If you look at the games Sony has released this year, you will be pretty amazed to see how successful they have been. In fact there really hasn’t been one "bad" title released from this year. So with that nice streak of good games alive, it is no surprise that Sony once again comes through with Cambridge Studios’ action/adventure game, Primal.
In Primal you play as Jennifer Tate, a waitress who is saving up money for college, and who is in love with her rockstar boyfriend Lewis. Lewis has been having some weird dreams lately, seeing weird places, and horrific images. On one of his performances he said that he believed he saw some sort of creature out in the crowd. After the show they are attacked by the scary creature. Jen is knocked out cold by this monster, and when she awakes she finds herself in another world, where she then finds out her fate. You then meet Scree who is more or less a guide throughout the game, who explains what has happened and what is to become of her.
This is all taking place during cut scenes that are at the start of the game. This is definitely not a short introduction by any stretch, and all I can say is that you are going to find you need patience in order to play this game.
When Cambridge Studios decided to make Primal it is very apparent that they wanted to make sure that the game was different from the rest of the pact. It is also obvious that they wanted to try new things with Primal and to set new standards for the Action Adventure genre. One of the first interesting features your going to find in Primal is that you can change between Jen and Scree by just pressing the select button (finally the button has a use). You will find that using Scree is mostly for the adventure portion of the game and Jen is more for the action portion of the game.
When combining these two characters you actually get a quite diverse game that makes for a lot of strategy and a lot of help. Luckily Cambridge Studios didn’t want to make this too frustrating a game, so you can get hints throughout the game to help you, as well as using the map to help you figure out where your next objective lies. Usually you take one of the two and somehow have to get the two to meet again to complete all of the objectives.
The actual game it’s self is probably 50% Adventure, 50% Action. The fighting engine is actually what I think holds Primal back from being a top notch game. Although the control scheme for the fighting is quite easy, it’s in a way too easy so that it becomes quite repetitive. Also when I say easy, the game isn’t extremely hard, you will find that in Metal Gear Solid 2, the cut scenes seem to take more time up then the actual game, and in my eyes this is what ultimately hurt both games.
The final complaint I have of Primal is the control scheme along with the camera. It really feels like the camera is working against Jen and Scree, instead of with it. This causes not only frustration but problems when you start fighting.
The sound in primal is actually the most impressive portion of the game. Probably with the best soundtrack of the year (so far), it is one that really goes with the game and works very nicely. Along with the soundtrack is superb voice acting, and a lot of it. To top it all off you can also listen to it in Dolby Pro Logic 2.
Cambridge Studios said that the graphics were going to be good, and in fact they weren’t. At first glance I wasn’t overly impressed with how the game looked; it just wasn’t doing anything for me. But after time passed by I was amazed at how the quality of the graphics remained throughout the game.
As you look at all the level designs throughout the game you will be amazed at how pure and detailed they really are. The character models are just as good, if not better then the environments. But holding the whole graphics department back is the camera angle, and wow was it a pain. I found myself really getting frustrated with it, and only wished they could have done better. Cambridge did put the R1 Button as a centering button; it’s just too bad it doesn’t seem to work.
I really couldn’t decide while playing Primal if I was having fun or if I was just plain bored. I came to the conclusion that the game has a lot of fun parts, but then has a lot parts I think they could have left out. The story drove the game, but at some points I felt they could have used a little less of the story and a little bit more of the action. But the one thing that I must say made me give Primal a lower fun factor score, was once again the camera, it was just a pain.
Primal is not a superb game, but by the same token it’s not a bad game either. With some great points, and some weak points, it’s just a solid title that could catch some people’s eye and not the others. I would really recommend renting this one before you buy it, but if Action Adventure games are your cup of tea, then you should think about picking Primal up.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.