In Exoprimal, you don a mech suit and squad up with four other players to massacre thousands of rampaging dinosaurs, then (maybe) face off against another team in a parallel timeline. Capcom‘s latest third-person shooter game laughs in the face of genre classification, simultaneously existing as a hero shooter, a cooperative squad-based PvE experience, and an objective-based PvP multiplayer game.
One moment, you’ll be defending a capture point against a pack of Pachycephalosaurus, and the next, you’re competing in a brisk Overwatch-lite match against other players. Comparable to Destiny 2‘s “Gambit” multiplayer mode, but with exceptionally more dinosaurs and a slew of gameplay surprises, Exoprimal is easily the weirdest game I’ve played this year so far. For those gamers who feel shafted by Blizzard’s cancellation of the promised Overwatch 2 co-op campaign, Exoprimal scratches that itch with a T-Rex-sized claw.
“Like Overwatch, But With Dinosaurs”
There’s no easy way to summarize Exoprimal, but you could call it “Overwatch, but with dinosaurs”. That’s a cop-out, though. It’s more like a speedrun race of Earth Defense Force, but with dinosaurs. Well, a race against ghosts. Did I mention that you can become a dinosaur too? Also, you’re jumping back and forth through time so that you can escape an island. Confused yet? Good.
To be fair, Exoprimal is very reminiscent of Blizzard’s iconic hero shooter, especially when it comes to character selection. At the beginning of every match, you pick one of the 10 hero shooter-style “suits”, each with a unique kit of abilities, and split into three classes (Assault, Tank, and Support).
For example, the Barrage suit lets you lob grenades and land mines, while the Roadblock suit is outfitted with a massive shield for blocking incoming damage. Some characters let you dip into both offense and defense, like Nimbus, a deft support character that can switch between healing and damage. You can also switch between suits at any time, even in the middle of a firefight.
Exoprimal, AKA, Nuking the Late Cretaceous Period
Despite the similarities to Overwatch, the majority of Exoprimal is cooperative PvE, with an occasional burst of PvP serving as a punctuation mark. In each match, you run through a gauntlet of combat missions, where you are tasked with destroying hundreds of dinosaurs as they pour out of portals in the sky.
At the same time, an enemy team performs the same tasks in a separate dimension, with both teams racing to finish first. At the end of the round, both teams are transported to a shared map, where they compete in an Overwatch-style finale, ushering a payload from point A to B.
Except sometimes, you don’t do that at all. Sometimes, a massive boss fight forces both teams to work together, or risk being smitten into oblivion by a 20-story-tall carnivore. Conversely, your match might be interrupted by a crazed AI, dumping an endless torrent of velociraptors on your face. Part of the fun of Exoprimal is never knowing what your next objective will be, with new surprises popping up every handful of matches.
With approximately 40 matches under my belt (around 10 hours of play), I’ve had a blast so far and wholeheartedly recommend trying out Exoprimal. As of July 2023, the game is included with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, and it’s worth the download if you’re already a subscriber.
Exoprimal is also available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Steam. Grab a group of friends and give it a shot. At the very least, it will provide a few hours of mindless dinosaur blasting for you and your gaming squad.