You’d be forgiven if you think Capcom’s new sci-fi multiplayer title exoprimal is a kind of reference to his dinosaur crisis survival horror series. After all, “shooter-based action games involving dinosaurs as the main threat” are a surprisingly underpopulated genre. After a few days of early access to exoprimal Open beta though, I found myself thinking of it as its own, a unique experience based on culling tons of extinct reptiles.
exoprimal It starts with a sci-fi premise. You are an Exosuit Fighter, recruited to become a soldier of the mega-corporation Aibius. The exosuits are on the front line against an epidemic of dinosaurs drifting through mysterious rifts in space-time. Aibius is using a “next-gen AI” called Leviathan to design and improve its stable of Exosuit designs. Your idea for collecting the necessary data? It forces people to participate in an endless series of war games in a kind of simulated environment.
There’s not a lot of history in there. exoprimal open beta, and all you get is a short intro scene and some background details during the character creation process. That being said, the full game will include characters and scenes that provide context. It’s not that turning huge guns and weapons into swarms of ferocious reptiles requires so much justification.
He exoprimal The open beta has one mode: Dinosaur Survival. In it, two teams of five players compete against dinosaurs and each other. You start at opposite ends of a long map. Guided by Leviathan’s drones, you move from checkpoint to checkpoint, completing “Dinosaur Cull” missions along the way. As you progress, Leviathan measures your progress, letting you know which team is ahead and sometimes tied. For example, if your team is moving slower than the other, Leviathan will spawn a special monster that, when killed by your team, will increase the power and aggressiveness of the dinosaurs the enemy team is facing on their side of the map.
At the end of a given race, your team and your opponents’ team will share the same area, since Leviathan gave them a competitive objective. Meanwhile, you continue to fight swarms of dinosaurs. The most common mission is “Energy Taker”, where you collect batteries scattered around the map. The twist is that you can also attack and kill your opponents to take some of their batteries. Final missions become a balance between coordinating your team to survive both dinosaurs and enemy team interference. Leviathan also sometimes spawns “Dominators”, which allow a team member to take control of an extremely powerful T-Rex and act as a spoiler for a short time.
Throughout it all, you’ll experience top-notch animations. All exosuits move in a unique way that combines a heavy appearance with mobility. You don’t always expect a sense of “personality” to bleed into exosuits, but they feel more distinctive than the avatar you create yourself.
The biggest joy I found during my brief time with the beta was learning the abilities of Exosuits. There are ten playable exosuits in the game (more are planned after launch), and they are split into three roles: Assault, Tank, and Support. These correspond to the “holy trinity” of multiplayer design. Tanks can take a lot of damage and excel at guarding safe areas for teammates to do their jobs. Assaults do a lot of damage and eliminate enemies. Supports can do things like group targets and heal allies.
There are variations within these roles as well, so each costume plays quite differently, even within the same general specialization. For example, while a roadblock and plugging a hole in the lane deploys its massive energy shield, the Krieger’s Gatling gun and domed shield can secure a larger area for a shorter duration. Meanwhile, Deadeye Assault is a versatile unit that can use pistols and grenades, but the Vigilant has a powerful sniper rifle and can take down individual targets (like hostile players) much easier.
It was very interesting to play with each costume and get a sense of their playstyle, and exoprimal makes this domain process quite convenient to enter. Indeed, you can freely change costumes in the middle of a match (only governed by a short cooldown period). The default mode also does not “lock the role” or prevent it from being duplicated. So if your team wants to use four roadblocks, you can, and you might even get away with it. You can also change your outfit to adapt to changing circumstances. When it came to the final leg of a race, I would often swap out my favorite Krieger outfit for the more PVP-friendly toolkit of Murasame or Vigilant. There is a sense of versatility in exoprimaldesign that gives it a sense of accessibility. When it comes to abilities, I’ve also found that the gameplay of containing reptilian swarms seems to lend itself better to certain combinations than others. For example, the Vigilant’s sniper abilities don’t seem very useful outside of the context of engaging enemy players.
The layout of the map is also perhaps a bit linear. The environments feel spacious, but until the last game of each round, most of the time you’re led down a hallway from task to task. This feeling of being a little “on track” also contributes to my ambivalence about the playstyles of certain exosuits. Suits like the Vigilant and the Nimbus, which value mobility but lack the armor to dive straight into melee, only come into their own when the arenas expand further. In these places, your movement options make the most sense. But before that, they feel like dead weight compared to the beefier fighters.
There are also minor stability issues. While playing it on PS5, I found that the exoprimal the open beta often excluded players from my games. They would instantly be replaced by bots, but it wasn’t unusual for me to end up playing an all-bots match with only one or two teammates or opponents. I also noticed lag issues, where friendly costumes or player-controlled dinosaurs were sliding or teleporting across the room. It never became unplayable, but this can be a problem for players in a high latency environment. That being said, this is a beta release, so it’s time to fix those issues.
I also didn’t get a good impression of how Capcom intends to keep players engaged over time. My account was gaining levels and building levels in their “Survival Pass”, but since they weren’t accessible in the beta client, I couldn’t see if they were particularly cool or groundbreaking. However, it is a little early to pass judgment on this aspect of the game.
Leaving these considerations aside, however, exoprimal it’s a good time that puts an engaging spin on the now-familiar genre of cooperative horde shooters.
exoprimal is in development and will be released on July 14, 2023 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC via Steam. The open beta will run from March 17-19, 2023.
Brent Dubin, known as the Gaming Giant among Globe Live Media staff, is the chief Gaming Reporter for Globe Live Media. Having attended all the major events of Gaming around the World, he is sure to give you exactly the update related to gaming World you are looking for.