When I first heard of Exoprimal, my first reaction was one of apathy. Another multiplayer shooter…just what we all wanted, right? The dinosaur theme didn’t hook me either, I wasn’t really a fan of the creatures. Then something magical happened…I got to try out the game for myself at Tokyo Game Show 2022.
And you know what?
I loved it!
…Well, the beta version on demo that is.
Now the final version is out, is Exoprimal as fun as the demo session was?
Find out by reading on!
What is Exoprimal?
Exoprimal is a 3D third person team based shooter. Players group up in two teams of 5 and are given tasks ranging from killing dinosaurs to escorting valuables. Developed and published by Capcom, the game supports cross-platform multiplayer and is available right now on the PC, Playstation and Xbox consoles.
Capcom kindly gave us PC and Playstation 5 codes to review the crossplay! Thanks so much!
If you’re a veteran gamer (or hell, just a veteran of Capcom games), you might notice that Exoprimal shares some themes with Capcom’s other dinosaur series. Yep, Dino Crisis. Come on, you can’t expect me to talk about this game and NOT mention that series right?
Also Capcom, Dino Crisis revival when?
Like Dino Crisis, the events in Exoprimal are tied to time displacement (and lots of dinosaurs), although here there are alternate worlds thrown in for good measure too. Basically, dinosaurs were brought back from the past (nobody knows how), unleashed on the world, wiped out an island called Bikitoa and pretty much everybody died there. The island got quarantined right after. Nothing in or out.
Fast forward years later, and you’re tasked to investigate weird happenings on that very island.
Before you can even get your feet wet, you’re swept back in time to 2040, at the exact moment the dinos first appeared and forced to team up with other displaced people (from other parallel realities) like you.
All this for Leviathan, the AI for Aibius (the company you work for), which can apparently now manipulate time and space (hence the alternate realities part) and is gathering data from the human vs dino battles (called Wargames by Leviathan) he orchestrates for some nefarious purpose.
It’s a bit out there as plots go, but I actually dig it…which is why I’m devastated when I found out how piecemeal it all seemed in-game.
That’s because unlike most games in the genre, Exoprimal only has ONE mode currently.
No Story or Multiplayer separation.
This one mode is all you get (for now) when you buy Exoprimal.
It’s an incredibly weird decision on Capcom’s part. Why not have the 10-man boss battle as a regular mode? Or just a regular horde mode where your team has to withstand hordes of dinosaurs? I’m really perplexed why there’s only one game mode here.
The mode’s called Dino Survival and it’s the only way of playing the game at the moment.
There’s another mode coming called Savage Gauntlet (which is a randomized horde mode judging from its description), but the only way to unlock it is to clear the game…and wait, since it’s not out yet.
Yeah, it’s a major bummer.
As soon as you pick Dino Survival, you’re taken to the waiting room as the game gathers up your comrades. It’s a 5 vs 5 affair, but if the game has trouble getting teammates for you, it’ll chuck bots in to fill the empty slots. I’ve been in matches with as little as 2 other human players. The bots are decent enough but are noticeably inferior to good human players. If you’re handicapped with a team with bots vs a team filled out with humans, it’s almost a certainty you’ll lose.
Like Overwatch, the Exosuits in Exoprimal are styled for either offense, defense or support. Pretty self-explanatory, right? The offense and defense suits are pretty cool and have great abilities and very fun to play (especially Krieger and Roadblock) but the support suits (aka the healers), could use some redesigns.
Healing in Exoprimal doesn’t really feel as satisfying as it does in other team based games. I usually play a healer in such games, but I’m playing defense suits in Exoprimal because healing isn’t as fun or rewarding as it could be. Capcom really needs to tweak the support suits to make them more fun in my opinion.
Dino Survival mode is a blend of speed running, defending an objective, horde mode, escort and PVP. You’re constantly being pitted against the other team, with Leviathan mocking (or praising) your team’s performance when compared to your competitors.
The stages change as you play (though there’s only a handful of different ones) so there’s incentive to keep on plugging away. Just know that the game drip feeds you in every way.
From class progression all the way to enemies you face. You need to keep playing for the game to progress your story, so that you’ll slooooowly unlock new stages and enemies to face.
Special stages (which can’t be replayed by choice as far as I know) also trigger when you reach certain story milestones, including a massive 10-man fight vs a mutated Tyrannosaurus Rex. It’s these stages that show what the game is truly capable of and is a shame they’re hidden away behind hours and hours of grinding.
They’re truly spectacular, as they combine both squads into a singular team and force you to fight against tremendous amounts of enemies. They’re hands down the best stages the game has, and it’s a damn shame that Capcom doesn’t let you replay them as much as you want.
Playing Dino Survival over and over is also how you progress through the story, as you get item drops called Lost Data (that progress the story) after every battle.
It’s a really weird way to integrate the story into the multiplayer…and I’m still unsure if I love it (because it assures there’s always people playing) or hate it (because I just want to experience the story without playing with others).
To finish the game, you’ll need to play Dino Survival for a grand total of 56 times! I know that, because I did exactly that.
…Ok, I played 57 times, because we wiped on the final boss the first time.
Since there’s no way to create a bot only party, you’re forced to play with other people no matter what. You can’t even create private parties that only your friends can join. Compared to other games, playing together with friends in Exoprimal can a massive hassle because there’s simply no other option to playing.
You only get to party up and that’s it. You can’t even rejoin a game if you get dropped from it. Your spots automatically filled with a bot and you’re kicked back to the main menu. You don’t even get any XP for match participation or anything.
Interestingly, the game cocked up on me once and placed me in a match with every slot filled with bots.
I don’t know what caused the game to glitch like that but it does prove that if Capcom wanted, it’s more than possible to play the game solo. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’ll happen anytime soon, if at all.
Matchmaking is quick and painless (at least for now), and I usually get into a match in about a minute or so. Netcode is great (there’s no way to pick your match connection or servers) thankfully, and there’s no lag 99% of the time. Sometimes there’s rubberbanding but it usually resolves in a few seconds before everything is great again.
There are multiple phases to a Dino Survival match, with your team being directed to another area as soon as one is cleared. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of mission types. You either kill a certain number of dinos, defend an area or escort an AI exofighter. Dinosaur culling missions far exceed the other mission types too, so you’ll be killing stuff every time.
All the while, an opposing team is doing the same objectives as you and it’s race to the final mission to see who completes them all first.
Losing doesn’t make that much of a difference in the minor phases too. The only thing different I’ve found is that losers get is a Dominator power up sooner in the final mission phase. The winners get a Dominator powerup too (just later in the mission) so it’s not like there’s a huge handicap.
Dominators are fun to use though!
They let you play as a dinosaur and wreak havoc in the enemy team’s instance. Only one person on the team can use the Dominator (it drops in the map as a pickup) so sadly it’s usually a rush to get to it. While you can use a Dominator whenever you want if you have it, it’s obviously strategic to use it when you think the enemy team’s being swamped with AI enemies.
It’s all blind luck though. I’ve spawned in sometimes right when the enemy team is awaiting new enemies to spawn…which meant I had their undivided attention and got gunned down fast. I’ve also spawned in when the opposition was swamped with raptors, which allowed me to rampage pretty much unheeded. No matter what, Dominator spawning can mean the difference between winning or losing.
Unfortunately, due to the game having only this singular mode, it makes things very repetitive, very quick. It’s fine in short bursts but the game definitely isn’t suited for marathon sessions.
To its credit, Exoprimal does have depth to it…elsewhere.
Exosuits all have individual unlocks as you use and gain experience in them. You can customize secondary weapons, even assign individual perks (which you unlock as you level up the suits). You even get alternate skins as incentives for playing.
There’s even a premium battle pass (called the Premium Survival Pass) that you can buy to get even more unlocks.
Oh yeah, the game has loot boxes too but you can get the unlocks through in-game currency so it’s there’s really no FOMO.
It all doesn’t matter much once you get bored though.
Exoprimal also makes it a bit hard to play with your friends if they’re on different platforms. Yes, there’s cross-platform play, and yes, you can team up but you can ONLY invite people on the platform you’re playing on.
Sky had the game on the Playstation 5, while I’m gaming on the PC and we wanted to play together. No dice. Despite Capcom requiring a Capcom ID for the game, there’s no way to invite friends on other platforms to join your team. Since there’s no lobby system like in Street Fighter 6 (which was how Sky and I met up in-game), there’s no way to meetup at all.
Another thing the game sorely needs is a method to punish quitters and idle idiots. Having a quitter or an idle member in your party basically guarantees a loss. Right now there’s no way to block (so you never get matched with them again) or even kick AFK or non-contributing members, which is frustrating to say the least.
On the flip side, it also needs a way to reward gamers who play the game well. There’s really no incentive to make sure gamers cooperate, which really sucks.
Capcom had multiple betas for this game and yet nobody thought of this problem? Come on guys, that’s really boneheaded. I’ve had multiple matches where a quitter or an idling idiot cost us a win. Bots just aren’t good enough.
One thing’s for sure though, Exoprimal is pretty damn optimized on the PC.
We tested it with the following hardware:
– MSI B550M Mortar
– AMD Ryzen 9 5900X with NZXT Kraken X73 RGB Liquid Cooler
– MSI GeForce RTX 3080Ti Suprim X 12GB
– 64GB DDR4 RAM (Teamgroup T-Force Dark Z 16GB x 4 @ 3600MHz)
– Samsung 980 PRO 2TB SSD
Settings were all set to the maximum, 4K resolution. There’s no DLSS, though there’s support for AMD FSR 1.0 and 2. There’s also no in-game benchmark, but you can enable a native FPS counter so you can eyeball your framerate without using any external app.
A side mention; both our motherboard and GPU were awesomely sponsored by the great folks at MSI. I can honestly say the MSI GeForce RTX 3080Ti Suprim X 12GB is a hell of a GPU and more than worth its asking price. Great performance in games, looks damn cool with its RGB stylings too!
Thanks to MSI and their kind generosity, we’ll be reviewing more PC games now since we have the hardware to deliver a quality review experience.
Anyways, even without any AI enhancements, the game ran great with everything maxed at 4K at 60FPS.
It’s a great experience in action, as you’re swarmed by hordes of raptors and other dinosaurs. Due to that, I think it’s safe to assume that even moderately old hardware should be able to run the game with acceptable settings.
I never encountered a drop in the game’s framerate, even when the screen was filled with dinosaurs and things exploding everywhere. That’s a testament on how well optimized the game is. It’s the same on the Playstation 5 too, so no matter which platform you’re playing Exoprimal on, you’re going to have a smooooooth time.
The game’s art design is pretty cool too. The Exosuits all have their own distinct look (though I can’t help but compare them to Overwatch characters) and abilities and Capcom’s promised suit variants (with different looks and weapon loadouts) coming in title updates.
I just wished there were more enemy types to fight. All you do is blast dinosaurs day in and day out and the occasional Exosuit of a rival team. There’s hope though, since Exoprimal is a live service game.
Capcom could potentially add in a boatload of new enemies over the game’s lifespan.
The Bottom Line.
Exoprimal is a good game that’s ironically a bit tough to recommend…for now.
The gameplay is fun but the sheer repetition will put off pretty much all but the hardest of hardcore. That’s a damn shame because Exoprimal slowly gets better the more you progress in the game. However, that alone is a tough ask, because progression requires a playing TON of games.
If you have the patience to stick around, and can stomach the game’s quirks, Exoprimal offers an unrelenting (and kind of refreshing to be honest) shooter where you’re always under pressure to perform and be as efficient as you can. The action never lets up and blasting dinosaurs back to the stone age never gets old if you turn your mind off while you play.
Fun game but is buried by slow progression and mind-numbing repetition.
- Lots of unlocks.
- Gameplay is fun and varied.
- Quick matches.
- Plot is interesting.
- Dino swarms!
- Special story stages are insanely fun.
- Insanely repetitive.
- No way to invite players from other platforms.
- No cross-progression.
- No way for private matches.