Exoprimal is a 5v5 PvPvE title from Capcom. They have been on a roll lately releasing hit after hit in 2023. Coming day one to Game Pass this is a bit of a gamble from the publisher. You’re an “Exo Fighter”, wearing a combat suit to repeatedly battle dinosaurs pulled through time by a murderous AI. It’s weird, looks great, and is fun as hell to play. There are issues with its longevity at launch though.
Exoprimal takes place in the years 2040 and 2043. A murderous AI known as Leviathan has taken over a remote island. Through future tech, this AI pulls in an endless stream of alternate reality Exofighters in a fight to the death against randomly chosen dinosaurs and each other. The game starts off with a fairly lengthy mix of cutscenes and tutorials. The writing is bland, while the VO is actually ok for a Capcom title. Plot-wise things were never interesting to me, and the style in which you unlock more cutscenes and lore is odd.
As you play through the Dino Survival mode, as far as I can tell the only one available at launch, you will level up your character and unlock the plot. These unlocks are a mix of constant lore dumps and occasional cutscenes. There was a lot of time and effort put into building this world, and the game looks fantastic with all the cutscenes done entirely in-engine. Your character is known as Ace and after choosing from a limited character creation toolset you’re dumped into a team of boring caricatures. After some light training your plane crash lands and you’re stuck fighting endless wargames as your crew tries to escape.
As this is an always-online game I have had issues getting through all of the story. I have had numerous disconnects though my internet situation isn’t ideal at the moment. If I wasn’t playing for review I would quickly skip any and all cutscenes because I haven’t found any of it interesting. In fact, I’ve only found them to get in the way of my mindless dino-horde shooting fun.
Exoprimal is a 5v5 team-based shooter. It has two modes, one where the final stage sees you potentially fighting other players and one where it attempts to not have you do that. The PvPvE nature was the main mode in the beta periods but they added the “try to not give you any pvp” hopper in the full game. Each team will consist of the main three archetypes these games tend to have. First up are your three tanks. There is a big punchy boy, a shooty man, and a sword guy. Healers have a floaty lady who heals with soundwaves, a roller girl who shoots you back to health, and a witch doctor who does aoe and a direct cooldown heal. The healers and tanks can all deal decent damage as well with their various abilities, but not quite as much as the varied DPS-focused suits.
My favorite DPS suit is the Ghost-Rider-inspired grenade-shooting fire fiend. There is your typical assault rifle-wielding soldier type, a melee-focused acrobat, and finally a sniper that has charged scope shots. On PC the game controls like an absolute dream, feeling perfect at my normal DPI settings. On controller it’s a bit rougher, requiring me to really dial in my settings to make it go from feeling stiff to feeling good. Aim Assist doesn’t seem to be on too strongly despite having a setting to turn it up, either.
All suits use the same control scheme. It’s a 3rd person dual-joystick shooter where your face buttons, bumpers, and triggers are all tied to unique abilities. At the start of each match, you’ll choose your suit and hope no one else copies it. Once you’re in a match the fun beings as both teams race to complete objectives before the other. There are a wide variety of overall objectives in the game, but I had terrible luck and got the same ones repeatedly. The final objective has 6 or so options yet I only saw the same 2 for most of my matches. The majority of the time you’ll be performing “dino culls”, where you murder a bunch of randomly chosen smaller dinos. Occasionally you get a big beefy boy to take down, and if your entire team dies you’ll have to restart that objective from the most recent checkpoint.
Exoprimal is fast, and a bit floaty. In practice, it is damned fun to take on dinos, but the PvP side is a bit shakier. It only happens at the end of rounds and when it does you’ll know because you can die extremely fast. As it is a full crossplay title I was repeatedly sniped by my fellow PC players before I realized they could see us. There is more PvE-focused content coming post-launch, and I think the game will do a lot better for it. The PvP is serviceable in its’ current state but only just.
The big change from the beta tests is that we finally see the game’s full progression system. First up is your player rank. This is a long-haul system that is tied to unlocking various suits and rigs. Rigs are an additional piece you can customize your Exosuit with. You’ll only have three choices early on with a high-powered railgun, heal, and super jump to begin with. One of the post-launch features will be Exosuit Variants. I wish these were ready now as they offer up a much-needed bit of variety in playstyle with their changes to the main weapons on each suit.
Suits also have a leveling system that can earn you cosmetics and Bikcoins. Those coins are used to unlock and upgrade modules. Every suit had three module slots which are the main way you can customize your characters. These take a while to unlock as well and are one of the main upgrade grinds of the game. Finally, is the season pass which has a free and premium tier. We were given the Digital Deluxe Edition for review, which included a few cosmetics and the season pass. Leveling was fairly quick and the amount of included cosmetic content was decent.
I can see any of these leveling grinds going through quickly if you find a friend group that gets deep into the game for a few weeks, and the announced post-launch support from Capcom along with the game’s inclusion in Game Pass should help it gain some sort of foothold over time in the crowded gaming market.
Graphics & Sound
Utilizing the excellent RE Engine, Exoprimal is a good-looking game with occasionally incredible scope. Most of the time you’re fighting a few dozen enemies at a time, with a mix of excellent and mediocre texture work. Human models, Exosuits, and most Dinosaurs vary from good to great. Cityscapes are more of a mixed bag though with some shockingly low-resolution assets mixed in. Performance wise on both Xbox and PC the game is rock solid. I averaged 200 fps on my beefy rig and never felt a major dip on Series X from its 60 fps target.
The most impressive part are the insane dino swarms that can randomly occur. Leviathan normally teleports enemies in through small purple cosmic orbs, but on occasion, he’ll summon a massive orb and thousands of raptors will pour out like a tidal wave. It is simultaneously one of the stupidest and greatest things I’ve ever seen. The mayhem that unfolds is astonishing and somehow the game’s performance never buckles. On both Series X and PC it ran nearly the same as if there were 20 enemies instead of the over 200 that were chomping my poor tank’s face off.
Supporting all this is a mix of great sound effects and god-awful voice clips. Your character never talks in cutscenes, instead gesticulating like a silent movie star back in the 1920s. In mission though you and your teammates will constantly talk and it sounds straight out of a bad 2000s arcade game. The music is consistently excellent, pulling from titles like The Division with its low-fi synth beats before ramping things up into massive orchestral swells. None of it was memorable but it helped set the mood. Unlike the voice work the in-game sound effects are well done, with a great 3D mix so that you can know where enemies are before they attack you.
Wrapping Things Up
Exoprimal is a solid foundation. What is here now will be fun for a month or two, and Capcom will need to show that they can back up what sounds like a solid live service plan. It is available for $60 or on Game Pass for both console and PC. Solo or with friends it is a hell of a lot of fun, and an easy recommendation to at least give it a try.
Windows Store, Xbox Series X
- Plays Great (after tweaks on controller)
- Looks Fantastic with Solid Performance
- Multiple Progression Systems Help Longevity
- Good Music and Sound Effects
- Mediocre Story Segments
- Need More Variety Soon