For those of us who tire of the effortless convenience of flushing toilets and electric kettles, escape to a simpler, more brutal, and much less convenient, time can be found in the Ubisoft game Far Cry Primal. Go here to see some gameplay videos.
Set in 10,000 BC in the Land of Oros (somewhere in Europe), Primal is the story of Takkar the hunter who loses his family in a disastrous encounter with a sabretooth tiger. With his dying breath, Takkar’s brother tells him to go to the Land of Oros and reconnect with his ancestral tribe, the Wenja. Takkar sets off and comes across a young woman called Sayla the Gatherer who tells him that the Wenja are now scattered across Oros after being persecuted by two enemy tribes: the Neanderthal-like cannibalistic Udam; and the Izila, a more sophisticated, but cruel, tribe of fire-worshippers from the south. Thereafter the game involves Takkar traveling across Oros to gather Wenja to join his new settlement, fighting both Udam and Izila and the murderous wildlife as he goes.
The Wenja Specialists
Key to Takkar's plans are five specialist Wenja tribespeople who teach him special skills. The first, Sayla the Gatherer, we meet at the start of the game, the other four are Tensay the Shaman, Karoosh the Warrior, Jayma the Huntress, and Wogah the Crafter.
Tensay is particularly important as he teaches Takkar the skills of a Beast Master, allowing Takkar to subdue and command various vicious beasts and take them on as animal companions. These include an owl that Takkar to use to scout ahead of himself.
Wogah is another specialist to seek out as early as possible as he provides Takkar with a grappling hook that makes getting across Oros about a million times easier than otherwise.
That’s the main story: to gather Wenja and defeat the enemies of the tribe. But most of your time will be spent taking over new camps and spawning points, collecting materials (wood, meat, stone, animal skins etc) and completing quests to earn XP and gain new skills. As ever, the stronger and better skilled you are, the easier life becomes.
Your main enemies
Completing the game requires you to defeat two principle enemies: Ull, Chieftain of the Udam, and the Priestess Batari of the Izila. You can kill them off in any order, but to finish off Ull you first have to capture one of his henchmen, an Udam warrior called Dah. Ull lives in a secret Udam valley, and to reach it you have to go through a cave full of poisonous fumes (poisonous brews are a speciality of the Udam) and it’s only Dah who can tell you how to make an antidote. Batari is a lot easier to get at, but you have to learn mammoth riding skills (through a Karoosh quest) to beat down the entrance of her valley. The game can seem a little disorganised at times, leaving you unsure what to do next, but as a rule of thumb any quest given to you by Sayla or one of the other specialist will progress the story.
Overall, it’s a great game, but I’d recommend playing on Hard mode rather than Normal or Easy. Normal is fine starting out, but as you get better weapons you find that enemies become fairly unchallenging and killing the average Udam or Izilla warrior is about as time consuming and strenuous as picking up a piece of wood. In the current version of the game, there is also an Expert level, and a Survival mode (with Permadeath, if you want it). Survival mode sounds interesting. It thins out the map somewhat and reduces the number of animals and people you encounter, which is good as Oros comes across as pretty crowded sometime. At times it seems you can't turn a corner without bumping into someone or something.
Far Cry Primal Tips
GATHER THE WENJA SPECIALISTS ASAP
These characters will teach you with many useful skills, some of which are vital to complete the game. It pays to seek them out as soon as possible, though in some cases they will only reveal their secrets after you’ve built and then upgraded their huts. Each of the specialist huts (and the cave you, as Takkar, live in) has a special stone tablet at its entrance that will tell you the resources you need for the next upgrade.
Build up your village are early as possible. You need to increase the number of Wenja in your village before you can do certain quests and upgrades, but villagers also help fill up your Rewards Stash a bundle of goodies that will be available at every campfire you come across. Grinding for supplies can be fun at first, but you’ll begin to tire of it after a while, so dipping into your Stash for supplies becomes very welcome. The easiest way to collect Wenja is to complete the random ‘Wenja Rescue’ events the game throws at you (there will be plenty), but many other quests also reward you with people.
KEEP A GOOD SUPPLY OF MEAT
You eat meat to heal yourself, and meat can be combined with various plants to increase its effectiveness. If you’re going into a fight, or unfamiliar territory, always make sure you’re carrying as much food as possible. Meat’s pretty easy to come by, and you don’t need to cook it.
GET THE GRAPPLING HOOK
Known as a 'climbing claw' in the game (and already mentioned above), the hook will allow you to scale sheer cliffs at predetermined climbing points. These points are easy to see using your hunter vision, but are also marked by white ‘bird of prey’ glyphs scratched onto the rock near ground level. Many locations are inaccessible with the grappling hook.
MAX OUT YOUR SPEAR
The thrown spear is the most powerful weapon in the game, and ultimately the game allows you to carry five at a time (they’re also easy to make). Since you can both jab and throw a spear it's one of the best and most versatile of the weapons available to you. You can also throw clubs, but these are weak in comparison.
SCAVENGE ALL THE TIME
The Land of Oros is littered with useful stuff; from plants, to rocks, to twigs. Pick up items as you pass them, it takes hardly any time and you’ll be glad you did when you need them. There’s nothing worse than being ready to upgrade a hut and finding out you're missing six ‘Clay’. Also make sure you search the bodies of your fallen enemies. For some reason the game doesn't tell you what you pick up from them, but I suspect you get useful stuff like flints and clay pots.
One of the most useful skills is the one that lets you make cold-weather clothing. If you venture above the snow line, a cold meter will appear on your screen and once that runs out, you’ll freeze. Clothing won’t solve all your problems, but they will extend the time you can survive in the open without a fire. If you get stuck in the highlands and your cold meter is running down, set fire to a bush and stand near it. You'll probably set yourself alight, but it will beat back the frostbite.
GET A SABRETOOTH COMPANION
You can tame a whole host of animals from badgers to mammoths, but sabretooths are the most versatile. If you tame a wolf, that will scare away other wolves, and if you tame a lion that will scare away other lions, but sabretooths scare away everything apart from mammoths (and possibly bears?). You can also ride them, which is fun. You get to capture and tame the Bloodfang Sabretooth through one of the missions provided by Jayma the huntress.
USE YOUR OWL
It can be easy to forget you have an owl companion, but it's really useful for scouting strange locations. You send the bird up and you see the ground below you through its eyes. As you acquire more skills you can also get the owl to attack people and drop bombs full of poison or bees.
TAKE OVER BONFIRES
You can fast travel in the game but only between specific spawn-points. Spawn points are found in enemy villages you conquer, but an easier option is to take over the eighteen or so Bonfire sites scattered across the map. These fires are occupied by the enemy but are less heavily defended than villages. If you’ve travelled a long way into the wilderness, look for the nearest Bonfire to capture so you don’t have to make the same journey on foot a second time.
And that's it. I hope you found that useful. To check out some gameplay visit my YouTube channel.