Exoprimal, a new sci-fi multiplayer game from Capcom, is a homage to the Dino Crisis survival horror series. After a few days of early access to the Exoprimal open beta, I began to think of it as its own thing, a unique experience based on mowing down tons of extinct animals.
Exoprimal is a sci-fi story set in a spacetime superpower. Exosuits are at the front line of battling a faed of dinosaurs that has broken through mysterious rifts. Aibius is using a "next-generation AI" called Leviathan to develop and improve its Exosuit designs. The goal of this approach is to immerse people in a multiversed wargame in some kind of simulated environment.
The Exoprimal open beta is short, with only a few introduction cutsscenes and background information during the character creation process. However, the whole game will include characters and cutscenes that provide context. Not that turning massive rifles and weapons on swarms of vicious reptiles requires that much effort.
The Exoprimal open beta has one mode: Dinosaur Survival. In it, two teams of five players are paired against the dinosaurs and each other, while you go from checkpoint to checkpoint, completing "Dinosaur Cull" missions while Leviathan spawns a special monster that increases the defense and aggression of the opposing team on their side of the map.
Leviathan may provide an objective to execute competitively. Throughout the run, your team and your opponents' will be sharing the same area. The end goal is to protect both the dinosaurs and the enemy's battery.
The Exosuits all move in ways that give a sense of weight with mobility. The Exosuits aren't always a fan of "personality," but they're more characterful than the avatar you create.
The greatest pleasure I experienced during my brief time with the beta was learning how to operate the Exosuits themselves. They come in three roles: Assault, Tank, and Support. These refer to multiplayer design as a "holy trinity."
Each suit plays quite differently even if it only has a minor specialization. For example, the Krieger's gatling cannon and dome shield can secure a greater area in a shorter time. While the Vigilant has a powerful sniper rifle, it can defeat single targets (like hostile players) with far greater ease.
Exoprimal makes mastery of each suit relatively simple, because you can switch them around freely in the middle of a match (it's only governed by a brief cooldown period). Also, the game of repelling swarms of reptiles seemed to lend itself better to some suits than others.
The map's visual appearance is also a bit slanted. From the start, you're mostly being funneled down a corridor from task to task. This feeling of being a bit "on rails" contributes to my ambivalence about some Exosuits' play styles.
The Exoprimal open beta caused me to often lose players out of my matches, although it was uncommon for me to lose a match with only one or two players or opponents. It never became unplayable, but it may present a problem for players in a high-latency situation.
In my opinion, Capcom intends to keep players engaged long term. My account was gaining levels and building tiers in its "Survival Pass," but I couldn't see whether they were particularly appealing or game-changing.
Exoprimal is a good opportunity to take a step back from the familiar cooperative horde shooting genre.
Exoprimal is currently in development and will be available on Steam on July 14, 2023. The open beta will run from March 17-19, 2023.