Impressions | EXOPRIMAL Open Beta
Exoprimal is having an open beta and we were invited to check it out early. This game is coming to Game Pass in July of this year, and it’s way better than I had hoped it would be. It is a 5v5 PvE-focused title, with shades of PvP sprinkled throughout each match. You will don one of 10 exosuits and take to the dino cull as a plaything of the super powerful AI Leviathan. This weird type of game doesn’t get made anymore, and I have loved my time with it. So exactly what is Exoprimal (at least in this beta)? Let’s find out!
The heart of Exoprimal is the Dino Survival mode. You and up to 4 other human players will take on an increasingly difficult horde of various Dinosaurs. You’ll be doing this at the same time as another team of 5 players, facing the same procedurally chosen “missions”. This Open Beta is severely limited in content, most likely so that Capcom can focus on its servers and specific player feedback. I played through 4 different maps with a handful of mission types randomly chosen on each.
To begin with, you’ll go through the Training Area tutorial. There are 10 mech suits in total with 4 of them being DPS, 3 Tanks, and 3 Healers. You can swap to any suit at any time, and I enjoyed playing with every single one of them. There is a mix of ranged and melee for each class and hints of a deeper customization setup. This Open Beta had no menus available outside of the Dino Survival Matchmaking and Training area so I couldn’t test it out.
Character types vary from your bog standard shooters to death-dancing sword wielders, and my personal favorite the Ghost Rider-looking grenade-launching pyromaniac. Tanks see one melee-focused brute, an enormous chain-gun-wielding area of denial behemoth, and a swift sword-wielding samurai type. The 3 healers have the Witch Doctor, who focuses on large aoe heals, the Mercy-style flying-focused character that can damage and heal with her ranged attacks, and the roller-blading twin gun psycho. She can change up between damage and healing on the fly and they’re all FUN. That word permeates through my entire time playing this open beta. I put in 6 hours and even when losing it was unbelievably fun.
(Not) Dino Crisis
While you will spend the majority of your time fighting off computer-controlled dinosaurs there is a lot of PVP in the latter portions of a match. At any time the AI can give each side a “Dominator”. This allows one player to invade the other team’s combat area as a very powerful dinosaur. I got to do this a few times and it felt well-balanced. Against a smart team, I still got some good hits in, but when fighting a less opponent I dominated. The other time you’ll fight face to face, at least in the main mode for the beta, is in the final mission of a match.
These take place in one main combat area that both teams fight in. There were a few main mission types for this, with my favorite being the Hammer one. Here you had to defeat waves of dinos as quickly as possible to power up your hammer. Once it was fully charged you used it to slam down a pylon and move to the next area. The first team to do this three times wins, with the catch being that the third area was wide-open for pvp combat and the dinosaurs just kept coming.
This is a very weird game, and the conceit on why you’re fighting dinos is strange as hell and worth checking out the opening cutscene for. Leviathan, the powerful AI, is putting on war games of you against dinos and other people. With some sort of weird future power, they will summon dinosaurs that fall through big purple balls in the sky like a waterfall. One of the craziest was a massive amount of raptors, thousands of them, all falling out and rushing our team as we had to defend a point.
Graphically the game is a mix of fantastic art style, solid performance, and some hideously ugly ground textures. It is a beta and by no means final, and I think overall it looks really damned good. This is a Capcom title so the English dub is over the top and full of cheese. The music and menus are bombastic and full of personality. I didn’t have any major bugs, and the crossplay between Xbox, PlayStation, and PC worked great in every match I played.
Wrapping Things Up
I came into this beta with zero expectations or much knowledge of what Exoprimal was. I am now greatly looking forward to its release in July. This beta is open, though it’s happening at the same time as Diablo IV. Unlike that title, we know that this one is coming to Game Pass on day one, and if the full package can add enough content it’s going to be a hell of a get for Xbox.