Exoprimal Is Okay But It Can’t Reset My Live Service Burnout

It's time we buried live service games for good.

Story Highlights

  • Exoprimal is Capcom’s first major venture in the live-service space. 
  • Aside from the accessibility features, Capcom’s newest title offers a polished third-person Exosuit shooter experience with lots of variety reminiscent of Warframe and Destiny 2.
  • Despite being a good game at its core, Exoprimal has several things that need more work such as content variety, live-service elements, and the narrative.

History’s most ferocious predators walk the Earth in Capcom‘s latest offering—Exoprimal, coming out next month on several platforms. I’ve always been the person who gives things a fair shot before passing any sort of judgment and I’ve done the same for Exoprimal. Despite the product Capcom has ended up with, there are some points that accentuate my reasons for growing sick of live-service games altogether.

Before I get into this, I want to make one thing clear as day. Exoprimal as a game is good and shows a lot of promise. More on this later but this isn’t the only element you have to consider with this title. It’s Capcom’s first major venture in the live-service space, something that I believe has been consistently eroding over the last few years. Introducing a new wave of live-service games isn’t going to prevent people from feeling burned out.

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What’s worth noting here is the resurgence of Capcom in recent years. No idea what magic spell they used or business decisions they made back in the day but the company has been consistently releasing top-tier games since 2018. Yes, even Resident Evil 3 was good at its core despite being a fumble. Knowing that and having played the open betas for Exoprimal, I’m mostly confident that it will find a measure of success.

However, there are some glaring issues accompanying the good parts of this dinosaur-culling simulator which mostly have to do with its nature as a live-service game. In all honestly, it’s a double-edged sword. Live-service games tend to get better with time as more content comes out and quality-of-life features are implemented but that can often impact the start of the game in all kinds of ways. 

With that said, it’s time to be optimistic so here’s what I believe to be Exoprimal’s strong points based on the several hours I’ve spent in the open beta tests.

Things That Work In Favor Of Exoprimal

One of the first things that I was greeted with in Exoprimal’s open beta was the settings. Since it’s not the full game, I’m sure there were a few things missing but the options and features available in it were pretty good. I believe there’s a standard that all developers should follow when it comes to this side of gaming and Capcom might be delivering on it.

The feature that stood out for me was the color perception filter which I believe would be beneficial to those who have difficulty determining certain colors. Not only that, it seems to be implemented well but I can’t say for certain since I didn’t exactly use it. Aside from that, adjustable subtitle size, high-contrast background for subtitles, and several other options convinced me to give a few plus points to Exoprimal.

But that’s not all. Aside from the positive first impression, Exoprimal’s core gameplay model felt like a breath of fresh air. While it didn’t have the effect I was hoping for, I could see the differences that set it apart from Destiny 2. Unlike Bungie’s hell-hole looter shooter, Capcom seems to be offering a more grounded game with a focus on completing missions similar to Valve‘s Counter-Strike. Another example would be Destiny 2’s Gambit mode.

Exoprimal offers a wide variety of Exosuits to choose from that you can switch on the fly. This allows for dynamic gameplay and strategy swaps.
Exoprimal offers a wide variety of Exosuits to choose from that you can switch on the fly. This allows for dynamic gameplay and strategy swaps.

I’ve spent over 400 hours in Destiny 2 and for what it’s worth, I had a good time with it. But within those hours, none of my achievements felt substantial and most of my time was spent doing mundane runs of content or farming Legend Lost Sectors for exotics. Along with its malpractices in the realm of microtransactions, Bungie has done a lot to damage the game despite the huge revenue. However, Exorpimal is different.

By removing the loot grind and adding missions that allow you to level up your Exosuits, Exoprimal takes an approach that’s a total 180 from Bungie’s space-shooter. While microtransactions are bound to be present in some manner, it seems that the loot grind is out of the question for now. But that’s not the game’s only strength. To make a good game, you need good gameplay and Capcom has delivered on that front.

At its core, Exoprimal’s gameplay is that of a traditional third-person shooter but its diversity comes from the myriad Exosuits divided into three roles—Tank, Healer, and Assault. This isn’t anything new if you’ve played some other MMOs and stuff, plus, players who’re familiar with Warframe will find several similarities in how the game functions. The good news is that it’s unique enough to not feel like a Warframe rip-off.

While all this is great, a crucial element of any online game is its infrastructure for online play. Exoprimal seems to be solid on that front too. I invested over ten hours in the beta test and never ran into any issues with lag or other shenanigans. Not only that, it seemed to be running well on my lower-high-end PC so it is evident that RE Engine is working its magic.

Given the design of each Exosuit, the live-service nature, and eventual microtransactions, the possibilities for collaborations and content are endless. Whether it’s going to be a new Exosuit or a raid boss, I don’t know, but there’s a lot of potential here and Capcom would have to capitalize on it. But this is where one of Exoprimal’s many weaknesses rears its head.

Weaknesses That Capcom Needs To Address

Among the many problems that plague live-service games, one that stands out the most is the lack of content at the beginning. You might have thought something along the lines of microtransactions but that usually isn’t an issue until way later or unless the company is down bad with greed. Korean MMORPGs like Lost Ark and Digimon Masters Online are one of the many prime examples along with Destiny 2.

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Despite my awareness that this isn’t the full game, Exoprimal failed to convince me that it would have anything special or captivating on offer with the final version. It felt barren and devoid of content. Dino Survival is marketed as a mode that will always provide a unique experience and never be the same thing but that wasn’t the case in the beta. Each mission was a rehash of the same “kill X amount of dinosaurs.”

The final mission was mostly about securely delivering a Data Key and things rarely ever broke away from this loop. It was flavorless and felt as if I was spirited away to Bungie’s space-based looter shooter and spamming public events over and over again. While the removal of loot is good, the mundane nature of these objectives doesn’t inspire any confidence or motivation in me to continue playing the game.

It’s a problem shared by many of these live-service games yet none of them have taken measures to alleviate it. Destiny 2 and Warframe lost flavor and purpose the longer I played them and eventually, I found myself clicking the uninstall button. On the other hand, Monster Hunter games feel more satisfactory due to their nature of overcoming something greater than yourself, plus, you’re rewarded handsomely for it.

I know it’s not fair to form an opinion of the final product based on a beta test so I’m quite open to changing my views about Exoprimal. That said, the story felt a bit shallow based on the sequence we saw in the beta. I’m quite positive it’s one of the opening sections of the game and could be changed but given all the elements at Capcom’s disposal, what it came up with seems rather barebones.

Exoprimal's gameplay is reminiscent of Warframe and the lack of unique content in each run does little to bring me back.
Exoprimal’s gameplay is reminiscent of Warframe and the lack of unique content in each run does little to bring me back.

Even with all this, there’s the battle pass or as they call it here, Survival Pass. I know that nothing is inherently bad, it’s the way they are implemented or used that determines whether they’re good or not. More often than not, these battle passes start off tame and then turn into abhorrent entities that reek of greed. I see a fair amount of opportunities to monetize Exoprimal but not sure what direction Capcom will take.

After Exoprimal, I Believe Live-Service Needs To Go

Every time a new game comes out, I wish for its success. Even if it’s bad, I always hope that the project finds a degree of popularity, and an audience, and brings in some revenue. The reason is simple, developers invest a lot of time and effort into their work. Believe it or not, even the worst games have spent years in development and just calling them names is discourteous.

Despite the problems I’ve found in Exoprimal, it’s a solid game and will find its audience. My real issue, however, is with the live-service model itself and I believe it needs to be put down once and for all. The model is actively designed to disrespect a player’s time and force them to continually spend money on a stagnant experience.

For now, Exoprimal seems to be offering something worth playing, and Capcom’s resurgence does help in inspiring confidence. But at the end of the day, it’s a live-service title that does little to change my beliefs. As a consumer, the best way to make something known is through your wallet so while I wish all the best to Capcom on this project, I’ll be passing on it.

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Saad is a News writer at eXputer. With vast journalistic experience working for a multitude of websites, Saad currently reports to eXputer with the latest news and dishes out his opinions on a frequent basis. He's currently studying Game and Interactive Media Design, which has further increased his knowledge about the ins and outs of the industry.

Experience: 1+ Year || Covers News Stories on eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Media Science.

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