Exoprimal is a game with an outlandish premise, at least on the surface. The deeper you get into the story, however, something unique arises. While this may appear to be a simple squad shooter between Exofighters and dinosaurs, it isn’t so easy to pin down. Exoprimal is here to tell a story and choose a gameplay format to match it. This makes the enjoyment of the game a more individual experience in how you interpret it. While it is a clever approach, this meta-storytelling is not going to appeal to a wide audience.
Temporal portals have been opening randomly across the world. Through it, dinosaurs have been spilling out in catastrophic numbers, causing chaos for the last three years. Aibius, along with their advanced AI, Leviathan, has been developing Exosuits to combat this threat. You’ll play a silent protagonist as part of a patrol crew. You’ve been assigned to watch over the restricted Bikitoa Island for quite some time. Crash landing on the island, you and your crew unravel the truth behind the appearance of dinosaurs, the temporal portals, and so much more.
This all sounds like a great excuse to pit mech suits against dinosaurs – which it is – but with each Dino Survival completed, the story unfurls new and interesting plot points to keep things moving forward.
An Endless War Against Dinosaurs
At launch, Exoprimal does unfortunately only have one mode; Dino Survival. This is the game’s instances/campaign. Every time you begin, Leviathan teleports you and other Exofighters from across space and time to Bikitoa Island exactly three years in the past to participate in the wargames. Leviathan is designed to collect combat data from observing wargames to build a more efficient Exosuit for the ongoing threat. A valiant effort, but something has gone wrong in Leviathan’s programming. It continually forces Exopilots to repeat this same day over and over again – another mystery you’ll have to discover.
The date in question, why Leviathan is doing this, even the Exosuits themselves are wrapped in this narrative mystery. Repeating this day over and over again is an essential part of the story, like many time travel movies. It works wonders for the narrative, but it is much harder to translate to a game when players are completing the same missions over and over. If you aren’t here for the story, it might be hard to press on.
Yet you really should. The farther players progress in the story, the more content is unlocked. New and more dangerous dinosaurs appear. All new mission objectives and truly random events can occur while inside the wargame to keep you on your toes. The frantic nature of racing against the enemy team and dealing with the hordes of dinosaurs means you are on alert at all times.
Stellar Gunplay And Team Synergy Between Exosuits
Exosuits come in ten varieties at launch, with more planned later on. Each suit in Exoprimal fulfills an assault, tank, or support role. The abilities and strengths of each suit are very unique. Testing them all out in the training mode before diving into combat is a great way to see what suits your playstyle. Each Exosuit feels powerful and agile. This makes team synergies between suits, especially important, however, one of the best QOL features is the option to swap between suits on the fly, even in combat. Need a healer or a tank? A few button presses and you can hop into that critical suit ASAP.
Dino Survival begins with a choice; PvP, PvE, or Random for your final mission. Players are put into two teams of five and race to complete random objectives in one of the various environments across Bikitoa Island. The common objectives are cull missions to eliminate a specific number of dinosaurs or area defense, with others randomly engaging to change it up. Each time will also get the opportunity for one player to invade the other team’s instance as a large dinosaur to cause havoc and slow them down. Sometimes it will turn into a full 10 co-op mission against overwhelming odds with an incredible amount of mayhem. While I appreciate the option to make the final mission PvP or PvE, some unpredictable encounters will force you into one or the other. I’m primarily a PvE player and found myself groaning when I was forced into PvP.
Thankfully, each of the Dino Survival encounters only takes around fifteen minutes. You will gain experience and coins regardless of victory, so you are always progressing forward. Each suit has individual progress based on its use. There are also player and season pass levels that constantly unlock new cosmetics, features, and items.
A Plethora Of Cosmetic Customization Options
In Exoprimal, the Exosuits can be modified with armor and weapon skins, decals, and more. To start, there are three slots for mods that can greatly change your performance. There are also several universal mods that – when unlocked and upgraded – can be used for all Exosuits. Each Exosuit can also unlock two Exosuit-specific mods per slot. These help make very defined and specific builds. My Vigilant suit is built for doing huge, single-target damage from the air. My Krieger, however, is meant for mid-range and defense.
Yes, Exoprimal has microtransactions. No, they are not predatory in any way. You can purchase in-game currency to buy things, and there are a few cosmetic packs through the online store to get skins and decals. All of this content is entirely cosmetic just like most modern games, and the vast majority of items can either be unlocked via War Chests or purchased with coins. Players – after reaching a certain level – will earn a War Chest every other time they level up. It takes roughly two Dino Survival instances to go up a level, so you’ll be unlocking content very quickly.
An Unbelievable Narrative Full Of Unexpected Twists
Exoprimal is a very solid experience. It knows what it wants to be, but it doesn’t translate that idea well to the player. There is a well-written, occasionally campy story here. The kind of twists you would expect from a Capcom game are on full display. The gameplay is tight and solid; every second counts. It has been an absolute blast to play, but I can see how the repetition of gameplay – while crucial to the story – can get tedious for many players. You need to be willing to stick it out and see how the game evolves to get the full experience, but completing the same tasks – albeit on shorter missions – can be a slog.
The roadmap ahead for Exoprimal is bright. New Exosuits, game modes, and more are in the works. With just a little more content, Exoprimal could become something huge. As it currently stands, it is an addictive and greatly enjoyable experience for someone who wants to experience the story. Having only one real game mode at launch has done more harm than good. If it had been sold to us as a narrative game with multiplayer components rather than a drop-in shooter, it might have done itself some favors. There is great potential in Exoprimal and it is easily one of the most fun shooters I have played in a while. It just needs a little more to make it one of the best.
**PS5 code provided by the publisher**
- Excellent Gunplay
- Constant Progression
- Visually Fantastic
- Engaging Narrative
- One Game Mode
- Limited Objectives