Now this is a doozy. Every time the word ‘Exoprimal’ runs through my ears, I still can’t fathom why it’s not a Dino Crisis remake. Because the final product we’ve received here is a far cry from the level of quality Capcom has been pumping out since 2019. Considering the recent remakes and new additions to the Resident Evil series, you would think they’d want to opt for an intimate dinosaur horror title and not a strange, soulless, always-online live service like this. But who knows? Maybe it’ll work out for them in the long run.
What on Earth is This?
So, how does Exoprimal play? Well, since there’s only one mode called Dino Survival at launch, here we shall begin. After you’ve created your own personal avatar, two teams of five choose their unique mech class load outs and race against each other by obliterating wave after wave of the same mindless dinosaur encounters. They then finish things off by capturing nodes, breaking barriers, moving targets and the like faster than the opposition, or by taking them out during the final mission of a match. These little sections of variety do help to keep things slightly more engaging, but it almost always gives you the same two tasks out of a possible six or so, making things feel very formulaic after the seventh or eighth outing. Not something Capcom would want players to think this early on in a live service game.
What’s even more annoying is that every 2-3 minutes, The Watcher (an AI that players follow to their next objective) constantly chimes in with “your team is completing objectives faster/slower than opposition, close the performance gap” even though you can physically see the ghosts of the other team between dino-waves. It’s like a small child trying to make fun of you, but blatantly not bearing a hint of humour or charm about them. Since most of the time, matches are pretty tight and players will be acutely aware of how they’re faring against the opposition. I only had one instance where my squad was about a minute or so ahead, but that lead could still have been lost towards the end by a certain rogue T-rex…
Once per match, The Watcher will say “I have awarded your team a dominant” and drop down a cannister that contains a stupendously strong dinosaur for one teammate to control. The person who activates it will be teleported to the opposing team’s dimension and can just go to town, wreaking absolute havoc with a control scheme similar to Monster Hunter Rise. It can be quite fun to mess up the other team’s rhythm, especially if you can combo them against a wall or knock them out of bounds for some easy-peasy kills. But just like the regular gameplay, (especially the PvP side of things) Exoprimal’s balancing doesn’t sit quite right here, leaving an empty feeling of ‘meh’ whenever your team wins or loses. Sums up the whole experience pretty well.
In terms of mech options, players can choose from several archetypes: Assault, Tank and Support. They’re all very self-explanatory, but each individual mech has their own ways of doing their thang. A certain Tank type favours a minigun and lock-on missiles to take care of business, whilst another uses their fists and a wide shield to attack, block and funnel foes into compromising positions—similar to how Reinhardt operates in Overwatch. Whichever style players prefer though, there are sure to be several mechs that cater to their individual tastes. Even better is that the default control set up using mouse and keyboard is pretty spot-on for PC. Albeit, Exoprimal does require some aim assist and sensitivity tweaking on gamepads to keep things competitive.
Players can choose a favourite mech to start new contests with, but can also change their mechs before a round starts and mid-match to balance out their team. The only thing is that switching mechs is mega clunky in real-time and takes away precious seconds from pummeling dinosaurs. Even though The Watcher gives players several seconds to do so in between bouts, it’s still a bit of a mess. Thankfully, the performance on PC is phenomenally good, being arguably one of the best releases this year in terms of consistently high frame rates and not crashing or glitching throughout. Even though the graphics and textures are all over the place quality-wise, it’s wild how smoothly it all runs online with hundreds of dinosaurs constantly spawning in alongside a barrage of visual effects occupying the screen’s real estate.
In case you were thinking the story of Exoprimal might be a saving grace (surely not) then you’ve got another thing coming. Not only is this bonkers, multi-dimensional tale about a rogue AI making people fight dinosaurs an utter waste of time, but the way it’s told is just silly. Pacing is important folks, and having important story points split up between 4-5 matches and datalog type entries completely derails any semblance of tension this wacky narrative might have. At the same time, players level up quite quickly, almost in tandem with the story. They’ll acquire decent cosmetics and gradual stat upgrades consistently, so there is a small incentive to keep grinding through. Once the main game is finished however, I can’t imagine that people would stick around for much longer. In all honesty, the season pass content better be good, otherwise Exoprimal will most likely become extinct much faster than Earth’s real-world dinosaurs.
I hate to say it, but Exoprimal has unfortunately put a massive blip on Capcom’s remarkable run of form since 2019. There’s a decent PvP and PvE concept going on here, though the gameplay formula just makes you want to fall asleep, rather than jump into a fourth or fifth round of dino-bashing antics. The performance on PC is astonishing, while the visual and auditory impact during combat is also worthy of praise. However, these elements can’t make up for the mind-numbingly repetitive encounters, asinine story and unbalanced gameplay mechanics which definitely needed more fine-tuning, especially for the PvP side of things.
By Anthony Culinas – Reviewed on PC
While it does contain some satisfying combat and runs remarkably well online for PC, even when things get uber chaotic, Exoprimal’s repetitive gameplay loop starts to lose steam quicker than green grass through a goose. The incremental stat upgrades, dull story and tedious, turn-your-brain-off mission structure won’t hold your attention for long.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Capcom and GMG. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.