Exoprimal Hands-on Impressions
The AI Leviathan is grabbing humans from different dimensions and forcing them to participate in wargames. These deadly trials give it information on exosuits to create the perfect one and fight the dinosaur threat that destroyed the city three years ago. Take control of Ace and participate in the wargames against your will. Can you survive the dinosaur threat that left only a few hundred humans alive in its wake?
The Ruins of Bikitoa
The world was never the same after a strange threat appeared and destroyed everything. Dinosaurs swarmed Bikitoa in 2040 and turned it into the ruins we know it to be today, in 2043. Now, whilst on a mission completely unrelated, a vortex has thrown you into the ruins, and you are now an unwitting participant of the cruel war games.
With a group of partners — Alders, Majesty, Sandy, the Chief, and even a strange ally in Magnum — you will try to find an answer to the wargames, all the while trying to survive whilst being forced to participate in them. The cast of characters is hilarious and lovable, with animated cutscenes that tell important, pivotal moments, and the rest of the story is told through the Analysis Map, allowing you to visit and revisit any memories you wish to see once again. This storytelling form was quite enjoyable, though I really have to give a lot of credit to Alders — he really made the jokes when they hit the hardest.
Play through more wargames as you unlock new fragments to piece together the story. How can you escape Leviathan? What caused the disaster in Bikitoa? But to do that, you'll need to…
Survive the Wargames
Put on your exosuit and prepare your weapons — it's time to fight the cretaceous threat. You and four other players will be tasked with a simple job: fight the dinosaur waves and do it quicker than the enemy. This PvPvE title will pair you with a group of other players as you pick from 10 exosuits to fit your playstyle.
Assault exosuits are focused on dealing damage to both the enemy team and the dinosaurs, Tank exosuits focus on defending everyone from the dangerous dinosaurs you will be facing, and Support exosuits ensure the safety of your team through healing and disabling enemies. Assembling a balanced team will be pivotal to your success, so adaptability to the battlefield is important as you face new enemies and fight against the foes that stand between you and victory.
The various exosuits are very enjoyable to use and each has their strengths and weaknesses. As I got to try each new one, I found myself enjoying the gameplay more, finding new characters to love and new strategies to take advantage of. I'd recommend finding at least one character of each class that you like in order to better adapt yourself to the battles ahead — you'll need to be able to respond to your team's build in order to be victorious!
Exoprimal comes with only one gamemode at the current moment, but it's quite fun and replayable, especially as new combinations of enemies come into play. The slow progression ensures you are seeing more enemies even after playing for a couple of hours, and mastering the exosuits is a great way to ensure you are doing better in each fight.
Each Dino Survival is quite simple: you start with a PvE section in which you fight waves of enemies doing what Leviathan tells you to do — cull the dinosaurs, defend a point, etc. You'll get a very clear goal that you need to accomplish as a team, and you'll get various ones before you reach the final section.
In the last dimension, you are tasked with a job that will be all too familiar for fans of games like Overwatch — escorting the payload. Dinosaurs will try to hurt it, and it'll be up to you to stick by its side and defeat anything that comes near it, a job easier said than done when the enemy acquires a Dominator, being able to take control of a dinosaur and wreak havoc on you and your allies.
The finale is a culmination of PvP-heavy combat in the PvP version of Dino Survival, wherein you'll need to defeat the enemy and shoot at them and their objective to slow them as much as you can, ensuring your team is the first one to finish the objective and win. In the PvE, it's a little less hectic, where instead, you'll be given harder challenges than the original ones and the first team to win takes the crown.
From common raptors to the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex, you'll have to fight a wide range of enemies in each level and adapt your playstyle accordingly. The unstoppable charging dinosaurs must be met with an immovable force in the form of Tanks to stun them and increase the damage dealt — teamwork is pivotal.
Change your strategy depending on the quests that Leviathan gives you and fight dinosaurs through their weakness. As you learn more about the enemies, you'll perform better and learn to survive more wargames until you become a veteran — the only way through Leviathan's cruel tests is through, so you'd better gear up and learn how to overcome them.
Finding a way to adapt around enemies is always a welcome addition, though I couldn't help but feel a little helpless against some of them when playing some exosuits, such as the melee ones whilst fighting aerial dinosaurs. Being unable to contribute to the team whenever this occurred felt a bit discouraging, but that's a big part of where the wide range of exosuits comes from: you'll need to change at a per-need basis to ensure you're covering all grounds.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Play together with up to a group of four friends to form a five-person squad to reign superior against your enemies! Teamwork will be pivotal not only in how you assemble your team but communication, too — focus on the objectives to be victorious. As a matchmaking game, it can be a bit difficult to coordinate with your teammates, but no team ever felt entirely hopeless (aside from the one time, but we don't talk about that...).
Communication is easy with pings and even in-game voice chat that allows you to play with others, but Exoprimal is definitely better experienced with a group of friends that you can better coordinate with. That said, there are also systems in place that ensure that although you might be falling behind in some areas, you can still pick up and catch up, especially in the final PvP segment, where all Hell breaks loose and your opportunity to shine really comes through.
The satisfaction of defeating an enemy that was performing better in other areas is not often replicated in other games, especially when Exoprimal has such short runtimes in each round, anyway, ensuring that it doesn't feel disheartening when you aren't part of the winning team. Plus, it's always fun to just shoot raptors, even when the match is already over.
Customise Your Exosuit with Progression
The game remains ever-enjoyable, with tons of customisations you can do to ensure you can keep playing and experiencing things. In the hangar, you'll be able to change a lot of aspects of your exosuit, including their modules, cosmetics, and even see the levels that each one has, for a total of 20 levels for each of the 10 suits available!
Mastering each one is great fun because learning their battle implications ensures that you become a true wargame master. And even if your team doesn't pick up their slack, there is always the next wargame to face... if you dare step up to the job and try to defeat Leviathan, that is.