 10 exosuits currently in the game at launch, I can’t help but feel like they drew some heavy inspiration from Overwatch…right down to a big guy with a tower shield and a sort of hip-hop-themed healer. They even have a similar rarity scheme for the unlockable skins.

Exoprimal‘s matches normally feel fairly well-balanced, but the game does a solid job of letting players know if their team composition is lacking. It helps that players can change their class throughout the match to suit the needs of the team (or the preference of the player).

From an audiovisual standpoint, Exoprimal doesn’t feel particularly beautiful or ugly. It’s running on the RE Engine but, as others have mentioned, human faces look about the same as they have in every other Capcom game for the last half-decade. There’s just a certain…quality to it. While the characters’ aesthetics are nothing to write home about, I think there are some standout moments I found satisfying. The first time you see two dozen raptors spill out of a time vortex, it’ll make you pause for a moment. I also found some later story scenarios to be neat visual experiences.

Apart from the story, my only real complaint with Exoprimal is its price point. Yes, it launched on Game Pass (and if you have Game Pass, you should definitely give it a try), but folks on other systems are having to pay $60 to play. While there may be something to the idea of perceived quality, everything about Exoprimal tells me this should be more of a budget title. It doesn’t have the look, feel, or depth of a triple-A offering like Monster Hunter Rise.

While Exoprimal isn’t going to win any awards for its storytelling, the game is what I would consider to be a raw, fun video game experience. It’s not the sort of thing you could get with any other form of media. From the fun, goofy, dinosaur-killing to the variety of playable classes you can master and grow into, Exoprimal feels like something fans could enjoy to mindlessly unwind for a long time to come. If you’re looking for a fun, goofy game or a less intense vehicle to introduce friends to online multiplayer, Exoprimal is an excellent choice. It’s warmed my insane sci-fi-loving gamer heart in a way few games can.

Review copy generously provided by Capcom

The Bottom Line

 

Taking out dinosaurs as futuristic warfighters is both fun and ridiculous. Come for the gameplay but don't worry yourself with the narrative.

 

7

Joe Morgan

Husband, gamer, software developer, animal lover. When he's not writing for GeeksUnderGrace, he's probably fishing or working on content with his wife for Coffee and Adventure, their YouTube channel

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