A Capcom announcement during the State of Play in March 2022 caused a lot of excitement and expectation, as it seemed like the return of Dino Crisis after years of absence. For better or worse, the title turned out to be something different: Exoprimal, a new franchise.
Thanks to an invitation from Capcom USA, I had the opportunity to travel to their offices in San Francisco, California, to play this new sci-fi title. I confess that I had more fun than I thought, but I came away from the test session with a couple of concerns.
What is Exoprimal? A game as a service? A competitive multiplayer title? A narrative proposal? It’s a bit of all of the above. In this article, I share my first impressions.
Before I continue, it’s important to note that what I was able to play was a trial version, so all items described below are subject to change.
Related Video: Exoprimal – Gameplay Trailer
What can go wrong with a story of dinosaurs and dimensional vortexes?
The plot takes place a few years after a series of space-time distortions caused dinosaurs to invade the world and put humanity in check. We are quickly introduced to the Hammerheads, a squadron of pilots and engineers who use exosuits to combat the Jurassic threat.
Exoprimal’s premise is interesting, has interesting concepts, and hides a mystery tied to a super-advanced AI known as Leviathan. The sci-fi world that the developers built has the potential to show off original and crazy scenarios. At the end of the day, a story involving exosuits, spacetime vortexes, androids, and rain of dinosaurs is interesting on its own.
Unfortunately, I believe that the overall structure will negatively affect the development of the plot and make the important events less relevant and feel unconnected despite Capcom’s efforts to present a plot full of secrets.
During the games, the narrative remains static; the plot only advances in the cinematics
Exoprimal’s main mode is Jurassic Tide, and this is where the story progresses. The problem is that the plot remains in the background, because to unlock a new cinematic and get a new piece of the narrative puzzle we have to play games against other players or bots. It is a PvPvE game mode.
Capcom developers are aware that exposure sequences break the rhythm of multiplayer sessions, so they included a special section where cinematics and text files reveal context information. A good idea that reveals a philosophy problem.
We will have to wait until the final version is released to find out if the story arc is solid and holds up despite the fact that the game is committed to the online experience.
A fun cycle, but without charisma
Now, what is Jurassic Tide? Here, 2 teams of 5 players compete in multiplayer games where they will have to complete a series of challenges. While entertaining, it comes with a couple of serious problems.
The games are divided into 2 main sections. The first revolves around the PvE elements, as players must complete objectives like defending an area or defeating specific dinosaurs. Even though the teams play on the same stage, they never face each other directly because they are in parallel dimensions.
In the second part, players must complete other objectives such as capturing zones or escorting a box. The interesting thing is that the teams can attack each other, so the dynamic changes to a more traditional competitive multiplayer. It is in these sections where the experience shines and shows its full potential.
A rain of dinosaurs is certainly something you don’t see in every game.
The Jurassic Tide concept is very interesting, but its philosophy presents a problem. In theory, the goal is to finish the first section as quickly as possible so that we can start the second before the opposing team. However, the advantage gained is minimal and rarely makes a significant difference, at least in my experience.
So, the first part of the games is superfluous. Dealing with waves of enemies is very satisfying, but the objectives aren’t different enough to change the structure or pacing; we will almost always do the same. Of course, in one of the levels I fought with my companions against hundreds of dinosaurs at the same time; It was a hectic experience and I was surprised that the performance remained stable throughout. I hope there are more moments like this in the campaign.
The second section is very fun and this is where coordination with team members becomes important. The problem is that it’s generic and very similar at its core to games like Overwatch. Despite this, there are interesting elements, such as the ability to become dinosaurs for a limited time to annoy the rival team.
Duels against dinosaurs and other players is the best that Exoprimal has to offer
Exosuits and Dinosaurs: The Best of Exoprimal
While the overall narrative and structure raised a couple of red flags, the mechanics revolving around the exosuits and combat against dinosaurs are very satisfying. Without a doubt, this is the strongest pillar of this new Capcom title and it is the one that supports the entire experience.
Exoprimal is reminiscent of a hero shooter due to the play style of its characters. Each exosuit has special abilities and unique attributes that are useful in different game scenarios. In the final version there will be a total of 10, but in the test session I was only able to play with 7. Fortunately, they all offer something interesting.
Each suit belongs to one of the 3 main classes: Assault, Tank and Support. The first specializes in dealing massive damage with deadly weaponry, the second is perfect for protecting the team with shields or absorbing enemy attacks, and the third is the one that heals allies and provides temporary buffs. Certainly, the developers took the safe route in this section.
The exosuits are very varied in design and abilities
All of the exosuits are eye-catching with their futuristic designs and are a lot of fun to wear. At all times I felt powerful and in control, so fighting against waves of Jurassic beasts is very entertaining and hypotonic in a good way. There were times when the chaos reminded me of Musou type games.
I liked that we can change suits at any time, even during a skirmish. Capcom members said in the presentation that they seek to encourage players to modify the composition of the group to draw up new strategies and adapt to the needs of the moment.
When an exosuit levels up, we unlock cosmetic items and modules that grant improvements. There is a heavy emphasis on aesthetic customization, which makes me believe that there will be more monetization options besides the controversial Battle Pass that was already confirmed a couple of months ago in one of the official trailers. We’ll have to wait until launch to find out.
By leveling up, we unlock boxes that offer special rewards.
My favorite exosuit was Barrage from the Assault class. He specializes in explosives, so he can shoot and activate mines, throw grenades, and deal area damage while dodging. He is very versatile and easy to use, so he is a good choice for newbies. Of course, it has drawbacks to deal with aerial threats.
Unfortunately, the variety of dinosaurs is poor… at least in the test session. There are velociraptors, triceratops, tyrannosaurs, carnotaurs, and more. Each one has its attack patterns and abilities that need to be learned to exploit. Also, it looks like there will be special enemies and bosses that unfortunately I couldn’t face in the test session.
Exoprimal is exciting, but it will take a lot more to succeed
I admit that I enjoyed my time with this action title. Fighting ferocious dinosaurs with the help of futuristic suits is very satisfying on paper and in practice. Playing with friends and acquaintances makes the experience much more enjoyable.
The structure of the main mode left me indifferent. The context is eye-catching and has a lot of potential to introduce endearing characters and epic moments, but the plot takes a backseat from the start. This makes me wonder, is a story really necessary in a title like this? Exosuits are without a doubt the highlight of the experience, so limiting their possibilities with a loose and repetitive level structure is a mistake.
Of course, I’m also concerned about the game-as-a-service model and its potential risks when it comes to monetization. Hopefully the Battle Pass and other progression systems offer fair and attractive rewards for all players.
Like many current games, Exoprimal will have a lot of cosmetics and dances.
We will have to wait until the official launch to find out if Exoprimal will live up to expectations. For now, I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt, but I’m afraid it’s going to be boring and repetitive in the long run. My biggest concern? May this title mark the end of Capcom’s hot streak.
But tell us, did this proposal catch your attention? Let us read you in the comments.
Exoprimal will be available for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PC via Steam starting on July 14. Click on this link to read more related news.
Related Video: Exoprimal – Reveal Trailer
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