Here is our Exoprimal Review; enjoy mindless ramblings of a man whose head is now filled with Dinosaurs and Robots going “Pew! Pew!”.
Exoprimal will be interesting to talk about for the following days, weeks, and months, mostly because of its perplexing existence. While being a completely new IP from Capcom, it heavily borrows from two established franchises, the dinosaurs from Dino Crisis and its co-op PvE shooting from Lost Planet.
But most Capcom-heads probably wanted a remake of the survival horror game Dino Crisis with the same love that the Resident Evil Remakes got. Even if we'd just get the Resident Evil Remakes with dinosaurs and prettier graphics, they are very vocal about the fact that Exoprimal isn't that.
But what is Exoprimal? Well, it's a Co-op PvPvE Third-Person Shooter by Capcom in which you control a diverse set of mecha suits and shoot at prehistoric reptiles under the command of a slightly unhinged, out-of-control AI. And it might be the best multiplayer title I've played in years.
Trust me; You're Gonna Love It
A regular videogame enjoyer will look at Exoprimal, and think it's a ripoff of that canceled and repurposed Overwatch 2 PvE Mode and move on, and or complain about its always online nature and monetization.
And it's true that Exoprimal is a multiplayer-only title that comes with a hefty AAA price tag (unless you play it via Game Pass). But if you pass on Exoprimal, you'll miss out on a well-made and well-thought-out multiplayer experience that plays nothing else on the market.
But let's start from the top. In Exoprimal, you're an Exopilot in the year 2043, and after an inciting incident, you're trapped in the perpetual Wargame hosted by the generous AI overlord Leviathan. Now you're trapped in an endless circle of being pitted against another team with 4 fellow unfortunate souls and fighting for survival and high scores in short 20-ish minute-long matches.
The focus is largely on the PvE aspect, in which you have to handle varying objectives while being attacked by an increasingly outrageous roster of dinosaurs. A swarm of Raptors might be easy to handle but try fighting a Triceratops while being under fire of several “Neo Snipersaurus'”.
The Capcom Special Sauce
To deal with these primordial threats, the game lets you pick an array of Exosuits, which are the game's hero classes. There are currently 10 of them in the game, bouncing between genre staples such as damage dealers, and tanks to supporters. All of them are also spins on archetypes you've probably seen somewhere else at some point.
But the main selling point is that this is a Capcom game. And that means that these classes all have stupidly fun gameplay, little gimmicks, and secret tech that makes them interesting to play even 20 hours in. And the game will constantly throw scenarios at you that test your skills and adapt your use of their abilities.
And all 10 of them are genuinely fun to play and toy around with. Later on, you also get the ability to buy either universal upgrades such as faster reload times or more health. Or you go with suit-specific upgrades that change the properties of special attacks, shorten cooldowns or enhance a skills function. The way this is set up, forces you to make interesting decisions and hone in on a certain playstyle since you can't just pick all the ones you like. You only get to pick 3 and only one of each type.
Variety is great as well. You have support classes that are very versatile in combat once you get them down. Damage dealers that encourage you to play recklessly if you have the backing of your teammates and tanks that can just bulldoze through everything.
There is next to nothing to complain about. This was the one thing this game had to nail, and I'm pleased to report that Capcom knocked it out of the park with this one.
Welcome to the Wargames
Exoprimal expects you to sign up for random matches with random players or friends (if you aren't locked to a platform) to participate in the Warmgames. And “The Enemy Team is completing objectives faster than you.” Is a sentence that will haunt me for the next few months.
Here you have to complete a series of objectives on one of 4 or 5(?) maps that range from holding and defending positions to simple dinosaur culls.
And while objectives can seem very samey at first, you never know what to expect. After 12 hours in, I've played objectives and maps I've never seen before and haven't seen since. And depending on how your team performs, objectives will change, or you can make life for the competing team harder.
Even if Missions can be boiled down to killing a lot of dinosaurs, the variety of enemy types, the sheer number of them, or the objective will keep you on your toes. And even then, having to play with and around random players stays engaging just by virtue of how well all the Exosuits play.
For now, I can only assume that this variety will only get better once more players are further into the game. Since you're usually matched with players on your progression level or lower, the game can only play with mechanics that the weakest player has already seen. That's just a tradeoff you have to make for now in this kind of game.
Sometimes you get to fight the other team, always around an objective like capturing and holding points, charging a hammer, or protecting a payload, while still being attacked by dinosaurs. It's fun, fast-paced, and surprisingly balanced. I wouldn't mind if there was a PvP-only mode later down the line.
Missions will also be harder later on; sometimes, you'll have to chase down a mini-boss while being swarmed with all kinds of raptors. It's chaos in the best kind of way, and it's where you forge those random moments of comradery with a stranger that only this kind of game can create. Think of Journey, but you're shooting a T-Rex and are fighting for your life.
Oh, and the MMO-Style Raid Bosses are fantastic and a spectacle to behold. No notes, just give me more of them, please.
Story and Presentation
The story of Exoprimal is functional. It has genuinely charming characters and does the job of framing the multiplayer experience while not being too intrusive. But it has the same trappings that a lot of other Capcom stories, especially the Resident Evil franchise, suffer from. It's more interested in the mechanics of its Pseudo-Science, so if the mystery doesn't interest you, that can fall flat very easily.
But towards the end, I really grew to like the Hammerheads and had some genuine affection for my fellow Exofighters out there. And if you're a sicko like myself, trying to bring your A-Game every single match, this story might also work for you. It's nothing special but it comes to a satisfying conclusion.
As for the presentation, what can I say? The game looks great, sounds great, and runs even on my toaster PC as a solid 50-60 FPS, even under high-stress situations. The RE Engine continues to be fueled by black magic and this just makes me giddy about how future RE Engine titles such as the next Monster Hunter or Dragons Dogma 2 will look and run.
The music is also great, nothing intrusive but it gets you pumped for every encounter. Featuring some tracks by Casey Edwards, who you might remember from those really, really good Devil May Cry 5 tracks. And Exoprimal's theme song, Exohuman, is a certified banger and I will buy that soundtrack.
Quick Note on Monetization
Being always online, with a Battle Pass, unlockable customization, Lootboxes, and a bunch of Day 1 DLC, is a bad look for any game. Add a 60$ USD price tag and it feels like a ripoff.
But let me clarify; there are 3 Exosuits you can unlock through regular play later on or pay extra for. It's daylight robbery but honestly, those characters require a bit more finesse than the others, so unlocking them later feels natural. You can pay extra for them but getting there won't take you that long anyways.
The Survival Pass, which unlocks a bunch of exclusive customization options, most of them outside of the skins for your Exosuits and weapons, is barely visible anyway. Think of the Fighter Pass from Street Fighter 6 just a bit more expensive and even more useless.
Most of the customization options can either be bought via the in-game currency you can only earn by playing, which is also used to upgrade your suits or Lootboxes. Which can also only be unlocked by playing, and these will only unlock customization options you can buy anyways.
It feels so tagged on, you wonder why they even bothered. But that's just how things go. I just hope the upcoming Alpha and Beta variants of the Exosuits will be free updates. But Capcom has a great track record with their Live Service titles so I don't think it will be too egregious.
Exoprimal Review – 8/10
If it isn't apparent, I adore Exoprimal. 60+ Missions in and counting it is probably one of the best online experiences I've had in years. And Normally, the prospect of playing online with strangers in a competitive environment is terrifying to me.
Is this game for you? Well, ask yourself if shooting dinosaurs with strangers while cosplaying a Kamen Rider made by Capcom is something you'd be into. It's exactly that. And I hope that Exoprimal gets the love it deserves with new content and a thriving community.
There is no higher praise I can give than that. Even after playing for 30+ hours over the past few days, I still plan to play a lot more in the coming months. For more reviews, news, and guides around Exoprimal, keep an eye out here on ESTNN.
Exoprimal is available now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC.