Primal Fears [Review]

Joey Min
Video Production
February 4th, 2013

Primal Fears

In this day and age of gaming, zombies (and many of its derivative mutative forms) is a staple cannon fodder. I’ve always wondered when we would begin to hate this particular gaming trope and wasting these hordes of bullet sponges becomes a chore rather than enjoyment. Playing Primal Fears, I believe I hit that point.

Primal Fears is a top-down isometric shooter in which you are a generic survivor (gender of your choice) who must shoot, run, rinse, repeat through hordes of zombie mutant bugs in a post-apocalyptic world. The simple story is spread thinly through levels in the form of article clippings that are strewn about the land. Seems like there was an insect infestation to which a pharmaceutical company makes worse by creating a chemical that made the insects become mutated and humans into zombies. Eventually, you end up in the lab where it all started to clean up the mess.

Graphically, this game doesn’t stand out too much. Like most post-apocalyptic worlds, there is a scarcity of light to which the game plays some decent lighting effects. The monster designs are freaky enough, it’s just that there’s really only a few types of them with just various colors and size. 20 minutes into the game and you’ve already seen everything that the game can throw at you in Skittles format. Although some enemies explode and leave a satisfying blood streak on your screen, it’s a shame that it gets boring to kill the same type of enemies over and over again.

The audio could also have been better. Aside from the music that fits the mood and feel of the game, everything else is just lackluster. The rifle fire sounds dull and weak, reloading the gun sounds like plastic bebe guns, and the moans and groans of the horde become an annoyance very early on. The music does have some pacing to it, but ultimately stands out as nothing special.

Primal Fears

Sadly enough, the gameplay doesn’t make up for the shortcomings of this game. You just make your way through sectioned areas of the level while pumping lead into anything that moves until you reach some sort of obstacle that can only be fixed by either using your melee weapon or a dedicated forklift button, which funnily enough, only happens once in a game. Once the dead end has be solved, you then repeat the process of shooting and moving until the end.

The controls of the game is very simple.  During combat you only need to really worry about a few keystrokes. One button for your main gun, another for grenades, and another to run. There is a button for melee, but it’s so ineffective and useless that you will only use it to open barricades at the end of the sections. Running and attacking with your melee weapon uses up your stamina meter, and it is more effective for you to run and shoot rather than hack away at an enemy; partly because it feels like all of the enemies are wearing ten layers of Kevlar or something. Though the shops carry much stronger weapons, the amount of enemies and their resilience wins the battle of attrition with your resources. These strong weapons do not hold enough ammo for them to last a few waves. Sooner or later, you are going to rely on you not-so-trusty rifle, which even at full upgrade points feels like an automatic potato shooter; slowly kiting and picking away at even the tiniest of monsters.

This is why the game feels like a chore. It is just tediously hard to kill enemies when they have high health, let alone a whole wave of them. Though you can lighten the load by choosing an easier difficulty, the payoff of the experience points gained while playing drops off considerably. Experience points are what you use to upgrade the stats of your weapons, so even if the game is easier, the amount of experience points acquired in an easier difficulty is negligible once you’ve reached later levels. You will find that your weapons cannot handle even the smallest monsters in which you must grind lower levels to increase the stats of your weapons. This makes the game unreasonably longer. There is a chance for co-op, but even then, the monsters are ramped up in health relative of how many players are on.

This game is anything but fun. It was excruciating the first minutes up until the last. If you were looking for a game that was fun to play with a group of friends for a LAN night because (for some odd reason) nostalgic feelings of Gauntlet Legends flashed through your mind, this is NOT the game for you. On the other hand, if you like to do chores on your spare time, there is nothing better than this game. It’s long, boring, and unreasonably balanced in favor of the monsters just to make an already long game even longer.

Primal Fears
DnS Development
There's not much you can really do in a post-apocalyptic world other than making it dark. Lighting effects are cool and blood splatter on screen is ghoulishly delightful, but nothing stands out here.
Aside the music, I think this was recorded on a Mac with Garage Pro with a bebe gun
It did it's job. Some people were telling me that the controls were wonky, but I didn't have a problem with this at all. Shoot, run, repeat is a difficult thing to mess up in execution, I believe.
Game Play
The gameplay was just another variation of “horde” mode, where waves of enemies just come at you. By definition, this game pulls this gameplay off perfectly; monsters run at you, you shoot. It never aimed higher or attempted anything ground breaking.
What ultimately brings this game down is the balancing between the guns to the monsters. Even at their highest levels, the weapons do not feel strong enough to handle the enemies that the game throws at you. Since you wouldn't know this from the start, you would assume that leveling your guns would make it easier, only to find out that the later levels, the enemies gain more health which effectively negates any upgrades you do to your weapons. There was nothing satisfying killing the enemies, everything from the lack of visual representation of death to the muffled sounds of gunshots. I honestly would not recommend this game to anyone.




Joey is an avid tournament player for fighting games. Learning the ropes from SDTekken, he went off and created his own gaming group, Get Salty, to bring the tournament scene into the lonely parts of South Jersey. Besides his love for video games, he hopes that his passion for video production would be a valuable asset to Mash Those Buttons.

Specialty: Fighting Games