The reveal of Exoprimal puzzled longtime Capcom and Dino Crisis fans, and the full game continues to drive a similar sentiment. Exoprimal players are sent into a futuristic setting with dinosaurs running amok, and the main story leaves much to be desired in the opening hours. In fact, Exoprimal’s gameplay is relatively basic as new exofighters grow accustomed to exosuits and dinosaur culling. Strangely enough, Exoprimal manages to shine and impress with exciting modes, thrilling dinosaur fights, and addicting gunplay later into a playthrough.
Exoprimal’s story is rather shallow at the beginning as the player character awaits an interview for Aibius, the organization in charge of developing exosuit technology. Exofighters are set to investigate Bikitoa Island, a desolate archipelago isolated from the outside world by Leviathan, a high-tech AI running Aibius. To make matters worse, a giant array crashed down onto Bikitoa’s main hub, Tuvao City, and dinosaurs were seen spawning in droves. A crew of exofighters crash land on Bikitoa Island, and the AI sends the player back in time to 2040 to participate in “wargames” against other exofighters.
Exoprimal: Polished, Mindless Fun – Soul Kiwami
Exoprimal is quick to bring players into the action after a short tutorial introducing gunplay, exosuits, and abilities. The roguish exofighter Magnum introduces the player to the basics of dinosaur culling in a wargame, but Leviathan throws a T-Rex to assert his dominance over the field of players. After this introductory mission, players may tackle the main story through the Dino Survival mode.
In Dino Survival, players participate in 5v5 PvE battles against dinosaurs with direct PvP confrontations. This mode provides the main gameplay loop of Exoprimal with the choice of playing as tank, healer, or assault exosuits at any point of the match. At the start, Dino Survival felt incredibly repetitive and off-putting with its basic approach to match objectives. However, players who stick around and trudge through the first 10 hours of the game may be pleasantly surprised.
Exoprimal’s story progresses incrementally as players complete matches and collect Lost Data, which unlocks cutscenes and additional lore at the Analysis Lab. Story cutscenes play throughout the course of Dino Survival, but the Analysis Lab offers intriguing lore and dialogue that’s seriously engaging for a game that has a mediocre and whimsical opening. Further, players will experience more variety through new dinosaur species, objectives, and modes after making sufficient progress.
Around the 40% mark in the main story, Exoprimal suddenly opens the floodgates with exciting gameplay, an effective customization system, and polished gunplay that becomes more fun after acquiring useful exosuit upgrades. We were able to experience raid-like activities where up to 10 players team up to battle thousands of dinosaurs at once with powerful bosses in their wake. Capcom’s latest title manages to be both extremely polished and very enjoyable, but players have to commit and take time to get to Exoprimal’s most engaging content.
An Offputting and Dragging Intro, Yet Nonchalant Fun in the End – Aion
In its opening hours, Exoprimal left me bored and desperate to put it down. At Level 1, you have access to one game mode and are left to grind Dino Survival for hours. This mode pits your team of five against another team of five, each working to beat the other to fend off waves of dinosaurs. You’ll fight Raptors, Pteranodons, Pachycephalosaurs, and a Carnotaurus. For the next seven matches, that order remained the exact same. It wasn’t until I reached Level 8 that the order flipped, and something new presented itself. At this point, I was utterly content with throwing in the towel and calling it a day in the strange world of Exoprimal. I wanted to throw my controller hearing “Dinosaur Cull”. I’m glad I continued, as the game makes tremendous strides after its opening hours.
Exoprimal is much more fun than I ever expected. The wacky combination of a team-based shooter combined with wild dinosaur fights ended up enjoyable, even if the opening hours were dreadful. Things truly start to open up once you progress to Level 15, where new modes and dinosaurs regularly unlock. You’ll be consistently challenged through new waves and minimal repetition. Dinosaurs you’ve seen before will return with new twists, such as the ability to spew poison across your squadron. These later missions are especially important when it comes to selecting and perfecting the different classes of Exoprimal, dubbed Exosuits.
There are a total of over 10 different Exosuits available in the game. I enjoyed cycling through these and seeing which of them fit my play style the best. Each is categorized into one of three categories: Assault, Tank, or Healer. They function extremely similarly to classes found in Overwatch, where your team needs to be comprised of multiple suit categories to function properly. While some of the classes felt very uninspired and copy-pasted, I didn’t mind it once I entered the meat of the game. There are plenty of different abilities you can customize your Exosuit with, such as Rigs, which are suit attachments you can change. You can elect to go with a huge canon on your shoulder, opt for a healing ring, or plenty of other options. Each of the Exosuits offered also has a variety of unique abilities and weapons to use. Most are either short-ranged or long-ranged, so it does require a bit of strategy to fully utilize your Exosuit to the best of your abilities.
Looking back, it was extremely frustrating and a puzzling choice considering the amount of variety found in later levels. The progression system is frustrating, but once you reach the point of new content, matches are exciting and fresh each time. I, out of nowhere, happened upon a match where the end fight was against a burning tunnel with 1000 raptors bursting out of it. I was shocked, and it forced me to quickly pivot my team’s strategy on how we could overcome this wave. It’s very unfortunate that you’re not able to face any of the exciting dinosaurs and challenges until much further into the game, but that is something Capcom could easily end with a patch.
It’s incredible how polished the title is. Despite my grievances and the strange design decisions, Exoprimal still has that Capcom layer of polish. The RE Engine is put to work with hundreds of dinosaurs spawning out of portals at once. It’s quite impressive how well the game performs. The gameplay is extremely refined, despite reused classes you’ve seen in other multiplayer shooters. Not once did I encounter a bug during my time with the game, and matches tended to be found within a few seconds at most.
Overall, I think Exoprimal has an exciting future if it plays its cards right. It’s a tough battle winning over players with a very steep $60 price tag, but the game is available on Xbox Game Pass for players to try out. It feels that the title would’ve greatly benefitted from a free-to-play approach, but with a continuous content stream, I do see a future where the game has an active player base. While mindless, there is enough of a foundation here where real fun can be had with exciting and fresh content updates.
That potential is also what’s most disappointing to me. It feels like this could’ve been a home run with the fight structure and focus, but attention went elsewhere when this should’ve had more time to cook. Regardless, Capcom has work to do to truly justify this fun yet mixed package as a premium $60 title.
“$60 Multiplayer-Only…” – Rain Hikari
I remember seeing the Exoprimal reveal trailer and thinking, “Oh, cool! Earth Defense Force with dinosaurs!” With a wacky, futuristic setting, this game couldn’t have caught my attention easier. I’m also a sucker for campy media, and with Capcom’s recent incredible track record, I expected a game that would wow me and leave me fiending for more. Fortunately, Exoprimal is more than mediocre and leaves me wanting more.
In the first two hours of starting Exoprimal, I feared the game would continue to be a mindless, repetitive experience. At first, the game felt boring, possibly because I didn’t understand what I was doing or why I was doing it. Without a single-player campaign, you have no choice but to play the multiplayer modes repeatedly. A lack of single-player is odd; however, they’re not the only company publishing full-priced multiplayer-only titles, so this is somewhat excusable.
Exoprimal‘s character similarities to Overwatch are striking, lacking originality in their designs and roles. The aesthetic is futuristic but uninspired, as if Warframe and Anthem had a baby. The main playlist, Dino Survival, is similar to the player vs. player vs. environment game mode Gambit found in Destiny 2. Whether you win or lose in Exoprimal, completing matches will gradually progress the plot and unlock new game modes for you to play.
Regarding the plot, Exoprimal isn’t as interesting as I hoped for how wacky the game presents itself. Unfortunately, the most exciting moments of the story are scarce, which is frustrating considering how many games you have to play to get through it. After powering through 15 matches, Exoprimal introduced me to new dinosaur variants and an awe-inspiring scene where a thousand raptors rain from a dimensional rift without a single frame drop. Still, it took quite some time to get here, and I worried that this was all the game would be.
Leviathan, an advanced artificial intelligence and the main villain of Exoprimal, reminds you of your recent game history at the beginning of each match, which is a nice touch. This AI has a continuous presence within Exoprimal, leading you to your next objective, telling you if you’re losing during the match, praising you if you’re winning, or roasting you if you fail. I like Leviathan’s role in Exoprimal, as it makes the game feel alive and kicking as you kill dinosaurs and sprint to the finish line. Leviathan is all-powerful and cruel, but I wouldn’t want the game without it.
I found extreme frustration with the pacing of unlocking new content. I don’t particularly appreciate that I cannot choose what game mode I want to play. I am sure that Dino Survival’s random playlist is due to Capcom’s lack of confidence in the matchmaking of Exoprimal. If I could choose what game mode I wanted to play, I wouldn’t be able to find matches with other players as quickly, and this is the struggle of making a niche game with a reasonably low player base since Exoprimal insists on charging $60 for this experience. Even as the title charges full-price for entry, it still has a premium season pass costing $10.
The good news is that this game is highly stable and easy to jump into, and the gameplay feels solid. Exoprimal is incredibly polished, and I didn’t expect to have this much fun with it. My favorite exosuit in Exoprimal is the tank known as “Murasame,” which yells his moves in Japanese and has an incredibly powerful ultimate that reminds me of Vergil’s Judgment Cut from Devil May Cry. Energy Taker is my favorite game mode, as it pits you directly against the enemy team in a fight to claim energy around the battlefield. These moments of direct player-vs-player action in the endgame of matches are my favorite, and I always look forward to them.
Similar to Overwatch, Exoprimal can get incredibly sweaty. Getting frustrated at your teammates for not playing their roles is commonplace, and it’s no different in Exoprimal. When the healers aren’t healing, and the tanks aren’t tanking, you’ll want to pull your hair out if you’re taking the game even somewhat seriously. I feel like a significant force on my team, and that’s beautiful.
Despite the slow startup, I’m surprised I had so much fun playing Exoprimal. It’s a unique game, and Capcom has laid a promising roadmap for the future, but I wonder if this game will last more than a year. Exoprimal being as niche as it is, I wouldn’t be surprised if Capcom eventually makes the game free-to-play or slashes the price heavily, but I will be closely watching.
Final Weapon’s Final Thoughts on Exoprimal
After a seriously hectic boss battle with Leviathan, our time with Exoprimal comes to a satisfying end for now. Exofighters may continue to level up exosuits and the Season Pass to earn additional rewards and unlocks. Players who finish the main story of Exoprimal gain access to Savage Gauntlet mode, which will be available in a future update. Reaching the end of Exoprimal took roughly 55 missions to complete, or roughly 30 to 35 hours. The time needed to complete Exoprimal may vary greatly from player to player, however.
In short, Exoprimal is a promising third-person action game with extremely fun elements, but its early game portion is lackluster and stretches for quite some time. After the 10-hour mark, Exoprimal begins to showcase its best elements through chaotic objectives, enticing exosuits and upgrades, and a unique cast of characters. The future of Exoprimal is in Capcom’s hands, and we hope the team capitalizes on what makes this game really fun to play by continuing to introduce features and game modes over time. The first season is a decent start, and future seasons and updates will be a clear sign of how Exoprimal lasts in the long run.
Disclaimer: Capcom provided Final Weapon with PlayStation 5 copies of Exoprimal for review purposes.