Exoprimal has been live for a while now, and I feel like I’ve played enough of it to finally put out a full review. I originally praised Exoprimal‘s beta, but I found the full release to have some glaring issues that bother me a bit.
My original criticism of the beta was because of the forced PvP, which did not feel fun to play. Capcom held multiple surveys and seems to have really taken this feedback to heart, as the game now lets you choose to play PvE only.
The ability to choose between PvE and PvP is nice since fighting other players doesn’t really feel good; however, that still feels like a band-aid since the solution would be to actually make the PvP engaging, but it’s better than being forced to do it.
Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and Microsoft Windows (Reviewed)
Release Date: July 14th, 2023
That said, the game has some balancing issues, specifically in its team composition aspects. I originally praised the game’s free-form team building, but now I realize that there should be a bigger warning when your composition is out of whack.
Getting into teams with 3 tanks or 2 supports is pretty much a death sentence since your team’s damage output will be too low. I complained about this lack of balancing in the PvP modes, but it seems to also extend into PvE.
A bad team composition is bound to cost you the match, which defeats the purpose of giving players the freedom to build their teams. Players are only allowed freedom if they want to lose games because not every team composition is viable.
Teams with multiple supports or tanks just don’t perform as well, which kills the aspect of building a team the way you want it. Players do tend to switch roles to keep the composition stable, but sometimes you just get a team with three tanks and play an entire game where you know the outcome will be a loss.
Exoprimal was originally compared to Left 4 Dead, which feels really wrong now that we know more about the game. Not only does it force you into boxes if you want an optimal chance at winning, but it also just doesn’t have a pure PvE mode that you can queue into; you will always compete with other players, directly or indirectly.
This makes getting a bad teammate much more noticeable since a lot of people in 2023 are still not familiar with the concept of capturing points and moving payloads, despite it being a popular and straightforward mechanic.
It’s a shame that there aren’t any intricate game modes, but I can see why, considering how these simple mechanics seem to completely stump some players. It’s honestly baffling, but not exactly Exoprimal‘s fault since it does tutorialize the player well.
There are some really cool moments in Exoprimal, especially when Leviathan decides to just cancel the match and throw all 10 players into a raid against a massive boss dinosaur. These things happen more often as you progress through the game, which gives you a sense of progress.
I do hope that we get more raids and fully cooperative content in the future, since that’s genuinely the most fun part of the game. Exoprimal is at its best when the player is fighting for their life against a tidal wave of dinosaurs, not when they are worrying about timers or being forced to do PvP for certain story missions.
Exoprimal also follows the modern trend of adding premium battle passes to paid games. It’s a pretty standard model, having a free track and a paid one, but it still feels scummy since the free rewards are mediocre.
The free track only has 11 rewards, with 10 of these being minor cosmetics and one skin at level 50. It’s basically a waste of time to grind 50 levels on the free battle pass since 39 of the 50 levels have no reward whatsoever.
On top of that, there is also a separate tier of paid skins, which, as far as I know, you can’t get on the lootbox rewards for leveling up. Capcom doesn’t really engage in these practices, so Exoprimal‘s sheer greed weirds me out a little.
The base game costs $59.99, and the premium battle pass costs $9.99, but it is included in the deluxe edition, so you should probably get that for extra skins instead. The Overdrive Kit 1, which has unique skins, costs $39.99.
If the pricing doesn’t change, players who continue playing Exoprimal until next season will have to spend $9.99 for the next battle pass as well as $39.99 for the next Overdrive Kit, meaning that once per season you will be paying $49.98 on top of the $109.97 already spent.
There is also an upcoming street fighter 6 DLC, which will probably add to your total cost as well. The price hasn’t been revealed yet, but it just doesn’t seem viable to get all of Exoprimal‘s rewards unless you have a lot of free time and money.
Marvel’s Avengers is a game that comes to mind when thinking about Exoprimal‘s monetization of cosmetics. It’s definitely not as live-service-y, but a lot of the elements present in the monetization gross me out a bit.
The Overdrive Kit skins are recolors of the battle pass skins, so there’s a slight silver lining at least, where you can choose to either grind the premium battle pass out or just buy the Overdrive Kit since they share the same model.
I’m mostly playing devil’s advocate since this is all optional, especially considering how the game is included in Xbox Game Pass. I just think that it amounts to a lot when you really look into the numbers. I wouldn’t have an issue if this was a free-to-play game, but it’s still a full-price release.
I did enjoy the game’s story, especially the character interactions between Majesty and Alders; they are fun characters who play off of each other pretty well. The main story is unlocked by playing matches, which unlock mysteries that will hopefully let you escape the eternal death game you have been placed in.
The distinct personalities of the crew really help to carry the story, but they can’t really help with the pacing. Each new cutscene is locked behind a certain number of matches, so you get maybe one cutscene every 3–5 games or so.
It doesn’t really feel fantastic to unlock things this way, but we do get a drip feed with the mysteries we unlock, which are mini codec calls between the characters. It’s honestly not ideal, and I would much rather have a straightforward single-player mode.
The exosuits are still the highlight of the game; their designs are probably the best part of Exoprimal, and their dialogue helps sell the idea that they are different “characters”. Their designs would make for excellent action figures, especially Murasame.
There isn’t a single exosuit in the game that feels too weak or bad to play, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses in equal amounts. They can also be customized with modules that you unlock as you level up, and that gives an extra degree of customization to your playstyle.
I also enjoy that the support suits can contribute to the damage, especially when it comes to Nimbus and her switch mechanic. Her dual revolvers really hurt the enemies, which usually led me to get carried away and forget my healing duties.
Overall, I think I enjoyed my time with Exoprimal. I still don’t like the more live service-y things it has, and sometimes it felt like my enjoyment was in the hands of others, but I can’t say I hate it. It’s a game I’ll play every once in a while, but it doesn’t get me hooked for long periods of time.
The game’s main story is pretty fun, and all of the suits feel really nice to control. It can be a fun time if you have a friend group to play with, but matches with random people can be a little rough. Worst-case scenario, you can test it out on Game Pass to see if it’s really for you.
Exoprimal was reviewed on Microsoft Windows using a game code provided by Capcom. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Exoprimal is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and Microsoft Windows (Through Steam).