Primal Hunt – The Review

February 18, 2023 ·

Dinosaurs have always been an interest for many. From the time when we first saw them in movies to the books we read to even the games that we played. Maybe it is the curiosity about them, the way they move, or even how they interact in their habitat. It would have been interesting to get up close and see them, but then we would have to worry about how they might react to the people being so close and in their element. There is just something very fascinating about the world of dinosaurs that keeps us drawn to them. But does developer Phaser Lock Interactive allow us to get up close and personal with dinosaurs to see if survival would be an option? Let’s find out with Primal Hunt for the Oculus Rift/S and Quest 2/Pro.

Primal Hunt is a dinosaur hunter game where you are invited to the greatest Hunt in history. Journey through prehistoric biomes, tracking down and going one-on-one with the most dangerous creatures that have ever walked the Earth. But before you go in trying to take out everything in your path, there are some things that you should be aware of. First, you are entering the homes of these dinosaurs, so respect that. Otherwise, it could be game over. Second, I am not going to spoil anything for anyone as I want you to be surprised by what you may be hunting. Third, make sure your headset if you are playing on Quest 2 is charged and your controllers are not about to die. You don’t want to become the hunted because you forgot to check. And finally, have some fun. With all that said, let’s continue…

When you first start Primal Hunt, you will want to go into settings. Depending on how well you do with Virtual Reality, you might want to adjust your movement. Do you want to have free movement and follow your head or free movement and follow your hand? Plus, would you prefer smooth or snap turning? There is an adjuster bar which is nice to see compared to just having the option of one or the other. One of the things you might also want to decide on is if you prefer gore or not. While some are not bothered by it, some could be, just know there is an option that addresses this. Once you select a new game, it’s really getting you into the training aspect of the game. So starting out, I first learn that I am a valued patron and that I had enough money to purchase the highest-tier hunting experience package. I mean, it must be nice if that is the case. And with this purchase, I get to be suspended in one of the bio chamber tubes, and I must relax and breathe. I paid all this money to relax and breathe. Again, must be nice. But, because this is the highest-tier package experience, my Cybersuit, which syncs with my sensory and neural connections with cloned organs, is pretty awesome looking. We are going after dinosaurs, so might as well look good doing it.

Once all is said and done, you are now in this building where you have a few options. You can start the Campaign, try out the Shooting Range, and visit your Trophy Room. You are not just sent out alone on the hunt but instead treated with the Game Warden and himself, Sir Phillip Lambert. You will have to do some “training” in the Proving Ground before really starting the campaign. As you move through the campaign, you will earn new hunting permits where you will be able to select from available hunts in the different biomes. Each hunt has you hunting a different type of dinosaur in a biome. You do have a chance to read up on what the type of dinosaur is, the species, type, and a breakdown at the bottom. Also, before starting each hunt, you can review and edit your loadout for that particular hunt from different arrows and devices. Once you have everything ready, just head into the Teleporter behind you to begin the hunt.

During your hunts, you will have certain things at your disposal. First, you have your Hud System that will show your compass, health, stamina, visual and audio meters, along with your arrow count. You will want to keep a lookout for these bars as they will become more important as you get into the tougher and more dangerous hunts. Not only do you have weapons you can shoot, but you also have a shield for defense, which can also be used as a weapon in those desperate times when being attacked. Since these biomes can be large, you do have access to a map where you can set points of where you need to go. Throughout the biomes, you will come across different crates that will contain health and the ability to refill your weapons. I can’t tell you how many times I scoped out where these were located so that when there was a difficult hunt and I was running low on health or ammo, I knew where to go.

Walking is one way to get to where you need to go, but you can also sprint and dash, which might just come in handy when you least expect it. Another way to get to certain points is by using the Grapple Arrow. You have an unlimited amount of these arrows and they do what they sound like. At certain podiums that are higher off the ground, you can shoot your Grapple Arrow to move faster, if you decided not to climb up instead and move from podium to podium. Your other arrows that are used for hunting are limited, so just be careful when using your bow to shoot them as they can be easy to miss when trying to hunt or if you have a dinosaur or dinosaurs charging at you. So conserve them if you can until you are sure of your shot.

Since you are trying to hunt for a specific dinosaur, you do have the equipment to help along the way. And one of those is the scanner which is activated by touching your actual head. With the scanner, you can scan clues, including footprints, to help you in your hunt. Another feature is Tagging where you align your crosshairs over the target and then press the A button. Dinosaurs are not simply going to just stand around waiting for you to get them, so they will give you a chase for your money and you will want to tag your target so you can more easily locate them.

Once you have hunted your dinosaur, you will want to then use your laser to cut along the dinosaur to collect the field dressing. Remember, you paid for this highest-tier experience. Then you need to get to a Green House to complete the hunt. Once back, you get to see how well you did along with any points earned, and can continue with the Campaign, practice on the Shooting Range, or visit your Trophy Room. When you continue with the In the Shooting Range, you get to practice with different weapons such as the Shotgun to even using explosives with different targets. Continuing with the Campaign, before selecting your next hunt, you can use points that you earned to unlock and upgrade the different branches of the tree that includes Movement, Attack, and Armor/Health which will help you with those more challenging hunts.

Of course, since this is Primal Hunt and you paid for the highest-tier experience, you get to display your hunts in the Trophy Room, which not any small room will do, but you need a very big room to display all your hunted prey.

Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. When looking at the graphics, I really did enjoy the draw distance that was used here. Having a T-rex come at me after it just ate another dinosaur with blood around its teeth and looking past that just shows how good things not only look close up but the use of lighting and the background as well. Being able to freeze a dinosaur with a trap and just having the moment to look at it covered in ice and even in its eyes that are staring right back at you really makes you appreciate the hard work the developers went into making this. With the sound, I always like to listen for if there is a lot of background music that takes away from my interactions with the actual characters and what is immediately around me. There isn’t really any background music, but more of hearing things like your footsteps, nature sounds in the background, and of course the different dinosaur sounds. Nothing was overpowering the other and it was a good use of sound with the different species of dinosaurs that made me want to also keep going just to hear how the different species would sound.

There are a few things I would like to see. First, unlimited ammo. If you can have unlimited Grapple Arrows, then I also would want unlimited for other things. I paid for the high-tier experience. But I get it, it adds to the suspense with stealth and hiding. Second, Multiplayer. It would be a blast to play with your friends or compete in online battles with each other.

Primal Hunt does allow us to get up close and personal with different species of dinosaurs. It takes what would be like a future experience and how it might look and brings it into the now. If forces us to react based on the aggressions that we more than likely will never face. We sometimes are faced with fears and we can run from those fears and let them control us or we can face them directly and surprise even ourselves with the outcomes if given the chance. And couldn’t we all become better if we just try without fear?

Primal Hunt is out now for the Oculus Rift/S and Quest 2 on the Oculus Store A review code was provided.

To learn more about Phaser Lock Interactive, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have some dinosaurs to hunt.

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