The brilliant atmosphere is able to counter the so-so gameplay
Primal is an Action Adventure title developed by SCEE, and one of the only games to have the ability to say it was developed by SCEE.
SCEE as i've noticed don't really release games all that often, and considering that still they haven't come up with an instant classic or anything even close to a masterpeice to get themselves a franchise going its to no surprise, but each title they release may not be one of the greats but they at least all manage to be pretty decent and definatly worth a look.
Primal starts with a promising opening that introduces you to a simple time waitress with a great deal pf personality and quick whit about her, she's called Jen by her friends and boyfriend and at first she seems like a typical gothic chick imprinted with tattoos, hair as black as the night and skin as pale as the moonlight.
Then after a nifty lil cameo from the band 16-volt a giant creature of sorts kidnaps your dear boyfriend Lewis and soon you can already tell alot of demonic cults and magic are going to get involved.
Soon enough Jen will team up with Scree, a small Gargoyle who can't fly but is the master when it comes to...turning himself into a rock...Still both characters act as a very great partnership and throughout most of the game will always be by each others side.
Of course Jen acts as the acid-tongued heroine who will do the fighting while Scree acts as an advisor and friend, and while not accustomed to combat will still become a hero in his own way. Both characters of course must make use of their abilites to get through the games many puzzles and obstacles, such as Scree may reach certain areas that Jen cannot because of his small size and also handy ability to climb across stone walls. While Jen starts off mainly equipped for combat at first as the game goes on she too will gain herself some nifty abilites to help her through the puzzles.
As gameplay goes you'll find yourself controlling Jen for the majority of the time, not that Scree isn't playable, you can switch between both by just the press of a button, but of course with so much exploration and combat Jen is the obvious choice for taking lead.
You will travel through four different realms through the game all consisting of different inhabitants and very varieing enviroments, per each realm Jen will aquire a new form to take on. Such as the first realm filled with powerful warrior like creatures called Ferai Jen will soon enough gain the ability to morph into a hybrid of human and Ferai, so each realm will supply Jen with a form each very different in every way such as one allows Jen to swim, but in this form you cannot travel on land. As Scree he has an ability to harness the demon energys and store them within himself, which in turn can be used to heal Jen's own demon energy, also Scree will also when confronted by a puzzle will require to maybe go ahead first to find some way to help Jen get across for example.
So of course puzzles are plenty aswell as exploration of the realms but now onto combat, which sadly doesn't equal to the former gameplay.
Combat is as I said fought through Jen and her many forms with the controls set as the shoulder buttons each representing a hand, such as L1 representing her left of course while R1 the right. Also together though she can create some powerful combos and pressed together will unleach a powerful strike move which will usually set the enemies of balance and possibly knock them over. She can of course block and if timed right can unleach a counter attack too. When the enemies are weak enough you must then attack with a strike move to finish the enemy off otherwise the enemy will continue to regain their health, but annoyingly it can be sometimes rather clunky and Jen may accidently attack with a normal strike move instead of a finishing one. Though luckily it won't matter too much since combat is rather easy and while pretty fast paced and with a nice amount of combo's to unleach still pretty bland with the enemies all usually being pretty predictable. Still with the different forms equaling different fighting styles there is at least a fair amount of variety but overall the combat can still be slightly boring at times.
Besides the mixed reactions to gameplay everything else is fantastic.
Sound in this for me easily marks itself a 10, the soundtrack is different depending on wether your exploring around the realms or in mid-combat, while exploring it is different depending on the realm but all suit the settings and can help pile on the brilliant atmosphere. In battle your treated to some 16-volts tracks which in my case is an excellent addition though 16-volt are one of my favourite bands so its no surprise, but to others it may not be seen the same way, it depends if you happen to like industrial rock/trip rock. Voice acting too is shere perfection with both Jen and Scree giving...well perfect performances easily making them both very likable characters from the start.
Graphically is also another plus for everything looking very full of life, the enviroments are not at all bland and all contain different settings from say a miserable victorian era village leading to a Mansion to an underwater temple. The character models are all vibrant and lively in the cutscenes, though in gameplay the animations may get a litle jerky at times.
Great voice acting and a terrific atmosphere only further the greatness of the story. These realms, even our own which we call Earth and what they call Mortalis, are all governed by etheir Chaos or Harmony. Aleria is the master of Harmony while a vicious god-like entitiy called Abadon controlls Chaos, together they form a perfect balance to keep everything in order, but Abadon has basically decided to screw that and try and Chaos reign over all the realms, which leads to you to try and fix the realms Abadon has corrupted or in the Chaos realms case worsened. Lewis, Jens boyfriend will play a pivotal role in the story but it certaintly isn't what you'de expect. The story thanks to the likable characters, brilliant voice acting and top notch script to top it off is very enjoyable and a delight to play through.
The game on your first run should last you at least 12 hours i'de say which for a ps2 game from the 2003 era it rather impressive. Though sadly there isn't anything to bring you bacl, theres some cheats to try out to maybe add abit more fun but overall once its done, its done.
Still for while it lasts and especially at the price its expected to be found at these days its a wonderful tale and filled with a brilliant atmosphere which really does bring you into its world.