I’ve never been in a big hurry to play the game I constantly refer to as Far Cry Caveman. As much as I like the Far Cry series, the decision to go back to the stone age always seemed pretty baffling to me. Was there anyone out there actually asking for a game like this? I’ve never met one if there is.
I picked it last year at a huge discount and it’s just been sitting there ever since, but now that Far Cry 5 is finally here I figured I better finally catch up (and I know that none of these games are related at all and there’s no real reason for me to have done this outside of my weird, anal need to always play games in their proper sequential or chronological order).
So I started it up, without much in the way of expectations, and ventured out into the wacky world of Far Cry Caveman. The first thing I noticed was that this stone age world was pretty amazing looking. This game’s over 2 years old now, which is a decent chunk of time by today’s standards of rapidly increasing technology, and the environments still look pretty damn beautiful.
There are incredibly detailed forests filled with all manner of beasts looking to take a bite out of you or each other, as well as plains, snow-covered mountains, dark and treacherous caves, and some really dark and strange places to be seen deep in enemy territory and in the typical Far Cry hallucinatory levels. All of which are very impressive looking places to kill or be killed in.
The second thing I noticed was that the cavemen (and women) are all kind of insane. The first character you meet after the prologue section is a weird looking lady who seems to enjoy collecting human ears, who naturally ends up being the leader of a the whole tribe that you become the guardian of. Others that you meet and help during your quest are similarly unhinged and usually more than a little bit dumb. Sometimes it’s amusing, but sometimes it’s just kind of frustrating. Of course they’re not going to be geniuses back in the stone age, but their primitive ignorance can be a little grating at times.
Naturally, with this kind of character populating the world, the overall story is extremely simple and basically negligible. Some other cavemen don’t like your tribe of cavemen so they try to kill your cavemen, but instead you have to kill their cavemen. That’s…really all there is to it. This is definitely not a game for people who require a compelling story to keep them interested.
No, this is really just a sandbox full of toys, but luckily they’re quite fun toys. The combat is pretty fun despite the lack of guns and the extra emphasis on hunting and survival works out rather well in this setting. There’s so much hunting, gathering, and slaughtering to be done, and in some pretty interesting and enjoyable ways. You can hunt deadly beasts because you need their skin to make a new sack or add them to your collection of pets to enhance your killing power. There are so many sidequests, secrets, collectibles, and general random trouble to get into, and to get through them you can embrace your cavemanliness and rush enemies head-on, to bash them all in a horribly graphic manner with your club or spear, or you can play it safe and go for some silent bow sniping and stealth kills.
You can also create a hefty arsenal of weird secondary weapons like traps, bee bombs, or chaos-causing berserk poison. Oh, and don’t forget those animals I mentioned. You can use your pet owl to scout, bomb, and assassinate. You can send in the panthers to make some nice remote stealth kills. You can even ride around on a fucking bear. It’s all delightful.
It’s a simplistic game that really kind of boils down to how willing you are to partake in hours and hours of visually stunning clubbing of cavemen and animals. Me, I found something oddly, well…primal about it all, and I enjoyed it for what it was. It was slightly smaller than the usual Far Cry games, coming in at slightly over 30 hours to 100%, which is good because it would have outstayed its welcome at any longer with how basic it all is.
It’s certainly not a game that everyone is going to enjoy, but if you really like the modern Far Cry formula and have an interest in exploring a highly detailed natural environment that you can hunt and slaughter your way through with brutally graphic style, then this has a lot to offer on those fronts.