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EXOPRIMAL
Platform: Xbox Series X
65

Exoprimal Review

Dinowatch

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Multiplayer hero shooters have become popular in recent years, but haven't quite reached the point of oversaturation as Battle Royales have. Between Rainbow Six: Siege, Overwatch, and Valorant, the genre has been firmly established, and this provides an opportunity for smaller efforts to ride the popularity wave while also trying something new. Exoprimal is a hero shooter from Capcom that has a few fresh ideas and many borrowed ones, and while some of its core elements are decently strong, the lack of content and variety hinder its chances of surviving the dinopocalypse.

Exoprimal game

The game transports players to an alternative version of the future, a time when humans are trying to recover and adapt to the new world order. In recent years, vortexes from other dimensions appeared and unleashed dinosaurs on the land, forcing humanity to adapt and create powerful exosuits to fight against this threat. You play as a created custom exosuit pilot, with a small but decent variety of looks to choose from. On a routine patrol mission with a small crew, you crash land on an island that seems to host the key to understanding the events of the past. There, you become entangled with Leviathan, a futuristic AI developed by Aibius Corp – the company that also created the exosuits. The AI decides to throw you into a series of battle scenarios, by teleporting you to a different dimension and time period, in a bid to gather combat data and help understand how humans fight. As you fight through these simulated matches, the crew back at the ship continues to make new discoveries about the island and how to escape it.

As one might expect from the genre, the narrative isn't exactly the primary focus. And yet it manages to be both simple and confusing at the same time, as it tries to provide a somewhat logical reason of why players are faced with endlessly repeating missions. Things get somewhat explained overtime, as you keep leveling up your profile – new bits of dialogue and brief cutscenes get unlocked. The game even throws in the occasional in-mission changes, similar to how Titanfall 1 handled its story. Still, it's all entirely skippable. All you need to know is that you're faced with repeating combat simulations to fight hordes of dinosaurs alongside other players.

There's only one game mode in Exoprimal, called Dino Survival. In these matches, which typically last about 20 minutes, two teams of five players are dropped into maps and complete a series of horde-battle scenarios. Each match plays out extremely similarly – from a starting point, you venture forth for maybe 10-15 seconds until you reach a battle area. Your team must then eliminate a specific amount of hostile dinosaurs that get spawned out of rifts in the sky. You then walk for another few seconds to the next battle area, where you do the same thing. This progress structure doesn't lend itself to much gameplay variety.

Each match has two teams, and so while you want to survive the fight through the dinos, the main goal is actually to do it faster than the enemy team. The AI announcer constantly reminds you if you are ahead or behind the other team's progress, an indicator at the top of the screen compares the teams' progress through the match, and you can also see their silhouettes when moving between the battle areas. When you reach the end of a match, you enter the final stage – this is where the pre-matchmaking decision players make, to engage in PvP or PvE, comes into effect. In the PvP endgame, there is a typical escort mission to get a cube across the level; it only moves when you are directly next to it. The two cubes end up in the same final spot on the map for both teams, so that's when the direct PvP combat happens, in the last five minutes of a match. Other PvP endgame types also appear later on, but again the game takes far too long to introduce those modes. In PvE versions of the final stage, you are instead tasked with defeating a number of large dinos, or defend a small objective area against big hordes of enemies. These objectives are obviously far from original; they are functional, but it would have been nice to see something a little more unique, given the setting.

Exoprimal game

Even if you choose PvE, while there is no direct combat with the other team, you are still always racing against them as the core concept of the match, and you will be proclaimed as the losing team if they complete the objectives/battles faster. Being defeated isn't a big deal – you just miss out on the extra experience bonus - but for fans wanting a purely cooperative experience, this may not be a fun aspect. Still, in the early days the community seems decent, with quick matchmaking times, few to no quitters (who get replaced by competent bots), and the majority of matches remaining close until the final phase; some great fun can be had with last-moment comeback victories.

The levels are also fairly generic – a few spots in a modern city, airport hangar, coastal cliffs, and others; the environment doesn't really require an adjustment to gameplay strategies, as there is little cover. Though there are some larger containers that can be climbed, the dinos are also able to reach pretty much any spot. Some battle areas are far too small for the large dinos that get spawned. With all regular matches taking you on the same paths through a level, with the same battle spots and even enemy spawn portal locations, the rounds begin to blur into each other.

Repetition is a serious issue – the first 6 to 8 hours feature very few variations to the formula, and players may bounce off the experience. The truth is that new modifiers, new story-related unique mission types, and even new dinosaurs start appearing later – but it simply takes too long to get there. The fresh, sometimes cool content begins popping up after 8-10 hours of grinding the same matches, and even more appears at 15+ hours - which seems like a strange pacing decision, and it's quite likely that many players simply won't make it that far. All of the many different objective types should have been cycled into the missions from the get-go - and it would have made for a better game. It requires about 50 or so matches, across 18 hours of play, to complete the story and finally see all mission types.

The third-person action of Exoprimal is decently satisfying. Before heading into a match, players can choose and customize their exosuits. There are three typical classes to choose from – assault, support, and tanks. Four suits are available for assault, and three for both support and tanks, making for a decent starting roster. The assault heroes are focused on damage dealing either by shooting or melee, while tanks create shields for the team to contain the incoming hordes, and support are of course the healers. Multiplayer team balance is important to success, as is everyone knowing what they excel at. Players can swap to a different exosuit at any point of the match, which helps teams remain flexible depending on objective types.There are some strong Overwatch influences here – some of the characters seem like straight up "adaptations" of heroes from Blizzard's game. They have very similar combat roles, abilities, and even looks/animations. Regardless of that, each character and each class plays distinctively and quite well – they all have their own abilities and strengths in combat.

Exoprimal game

Controls are easy to grasp, with basic attacks, stuns, counters, and special abilities that are unique to each suit. The third-person perspective helps keep the action cohesive, unlike other horde battle games that use a first-person perspective and become incomprehensible chaos. You basically attack the crowds of dinos with everything you got, from the main basic attacks on the triggers of the controller, to your other cooldown-based abilities on the face and shoulder buttons. You can also place a basic wall, turret and platform, though they are too situational and rarely needed. Healers remain important, but otherwise the large chunk of each round is a breeze. Most of the match and all of the Cull scenarios are easily bested even with a competent matchmade group of strangers. Things finally pick up in difficulty in the final phase, when you finally need to strategize with the team and your own abilities. When the team is working together to crowd control and immobilize the enemy groups, the action remains satisfying - but again you'll wish there were more versatile scenarios and objectives.

Each character also has an ultimate attack that slowly charges over the course of the match – again like Overwatch. It only realistically has enough time to charge once or twice per match, so its usage calls for some strategic thinking. The other unique match strategy is when to use the Dominator - a player-controlled large dinosaur that gets spawned over in the other team's area and can defeat players in a few short strikes. Both teams get to use it once in the final phase; do you use it right away to try and stall the other team's progress, or wait until the very end to throw a wrench in their victory plans? If you're in a PvP scenario, do you save your ultimate ability for the faceoff with the other team, or just try to get things done quickly, before the other team even arrives? These are a few enticing strategic options – again, they may not be very original, but are well balanced and executed.

It's good that the final phases require some adjustments, because otherwise the matches are fairly easy, as mentioned. The enemy dino variety is a bit limited, especially in the opening dozen hours. The game loves to spawn a majority of basic raptors and pterodactyls. Most of the enemies are melee types, and things only get interesting with large bosses and minibosses such as Carnotaurus and Triceratops. Eventually you get more enemy options, even ranged ones and special fictional versions, but again the game takes too long to get there. Dying isn't a big deal – any teammate can revive you, and you can also respawn within 20 seconds. It does come into play in the final phase as another point of strategy, but for the rest of the match, dying against dinos is very rare. You will have to restart the whole combat scenario if the whole team perishes though, which could put you too far behind to catch up to the enemy team progress.

Each combat scenario brings you experience, win or lose. Levelling up your player profile unlocks new content, such as Modules, which are passive buffs that can be equipped on each exosuit. These include the typical increases to health, damage, reduction of cooldowns, and so on. Each suit also has a couple of its own unique Modules, in addition to the common shared ones. Modules can also be improved by buying upgrades with the in-game currency. Players also unlock a few Rigs, which are a special weapon that any suit can equip, from a strong laser blast, to a deployable shield, or healing grenade. You also need to level up to unlock the final suite in each class, giving you something to strive towards. Overall the progression system is decent, with a nice sense of improvement with new unlocks overtime. The one sticking point may be the fact that despite costing $60 USD, the game has a day one Battlepass to unlock new cosmetics, and also shares the same BikCoins currency for both gameplay unlocks (characters and modules) and the cosmetic items.

Exoprimal game

The price of the game also doesn't bode well for the occasionally lacking presentation elements. The character designs are decent and distinct, and the animations are very smooth. The framerate is also stable even in the most dense dino hordes, on Xbox Series X. Elsewhere however, the textures and effects in this RE Engine game look like they came from a mid-priced product. The UI is also poor – it uses an awkward combination of cursor and button inputs, and is too small to comfortably see. The brief tutorial also doesn't touch on how Cull and other objectives work – so players may not realize that they have to eliminate specific dino's to finish the encounter, or that objective progress goes faster with more players on the point - as the icons at the top of the screen are small and easy to miss, nor are the UI elements clear in their indication. Elsewhere, it takes far too long to get going (almost two minutes), as each match is preceded by a pointless sequence where two teams stand around while the AI narrator drones on with some repetitive dialogue; getting into the final phase also requires another pause and teleport, for seemingly no reason. Players also must sign up for a Capcom ID to play – sure, many companies do this nowadays. But there's no way to simply get it done within the game using your Xbox/PS account information; you have to actually grab your phone or PC and go sign up & link your accounts online.

Exoprimal is a bit of a novel twist to the hero-based action game. The AI battle simulation setting is unnecessarily convoluted and the story is entirely forgettable, but serviceable for this genre. The heroes are well designed and fun to play, though they will seem a bit too familiar to fans of Overwatch. If you're willing to stick with it, there is certainly some fun to be had here and some unique team and personal strategies to deploy to emerge victorious against the opposing team and the formidable dinosaurs. But perhaps the game's biggest downfall is the lack of variety – with just one repetitive gameplay mode, it takes far too long to start introducing new content and objective types, for no discernible reason. Even something obviously simple as a horde/survival PvE mode (without a competing team) would have been welcome. Some minor gameplay and presentation shortcomings aside, Exoprimal is an initially fun but eventually too grindy dino shooter that needed a lower price or more content to get a stronger start.

Our ratings for Exoprimal on Xbox Series X out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
Presentation
70
The framerate is steady and the art style is decent, but at the cost of subpar visuals.
Gameplay
60
The action is good - but not unique or exciting enough to carry the game through so many repetitive matches. The decision to delay new content - objectives and enemies - many hours into the game could be a fatal mistake.
Single Player
NR
None
Multiplayer
65
Matchmaking is quick and connectivity seems stable. Bots are able to hold their own. Telling the story through multiplayer missions reduces its engagement. It takes too long to get into a match with arbitrary delays.
Performance
80
No notable issues, decently fast loading times.
Overall
65
Exoprimal offers some initially fun and chaotic multiplayer action, but it delays new enemies and objectives for far too long, and without a good reason. The dino enemies and the PVPVE systems don't end up being particularly interesting either, and given the high asking price, it's probably better to get your action fix elsewhere, at least for now.
Comments
Exoprimal
Exoprimal box art Platform:
Xbox Series X
Our Review of Exoprimal
65%
Adequate
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
Exoprimal is ranked #1478 out of 1980 total reviewed games. It is ranked #67 out of 101 games reviewed in 2023.
1478. Exoprimal
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Screenshots

Exoprimal
10 images added 308 days ago
Videos
Exoprimal - Reveal Trailer
Posted: Mar 9, 2022 21:23
Exoprimal - Story Trailer
Posted: Sep 15, 2022 20:31
Exoprimal - Release Date Trailer
Posted: Mar 9, 2023 20:24
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