The Cave as Canvas: A Review of Far Cry Primal

Those who remember Banjo-Tooie (2000) with great fondness, as I do, may remember the ceaseless, bitter conflict between the Unga Bungas and the Oogle Boogles. The Unga Bungas are a warlike people, barely more than sentient beards with clubs; they get very mad when you try to sneak into their cave and routinely administer “big beatings.” The Oogle Boogles, by contrast, are meek and civilized, aspiring not to rule Terrydactyland but to “share” its primeval abundance. Banjo and Kazooie find the Oogle Boogles starving to death in a dark cave, blockaded by their tyrannical rivals. They are clearly the weaker…

Far Cry Primal

Far Cry Primal is more gathering, less hunting

“Upgradeable huts.” “Your game progression can be checked in your personal cave.” “Gather green leaves. To heal tiger wound.” These are some of the phrases I’ve encountered in my time with Far Cry Primal, and they encapsulate a fundamental disjunction that seems to define it. On the one hand, this is a serious and gorgeously realized caveman simulator, a playable diorama: a Far Cry in which every club, arrow, and spear must be crafted; in which darkness is a threat that only fire can abate; in which the formation of a rudimentary society feels, from a narrative perspective, like a matter…


Revisiting the enduring horror of Far Cry 2

The Far Cry series has always dealt in discordance. Those hyper-saturated blues of travel agent brochures and the high-contrast greens of the indigenous flora, deliciously juxtaposed with the hyper-violence you were enacting on screen. It’s the calling card of the series, that contrast; travel fantasies gone wrong. But Far Cry: Primal, out in a few weeks, eschews that trait of the series in favor of a more muted palette. Its world is one untouched by pop culture aesthetics, it gets back to the dirt we supposedly rose out of in the hope that a retreat into our prehistory will rejuvenate…