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Far Cry Primal’s protagonist, Takkar, is a “master of beasts”. Or at least, so we’re told in the newest trailer. Along with the bows and outposts that have become staple components of the Far Cry franchise, the trailer displays a number of new and exciting mechanics.

Given that Primal the game is set 12000 years before the series’ latest instalment, Far Cry 4, there will be none of the guns, vehicles or radio towers that fans have grown to love. We’ll admit that, at first, this did sound disheartening. But Takkar’s interactions with the world of Oros have the potential to diversify the game, while still remaining true to the Far Cry roots.

Takkar’s weapons include the expected bow and arrow, as well as clubs and an array of spears. The bow functions as it always has: a single arrow to the head will kill an enemy, but otherwise multiple shots are required. The spear works similarly as a ranged weapon, but also has close-quarters melee functionalities. And the club is specifically exciting in that it can be set ablaze and swung at enemies. It poses dangerous collateral to the reckless user, as it can just as easily ignite the players surroundings, most of which, given the setting of the game, are flammable.

Now, melee weapons aren’t a new addition to the Far Cry universe, but in previous titles the focus has very much been on gunplay. Players have conquered the hostile environments of Vaas’ islands to the Pagan Min’s savage alps, liberating outposts via strategically sniping outposts or all-out guns-blazing warfare. Either way, upgrading and unlocking firearms comprised a central part of the series. And many of the scepticisms regarding Primal stem from the removal of this function from the Far Cry world.

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But the gameplay debuted at the Game Awards 2015 introduced an interesting substitution: the ability to tame animals.

The in-game animals include sabretooths, direwolves and everything in between. From what the gameplay tells us, each has a different approach to fighting: bears are ferocious and sturdy, in the style of the traditional tank character, while the jaguar is swift and stealthy. The owl is a specifically interesting addition that replaces the hang glider and binoculars. Far Cry Primal also introduces an interesting element in the player’s relationship with these animals. Should you be attacked – by another wild animal, or even by your fellow man – your tamed animal will quickly turn on you.

Of course, the collecting of plants and animal-parts are as important as always in upgrading, with the stone-age world of Oros looking gorgeous and intriguing. In typical Far Cry style, the map is massive and is uncovered through exploration. Players can fast travel between bonfires found in liberated outposts– or ‘villages’ as they’re called in Primal. The taming of animals is essential in the liberation of villages and the diversity of animals allows players to approach this challenge through stealth or frontal assault.

The idea of a new Far Cry title was, in itself, enough to draw our interest, but with its setting and array of new mechanics, Primal has us eagerly awaiting its release in February of 2016.

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