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Exoprimal | Game Review | Mech Suits, AI, and Dinos, Oh My!

Exoprimal: Capcom's epic blend of dinosaur warfare and mech suits in a dark AI-driven future. Intense battles, corporate propaganda, and addictive gameplay. Read our review!

Exoprimal Start Screen Exoprimal Start Screen

Check out this review in video form!


The Terminator series foretold us of the impending scorched hellscape brought on by AI way back in the 80s, and now a new vision of that devastating future is here courtesy of the legendary Japanese game company, Capcom.

However, instead of brittle human skulls being crushed into dust by pneumatic robot feet, Capcom’s AI future has us being ripped to shreds by the teeth, claws, and horns of various dinosaurs. It’s called Exoprimal, and if dinosaurs weren’t enough to get you in the door, then how about a swath of incredibly designed and impossibly cool mech suits? No? How about corporate propaganda?

Now we’re talking.

Here’s what I think of Capcom’s latest blockbuster project:

History of Greatness Greatness

Exoprimal Suit Drop

I typically like to start my reviews with a little bit of background about the developer and publisher of a project. I feel that it is important to highlight the people responsible for bringing us certain experiences, for better or worse. But in this case, it’s unlikely that I need to describe Capcom to anyone, let alone those perusing this very site.

They’re the company behind tentpole franchises of the Japanese video game industry, with series like Resident Evil, Monster Hunter, Dead Rising, Devil May Cry, Mega Man, and M*****f***ing Street Fighter all under their impossibly large belt.

The company lost its way sometime between the late 2000s and early-2010s by seemingly chasing “Western” appeal, putting out several terrible Resident Evil spinoffs and a number of other problematic projects (don’t get me started on DMC: Devil May Cry). However, they’ve certainly been clawing their way back to “CapGod” status in recent years. Is Exoprimal part of that glorious return?


What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Exoprimal Ivy The Android

The basics of Exoprimal go like this: there’s a multimedia/military/tech conglomerate called Aibius, and you’re a new recruit to their “exofighter” program that drops human pilots into mech suits to fight the dinosaurs that keep spilling out of interdimensional rifts.

Now you may ask, why are dinosaurs spilling out of interdimensional rifts?

And all I have to say to you is… Shut up.

Exoprimal Raptor

In addition to essentially running the world and keeping humanity safe, Aibius is also developing a combat AI named Leviathan that is learning and improving itself with all of the combat data obtained from the exofighters. When Aibius talks about Leviathan, they make it sound like the answer to everyone’s problems, a warrior of the future that will protect us all. However, when you first come into contact with Leviathan in the tutorial, there is an immediate sense that this thing isn’t what it seems.

Less than seven minutes into booting the game, it drops this gem on you:

Exoprimal Leviathan

Sinister as hell, right? Isn’t this a global catastrophe that has put all of humanity in danger? I was also a little unnerved that this thing is able to just summon dinosaurs out of nowhere, but you can too! More on that later.

As in all things, the Leviathan AI reveals itself to be evil. Shortly after meeting your detachment of colorful exofighters, it opens up a rift directly in the flight path of your mobile base, forcing you to drop and participate in the combat data-generating wargames that make up the gameplay of Exoprimal.

It’s a serviceable setup even if it is a little obvious, but what really sold me on Exoprimal’s premise is its tone. The Starship Troopers-esque opening had that delightful tongue-in-cheek stench of corporate propaganda, and once Leviathan’s mask comes off, it seems like it was programmed by the worst manager of the worst fast food restaurant to ever exist. Here are a few sinister lines that got a good chuckle out of me:

“Enthusiastic participation is mandatory.”

“Your compliance is our expectation.”

“The wargames present career opportunities for personal growth.”

“The winning team will be eligible for bonus existence.”

Exoprimal Leviathan True Form

The writing for Leviathan hit a sweet spot between silly and serious for me, which is good because you’ll be hearing from it. A lot.

Armed to the Teeth

Exoprimal Triceratops

There is a story that unfolds as you play Exoprimal. It’s got time travel, conflict, and multiverse implications. There is even an Archives tab on the main menu that compiles everything you learn as you get closer to figuring out what’s happening and how to get away from it.

That’s all fine and good, but it’s all really just window-dressing for the gameplay. And thankfully, Exoprimal is a ton of fun to play.

I never got a chance to play the open betas, but I heard that once you’re forced to battle other players (surprise! It’s another Overwatch!), things take a nosedive. I definitely experienced this in my first wargame outside of the intro portion, but Capcom has mercifully allowed you to choose whether you want to directly fight against human players or just compete in separate dino-bashing simultaneously as the final mission of each match.

The dino swarm-focused combat with the dozen or so different species is way more fun than fighting other exofighters. That fun is also amplified by the diverse selection of badass mechs you’re given.

Exoprimal Mech Suits

You’ll customize a silent character before the intro, but you’ll hardly ever see them outside of cutscenes. The majority of the time, they’ll be encased in a mech suit. There are seven of these available from the start, 10 total, and they are split up into assault, tank, and support classes. Each one has its own set of weapons and abilities with their associated cooldowns as you might expect from a competitive hero shooter, but you aren’t locked into whichever mech suit you pick for the entire match.

You can actually select a new suit and jump into it at any point during a match, with a brief period of being a defenseless pilot on foot in between. Experience points and levels are doled out for each suit, so there’s nothing lost when you change things up mid-match.

Exoprimal Mech Change

Mowing down raptors with Krieger’s minigun as they fell from the sky was exhilarating, and switching to Roadblock to hold off the swarm with its shield felt epic. Little touches, like how Roadblock leans into its shield to offset the weight and force of twenty to thirty raptors, happen pretty frequently during regular gameplay. I haven’t dabbled much with the other mechsuit options yet, but there appears to be something for everyone on the roster as of now.

And as if that wasn’t enough, there is the “Dominator” mechanic that gives each team a device that allows them to summon and control a high-tier dinosaur. Once activated, they will spawn in the other team’s instance to wreck shop and turn the tide of the match. It’s awesome.

In case it wasn’t clear, I love playing Exoprimal. Even when I lose and have to see my glorious hero get his head bitten off for the thousandth time.

Exoprimal Match Defeat

There’s just one thing about the game that gives me pause, and that’s its live service structure.

For an Additional Fee

Exoprimal Murasame Pose

Exoprimal is a full-priced, $60 title on every platform. In addition to that cost, it also has the same live-service structure we’ve seen in games like Fortnite and other competitive shooters, where you can choose to also buy a premium “battle pass” that unlocks various cosmetics as you play the game and level up that pass.

This model has proved to print money for a select number of games, which then meant that it became the direction for the majority of the industry, unfortunately. The difference is, the games that basically invented that structure are free-to-play, which somehow justifies putting more money into the game season after season. In Exoprimal’s case, you’re looking at something that can get very expensive over time for not much in return, in my opinion.

Yes, I know, it’s optional and they aren’t forcing me to buy the pass. However, I really want to pilot Murasame, the katana-wielding mech. It’s going to take me a while to unlock that and the other two locked mech suits, BUT, if I give Capcom another $15 I can get those three mechs right now.

Exoprimal Murasame

Why? Why even make that an option if it will give some players an unfair advantage over others in a game inherently designed to be competitive? I know the answer is “money”, and I guess that’s why it's not sitting well with me. With live-service games going back to the drawing board and shutting down left and right, I can only hope their days are numbered.

A Flawed Gem

Exoprimal Roadblock Taunt

If you can ignore the live-service aspects, there is a ton to like about Exoprimal. The gameplay is slick, it looks great, and it has a story that could unfold to be something very interesting. I do want the game to succeed, but I can’t forgive it for its wallet-siphoning features. The game is also available on Game Pass which lessens the sting for those who are subscribed, but there’s currently no answer for that on other platforms.

It is the only game out right now that allows you to control a T-Rex, for what it's worth.

Final Score: 8/10

Exoprimal T Rex

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