Like many others, Capcom’s long-dormant survival-horror series, Dino Crisis, immediately came to mind as Exoprimal’s reveal trailer unfolded during the 2022 Capcom Showcase from earlier this year.
Of course, the trailer quickly jumped the shark, making sure to distinguish itself as a wholly original project, but watching a trailer is one thing while playing it is something else entirely. Although brief, my time with the Exoprimal Closed-Network Test left me feeling confident in its eventual release.
In practice, or rather, during actual gameplay, Exoprimal feels closer to something like Dead Rising meets Lost Planet, with hints of Devil May Cry thrown in for good measure. Despite having a limited amount of playable builds (split into three distinct classes), and two playable levels, I can say, at the very least, Exoprimal is a fun game that feels surprisingly deeper than just shooting a slew of dinosaurs with friends.
Deadeye, Zephyr, Witchdoctor and Roadblock make up the available playable exosuit-equipped characters that were playable during the test, with the characters themselves split between assault and support-centric roles. Right off the bat, each character felt both good to play and imperative in their respected roles.
For example, as the Zephyr, a close-range melee-focused fighter, I found myself tanking waves of dinosaurs which took the aggro away from the rest of my squad, opening-up opportunities to complete objects or focus fire on more significant, single-entity threats. Having someone like Witchdoctor also ensured that despite being pelted, I always could get topped off during the brief moments of respite between objectives and encounters. Of course, there were moments where enemies were just too great in their numbers (ala Dead Rising) in which having Roadblock, whom, as the name may suggest, can create barriers that impede the ebb and flow of dinosaurs that spawn.
“Although brief, my time with the Exoprimal Closed-Network Test left me feeling confident in its eventual release.”
Ultimately, I found myself most comfortable with the Deadeye assault-type character, as I enjoyed their focused approach to third-person shooting and great manoeuvrability. Each character in the game also has access to special moves, such as grenades and AOE attacks on a cool down. Fairly standard stuff, but welcome addition that further helps each role feel distinct and nuanced.
The matches in Exoprimal surprised me the most, with each game consisting of two groups of players going head-to-head with each other, tasked with eliminating dinosaurs the quickest, with both sides eventually meeting in combat. Other objectives that go beyond simply killing waves of enemies, such as delivering a payload like we have seen in similar games, go a long way in making matches in Exoprimal feel varied and engaging.
Although limited in content, Exoprimal’s Network Test has left me feeling optimistic about its future. As long as Capcom ensures a steady stream of content and unlockable gear, Exoprimal should be a fun game that can stand toe-toe with other multiplayer-focused titles. Despite not adopting a free-to-play model prevalent in other games of a similar genre, Exoprimal already feels a step above, which should hopefully warrant whatever price of entry Capcom decides upon release.