I’ll make no bones about it. I have a roller-coaster affair with Exoprimal.

When it was announced and I watched the initial trailer, I was pumped! It looked like a Dino Crisis game but with Iron Man suits! Then I found out it wasn’t survival horror, and that it was an online game with a heavy focus on co-op and PVP!

Oh noes! The travesty! The tragedy!

I was instantly reminded of the many times that Capcom’s tried online shooting multiplayer.

RE: Verse, the Lost Planet games, Umbrella Corps.

None of them gave me much hope that Exoprimal would turn out to be anything more than middling.

Turns out that I was jumping the gun, because Exoprimal is a pretty damn fun game. Basically, it’s Left 4 Dead but with dinosaurs.

I don’t know the story, I don’t care one bit because that’s not really the point of the game. All I know was that I could choose from armored suits from a couple of different types (assault, healing and tank) and that each suit was unique with its abilities.

You can use a common sub-weapon (including what looks to be a railgun and a deployable healing device) but for the most part, the classes don’t have intersecting skills. You’re going to need to depend on your team and hope they’re mindful enough to round out the crew with different classes.

I found out the hard way that going all in as a team of assault suits wasn’t a good idea. You’re going to need a healer to keep the team alive, a tank to shield and draw enemies away from the assaults so that they can mow down incoming dinos with a hail of gunfire.

Exoprimal subscribes to the Overwatch philosophy of adaptation; you can freely change suits and classes during stages or when you’re waiting to respawn after a death. Flexibility is how you survive and even if you decided to play as a single class, you’ll definitely find that switching up your sub-weapons will make life easier.

I really enjoyed my time as the tank class the best. It’s a hulking behemoth-like suit (reminds me of a buffed up Call of Duty Juggernaut) that has an energy shield like Overwatch’s Reinhardt. The cool thing about the shield (other than it prevents enemies from flanking your gang) is that it gains power as it’s attacked, which allows you to do a powerful shield bash.

If you’re too overwhelmed, you’ll be stylishly pushed back, feet planted on the ground while the enemies slowly move you backwards from their swarming.

Apart from fighting dinosaurs, I also went up against opposing human players. You’ll catch glimpses of them as afterimages in earlier phases on the stage before tangling up with them in a stage’s finale. Then it’s an all out brawl between the two teams as both try to push an objective. It’s fast and furious and feels like Overwatch, where you’ll need to be fluid in your choice of armor to counter the opposing team’s makeup.

The demo for that particular stage ended when the objective was pushed to the other team’s side. My team lost sadly.

There’s no time to dwell on that though as the Capcom reps took us to the next area almost immediately. This time around the stage ended with another surprise; both teams had to team up to fight a boss dino!

The run and gun gameplay style was quickly turned on its head as teams reoriented towards a common goal. Suddenly, it wasn’t a game of my team vs yours. Tanks alternated to draw aggro, DPS swarmed in and out of the fray as healers popped off heals left and right to keep everybody alive. If you’ve played a raid in an MMO or Destiny, then you’ll find the whole experience familiarly hectic and fun.

It was a nail biting finish (we had just a minute left on the clock when we finally killed the damn dino boss) but boy was it sweeeeeeeeeeet when the thing FINALLY fell.

I’m not saying that Exoprimal’s going to be my go-to shooter when it finally drops next year…but it’s certainly going to be one of the best games in Q1 2023, that’s for damn sure if the demo’s anything to go by.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. Recently, Sal served as a juror for the Indie Game Awards at Taipei Game Show 2020. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.