Developed and published by Capcom, it’s time to gear up and launch headfirst into the wave. Experience EXOPRIMAL, the team-focused semi-arena shooter that has you slashing, dashing, flying, and blasting to survive. Let’s see how this highly anticipated live service game holds up in this extensive review.
Forecast shows a 50% chance of raining Raptors. This is EXOPRIMAL.
Welcome to Bikitoa! You’re not allowed to leave
We are shown in the opening moments of EXOPRIMAL the forecast of dinosaurs appearing from thin air. EXO Fighters are on the field, blasting them away and keeping people safe. A series of amazing EXO Suits are shown off in a very montage manner.
We then cut to the cast of the game. Five very misfit people make up a group called the Hammerheads, lead by Lorenzo. Alders is the squeamish nerdy guy. Majesty is very mean and can’t say anything nice; an EXO pilot whose main personality trait is rude. Sandy is a robot that informs the crew when danger is approaching. And we are Ace, the ever-silent but extremely expressive other EXO pilot.
After literally flying into a Vortex and being thrown through space and time, we are greeted by the Leviathan. An artificial intelligence is responsible for all of the chaos that is going on. The Leviathan governs over the island of Bikitoa, where it pulls EXO Pilots from across different timelines and makes them fight wave after wave of dinosaur. We are now sucked into this with no real way out, other than eventually taking down the Leviathan.
In EXOPRIMAL, future meets ferocity
The rest of the story of EXOPRIMAL is told through bits and pieces called Lost Data. These range from videos, to text logs, to audio files. You can gain lost data by playing the main game mode, but you’re not guaranteed data upon completion. A lot of stuff happens over the course of the story, and I won’t spoil it here. However, I will not judge you if you want to look online and save yourself the dozens of hours of grinding that it will take to make it to the end.
Let’s talk a bit about the meat and potatoes of EXOPRIMAL; the EXO Suits. Currently, there are 10 different EXO suits, spread across the three different roles that you will be playing in the game. EXO Suits like Barrage or Zephyr belong to the assault class, emphasizing damage and maneuverability. Roadblock and Krieger belong to the tank class, specializing in defense and crowd control. Skywave and Witchdoctor belong to the support class, bringing status effects and healing to the battlefield. Each of these suits are gloriously designed and are amazing to play with. It is a lot of fun tricking out these suits to better suit your individual play style.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it…
I said before that EXOPRIMAL is a semi-arena shooter. What I mean is there’s a lot of moving parts that make up a typical match in this game. The only difference between PVP and PVE is whether or not the people you are competing against is a robot or a human. The gameplay is effectively the same as far as set-up. A mission is comprised of about five different possible outcomes. You spawn in, you complete one Mission, you run to the next Mission Point and try to outrun your opponents what you’re doing the same thing.
The majority of what you will do is Dinosaur Cull, mowing down waves of dinosaurs until you kill enough of a certain type. Beyond that, there are other types of missions. Data Key Security is the typical “stand next to the payload until it reaches its destination” mode. Escort has you protecting NPCs as they conduct investigations. Dino Pursuit has you actively chase down a specific dinosaur.
There are other game modes, but the most interesting thing is the Dominator. It is a device that shows up in the middle of missions that allows you to control a dinosaur and attack the opposing team. However, the Dominator only shows up if the opposing team is doing much better than you are. It’s used more to extend gameplay then as a tactical maneuver.
Playing the game will enhance your level, and the higher your level, the more stuff you unlock — be it EXO Suits, cosmetics, or loadout options. It also increases your battle pass level. There is a premium Battle Pass launched on day one which costs a choice sum of $10 USD. I can’t confirm if this is the case for non-Xbox Game Pass members, but this is a very poor Battle Pass. The free version is fundamentally devoid of anything of value.
And this is a personal thought, but not giving you a way to earn the Battle Pass naturally is a mark against it. The better Battle Passes have you unlocking a premium currency throughout the season. That not being part of this feels like a bad move to me.
Let’s go ahead and get a few other issues out of the way. EXOPRIMAL relies on you linking a Capcom ID and platform ID in order to even play. If you already have a Capcom account at the ready, this is fine. But if you have to set up an account or find an old one it is daunting. Yes, it’s just going to the website to try to recover or set something up, but I feel like this isn’t needed. I ran into this problem before whenever I played Assassin’s Creed online, and it kept me from wanting to play future online Assassin’s Creed modes. The forcible link of an account to a platform only hurts the experience.
A little heavy on the sauce
I also feel that the introduction sequence does not need to be as fluffy as it is. In a game where we’re supposed to be in a cool mech suit fighting interdimensional dinosaurs, there is a lot of talking and falsified pace. The amount of times where I wish I could just tap the button to skip something happened more often than it should have.
And for all the story we get, the characters are not good. I do not like anyone on this roster of characters. Everyone feels like a stereotype, or a caricature of what people think something cool looks like. Lorenzo is the leader archetype. Alders is the nerdy British geek archetype. Majesty is the tough-as-nails Russian woman archetype. Everyone acts a part. The only person I like is Sandy, the support Android. And that’s probably because she isn’t painfully over-the-top.
The main character of EXOPRIMAL has no voice whatsoever. There are moments where some sound of some sort should come from your character, and there is nothing but silence. Mario, Link, and Gordon Freeman make more sound than Ace the pilot. I totally understand a silent protagonist, but there are points where at least a grunt of pain or effort would have made this character feel less like a puppet.
A lasting impression
My own personal gripes aside, EXOPRIMAL is not a bad game. While it does suffer from the same problems that have become industry standard for monetization, there’s still a decent game in here. Beyond the story and Battle Pass, this is a fun game to play with your friends.
I will recommend it with this caveat. If you have Xbox Game Pass, definitely play this game. It is worth the download and the time investment to learn the controls. It might become your new favorite thing. However, I would not spend any more money on this than you feel comfortable losing.
EXOPRIMAL is available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox Game Pass, and Steam.