Far Cry Primal doesn’t take its prehistoric setting seriously (and neither do I), opting instead to spin out the Stone Age into an open world action movie where early man still has a firm calloused grip on melodrama, advanced stone weapons technology, and most importantly, animal obedience.
Problem is, there are a ton of animals to divide between food and friends. And even then, which tamable animals are worthy of companionship? It’s not hard to tell how each animal is useful. Tamed animals have stats listed beneath their selection icons, and skinning any other animal makes their uses, uh, fairly evident, but which animals have the most soul? The most cunning? Daring? In lieu of our review of the game (which is coming soon), I’m here to help out with a few handpicked reviews of the most standout animals in Far Cry Primal.
In one mission, I invaded an enemy camp and saved a baby mammoth from the chopping block. I climbed onto its back and stomped on the bad cave men. We did a very good job. When I got off the mammoth child and said, “Thank you, mammoth child,” the mammoth child also tried to stomp me. It was not a fair transaction. Lesson: mammoths may be the brand ambassadors for the Ice Age, but the truth is that they’re just reskins of elephants that need an attitude adjustment. And a haircut!
Just a furry elephant with a bad attitude. If mammoths had a curfew, they wouldn’t care.
1 out of 2 very nice tusks
Who are you, owl? Who, who? (Who, who?) A dear friend and companion, that’s who. That said, sorry for hopping into your tiny owl noggin and slamming you into cliffsides on the reg. My bad. I haven’t done the owl mind control thing for long, and I’m still learning the ropes. Flying is rough! I’m used to having arms, not wings. So this isn’t much of a review, but more of an apology. Please excuse the whole indentured servitude thing for now, keep doing what you do, swooping down on baddies, dropping beehives on tents, screeching and hooting and dominating my fear centers with those eyes and head swivels. I love it. I love you. Owls: yes.
Not just a terrifying night bird, but a terrifying friend.
1.5/2 owl-sized Applebee’s gift cards in an apology card (I used up a bit of the first one, my bad)
Oh boy. This little shitbird. Dholes are just scrawny yip-dogs that are supposedly good hunting buddies, but damn, they might as well be made of tissue paper. Be extra careful when running around with one of these stinkbags, because if a goat so much as sneezes on one they’re a goner. At least you’ll have another Dhole pelt to craft, I don’t know, a smelly Dhole bag to keep your least favorite objects in. Phew.
(OK, I know it’s a videogame, but I just look at a Dhole and can smell them, you know? It’s a piss smell. That’s the power of videogames in 2016, I guess.)
An entirely useless canine that gives me urine smell vibes and can’t stand their ground, the Dhole is an a-hole.
3.2/10 stinky whiffs and bad hunts
I named my first sabertooth tiger Captain, because no way in hell was I getting on that lithe feline vessel without first establishing some kind of mutual respect. Captain and I, we are in love. It’s platonic, of course, but it’s not quite a traditional friendship either. We laugh, we playfully chide, we talk about our problems, all normal buddy behaviors—there’s just also a lot of sustained eye contact. It should be obvious: when you’re piggybacking (no offense) on your best bud across trepidatious Stone Age landscape, bashing in skulls, eating raw meat, sharing a few nonsensical pre-Humor Age laughs—well, you’re going to get close. A spiritual bond forms once a person rides their housecat’s mega-grandparent directly into a mammoth.
Feisty, fun, ferocious, and infallible, the sabertooth tiger is an ideal companion for crushing heads and hearts alike.
10/10 googly enemy Udan eyeballs (Captain’s favorite snack)
Cave Bear / Brown Bear tag team
I think the bears just stand around Primal’s world and wait for the player to come by, ready to put their acting degrees to the test. Bear historians might argue that a true bear would instead take part in classic bear pastimes, like Berry Dig or Salmon Swat, and that no bear would dare attend a liberal arts college, but swept beneath the bear rug of time is the true purpose of the bear: theater.
Every time I see my bears stand up, I think of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s signature pose. I just want to toss that bear two cheap beers and see what happens. Everytime I hear my bear’s signature roar, my mind snaps back to early Shakespeare, or Baldwin’s unforgettable monologue in Glengarry Glen Ross. I kiss the sky.
Beyond theatrics, the bears have great rumps. Grade-A bear rumps. And limitless enthusiasm for scratches. Watch that big bristly bugger leaaaan into those pets. Sends shivers down my spine. And, since they’ve likely handled a Yorick skull or two in their lifetime, most bears have no problems handling the skulls of my Udan enemies. Great folks. A bit overzealous and showy, but great folks, bears.
Great actors, great rumps, great friends.
4/5 bear hugs for bear solidarity and 1/5 cool-ass bear suplexes
The antithesis to the Cave Bear, Cave Lions are pretty big bummers. I mean, they get the job done and they’re pretty damn cute, but they couldn’t catch a football if their lives depended on it. And their lives don’t depend on it. Football hasn’t been invented yet. That’s a few years out. But when I see their tackling game (which is, wow, super solid) I can’t help but worry what’s going to happen when we need to fill out the backfield.
Great tacklers, clumsy in the backfield.
4/10 prehistoric football cats
Redwall, this is not. The badger is a weathered prick. Its ‘special’ ability is to ward off all other animals. Let me assure you, this is not because the badger is frightening. This is because the badger doesn’t have much of a barometer for anything at all. Trot onto the scene with your best Sabertooth buddy beneath you, smell a couple good carcasses, and a badger doesn’t care, it’ll come at you. Chase off a pack of wolves from murdering a badger, and it’ll come for you next. Try to pet one, and say goodbye to that beautiful forearm. All those wrist curls, wasted. The alternative definitions for badger are A) informal, a native of Wisconsin, and B) to ask repeatedly and annoyingly for something. At risk of badgering, I implore you to not bother with badgers. Do bother with Wisconsin though. Ever been to a Culver’s? Go to a Culver’s!
Man, to hell with badgers.
Oh hell yeah. Is there any animal harder to beef with than a turtle? They’re implacable, irreplaceable treasures (even though I killed a bunch of them, because those shells are more than just a metaphor). And they don’t give a single goddamn about the plight of any caveman out there. Hell, they don’t care about the whole of the Milky Way and beyond, and that’s cool with me. Not a single turtle tried to nip at my toes in Far Cry Primal. Not a single turtle messed up a stealthy capture of an enemy outpost. Not a single turtle even made eye contact with me, and it’s that kind of mutual indifference I’m all about. (I still murdered a ton of turtles, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect them.) Just, hell yeah. Turtles.
Turtles, great job!
129 Turtle points!
The Herbivores I Haven’t Skinned Yet
This goes out to you. With your bleating, your crooning, your screaming as my sweet leopard child sinks their teeth into your neck. I need your pelts. I need to hold five spears, not four. That’s survival, baby. Somehow I’m going to tape them together with a few bits of bone and herbs to make a better spear, a little sharper, a little cooler. Do you see the blue accent on the tip? It goes well with a clear sky, green spring tones, but works with the hushed greys of the north, yeah? You agree? Thanks!
Fashion is pretty integral to surviving the Far Cry Stone Age. Not just any tribe can crop up without a fresh look and dominant color. I’m workshopping it. With your pelts.
Wow, great pelts, give me your pelts.
20/20 beautiful, unique pelts. Because that’s what I need to make this bow the size of a toddler that shoots pelts.
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James is stuck in an endless loop, playing the Dark Souls games on repeat until Elden Ring and Silksong set him free. He's a truffle pig for indie horror and weird FPS games too, seeking out games that actively hurt to play. Otherwise he's wandering Austin, identifying mushrooms and doodling grackles.