Primal, is the title of one of Nicolas Cage’s below-average films, but luckily we’re not interested in that title. In the world of video games, Primal is the name of the former PlayStation 2 exclusive, an adventure about saving the world and restoring the balance between order and chaos. How did this clichéd plot about saving the world have anything better than Primal Nicolas Cage? Glad you asked!
I couldn't get that cliché out of my head for years. At the time the game came out, back in 2003, I was too young to even play a game whose cover featured a girl with demonic horns and traits that at first were associated with Satanism. But, you know how it was - everything that came to hand was played, and Primal came to me through a friend who got the game with the PS2 console.
A friend who lent me Primal called the game too difficult and confusing. I didn't believe him, and then I sucked too. I played the game for a few hours, got stuck, and concluded it was a waste of time and my youth. I returned the game, but years later it was returned to me as well. Some devil was forcing me to give her a second chance. Receiving me despite the weight intrigued me so much that I promised myself I would finish it someday. He squatted on my shelf for years like a haunted game for years, and then I took pity on him and learned to appreciate his qualities.
Primal was an atypical action adventure with elements of horror that put you in the role of 21-year-old girl Jennifer Tate. Jen found herself dying after she and her boyfriend were attacked by a demonic being. As she fought for her life, a water lily appeared that freed her spirit and took her to Oblivion. It was a demonic world that could not coexist with the real world (Mortalis) if its balance was disturbed. Of course, you are the one who has to regain balance by controlling Jen and her little stone guide named Scree.
This dark adventure stood out precisely with the chemistry between Jen and Scree. With her cynical humor, Jen took the danger and importance of the task in front of her lightly, which is why Screen set a great counterbalance to such rhetoric. Although Jen was a goth girl with demonic powers, with Scree she left the impression of a cheerful and witty person, refuting any prejudices you may have had towards her. The world of Oblivion that surrounded her, however, was the complete opposite of the extremely gloomy level design.
Nonetheless, the gloomy world was exactly what kept the whole atmosphere convincing, although paradoxically it repelled a lot of players The accompanying music was extremely rare and you were forced to absorb only the sounds of the environment. You listened with your ears to the falling snowflakes as you walked through the levels, with no help or signposts if you got stuck somewhere or got lost on the way to the next cutscene.
In the directed scenes, there was a somewhat comical tone close to MediEvil, to break the seriousness and gloomy atmosphere. I remember a cutscene in which Scree had to secretly dance with the daughter of the evil Countess just to get the necessary item. If you were looking for a definition of cute and silly with a lump of morbid in one - that game was called Primal.
Primal, unfortunately, was not everyone’s cup of tea. Part of the reason for this is that this was a slow game that required patience and perseverance. The biggest problem was that the game sprayed its basic element - action. The mechanics of the fight were the biggest pain of this game. I always had the feeling that Jen was standing "bound" when she started beating enemy demons.
Controls were also fixed on one enemy, with the fight being reduced to repeating the same combo moves, while a bunch of others was waiting for "their turn". All the beauty of losing by Oblivion fell into the water during the fight. Still, the awkward controls of the fight were easier to get used to with the hectic rock music of the American band 16volt.
At times difficult puzzles knew how to give a headache. While the point of the riddle is that you have a headache, I’m ashamed to admit that I had to consult YouTube a few times to get through some part. The duration of this adventure is therefore quite subjective, but do not be surprised if you spend more than twenty hours in her world. The puzzles were probably not difficult in themselves, I would rather say that it was sponsored by some kind of lonely wandering around the map, which again had its charms - some players.
In one sentence, Primal might be called a game you've probably heard about, but you weren't brave enough to dig through its seemingly empty world. Digging paid off because beneath all the problems Primal had interesting locations, unusual characters, and their side stories. I was crazy enough to embark on this adventure on the second try and I didn’t regret it - today it’s one of my favorite games from the PlayStation 2 era.
Did you play Primal? If not, you can get the game for PS4 or PS5 at the PlayStation Store in the old classics category.