To the chagrin of many Capcom fans, a new Dino Crisis isn't coming out -- at least, not anytime soon. They shouldn't fret about it too much, because a new Capcom game with dinosaurs front and center should definitely be on your radar. After slaying through literally hundreds of vicious, rabid raptors, tyrannosauruses, and other scaly beasts during the Exoprimal Network Test, there's a definite possibility Capcom has another smash hit on their hands.
Exoprimal is Ferociously Fun
Being a network test, Exoprimal was a bit light on content so far. I was able to proceed through a tutorial and go through several rounds of the main game, which serves as a nice taste of things to come. I was surprised to find that during the tutorial, you were able to customize your character. Your character pilot Exosuits, which are these mechanized suits designed to survive in a world where raptors seem to spill out of wormholes like it's an everyday weather occurrence. Each suit is equipped with a unique set of weapons as well as mobility and damage-based abilities.
Exoprimal's Exosuits are split into three classes, from the DPS-centric Assault to the beefy Tank class, and lastly the self-explanatory Support class. There were four available during this test, and I can already tell the variety will be enticing for Exoprimal players. There's the Deadeye, within the Assault category your standard automatic rifle class that shoots fast and has access to grenades. Zephyr is also within the Assault category and prefers to get up close and personal with blades to slice and dice through enemies. Of these two, I preferred the Deadeye with its satisfying gunplay and versatile skillset. It's a good all-rounder option, plus you're able to stay out of harm's way easier.
For Support Exosuits, there's the Witchdoctor -- this bug-like set of armor directly heals allies on your team while also stunning dinos with a shock stick. My favorite from this test, however, was the Tank called Roadblock. Armed with a giant shield like Reinhardt from Overwatch as well as a fist to pummel through raptors, I haven't felt that badass in a long time. When there are literally hundreds of dinosaurs pushing against your shield, the Roadblock visually braces himself against the onslaught. It's such a cool sight to see, and I can't wait to see what other Exosuits are available down the line. The ability to switch Exosuits in the middle of a mission is also a nice feature, allowing you to respond to the various surprises Exoprimal throws at players.
But how does a regular Exoprimal match work? It comprises two teams of five that compete head-to-head to eliminate dinosaurs the fastest. These dinosaurs spill out of wormholes and flow into futuristic, city-like environments. You'll go from point to point and stop often to fulfill objectives, which usually involves slaying a bunch of dinosaurs. Since you're going head-to-head against another team of five, the final objective was to escort a cube that we had to protect. Eventually, both teams converged to a point and we were able to fight each other with the end goal requiring our cube to reach the objective first. I love that there's some PVP aspect to it, which adds some nice variation to the dinosaur slaying. The final moments of these matches are incredibly intense and create an exciting combat situation completely different from slaying NPC dinosaurs.
Probably the coolest feature was the ability to control dinosaurs themselves. Near the end, when both teams fought, one player had access to a device that controlled a dinosaur. I had a player-controlled T-Rex beeline for me, but I was able to take it down using my class' ultimate ability, letting loose a volley of lethal missiles. Someone on my team charged into the enemy with a controlled triceratops, which got us an easy victory in the end. These dinosaurs also come with unique abilities, so it's not just a simple "click to attack" type of deal.
My final match of the Network Test was about as thrilling as they come and leaves me very excited for more. In an unexpected twist, both teams were transported to this virtual space where we were tested by a morally dubious AI. The AI put us through a gauntlet of challenges, ranging from slaying 2000 raptors which rained down from above like a freakin' waterfall, and then going against this horribly mutated abomination called a Neo T-Rex. The Neo T-Rex was quite the challenge for 10 players and with a generous pool of health, it felt like a raid boss out of an MMO. If this is what Capcom has in store for players, I can't wait to see what's next.
Exoprimal has no super complex objectives from what I can see -- it's simply slay, move on, and slay again. It does appear that levels will be randomized to some extent, spawning different dinosaurs from previous runs. I'm alright with the lack of complexity, though, because the gameplay is very tight. With a few handy abilities available for each class, there won't be a large learning curve for players. Honestly, Exoprimal takes me back to the simple days of games such as Left 4 Dead, where the objective is just to survive against hundreds -- even thousands -- of enemies. Left 4 Dead was mechanically solid but wasn't padded with combat features, but it worked. This is why Exoprimal excites me so much.
For as mechanically solid and fun as Exoprimal is, I believe this title's success will depend on its progression system. How laden with microtransactions will it be? What's going to keep players coming back? Does it have a solid roadmap? Now that I know Exoprimal is a fundamentally good game that runs and plays extremely well, I'm interested to see what the true nature of this beast is. For now, Exoprimal knows exactly what it wants to be and runs with it. It's nothing more than stupidly fun dinosaur slaying with badass mech suits, and I'm all here for it.
TechRaptor previewed the Exoprimal Network Test on Steam with a code provided by Capcom.