Capcom is known for making excellent single-player adventures, while its history with multiplayer shooters is much more spotty. Exoprimal changes that.
Since the mid-2010s, games like Resident Evil 7, Devil May Cry V, Monster Hunter World, and Street Fighter 6 cemented Capcom as one of the best game publishers out there. Though one area where the company has always struggled is in the lucrative multiplayer shooter market. Titles like Resident Evil Re:Verse, Resident Evil Resistance, and Umbrella Corps just weren't that fun to play and failed to leave much of an impact. That's why I was hesitant following the announcement of Exoprimal, a multiplayer-only PvPvE game about fighting hordes of dinosaurs with Exosuits. Thankfully, after playing it a lot during its betas and some more after its official July 14 launch, I'm happy to say that Exoprimal is Capcom's best modern multiplayer shooter.
It's a game that's full of personality in both gameplay and the entertaining narrative moments spread out between matches. Its tone feels like a cheesy 1980s cartoon in the best way, while its gameplay blends elements of Anthem, Overwatch, and Left 4 Dead to craft an experience that's as satisfying as one would expect from a game where players fight dinosaurs with mechs. It's on Xbox Game Pass, so give it as shot if you've enjoyed Cacpom's recent games and want to see those skills applied to a multiplayer game.
The narrative of Exoprimal actually feels somewhat relevant right now due to the rising prevalence of AI. The premise is that Leviathan, the AI behind a giant megacorporation that hires Exosuit fighters to defeat dinosaurs invading from another dimension, goes rogue and forces the player to participate in an endless series of wargames against those dinos and other Exosuit fighters. Fold in some time-travel and dimension-hopping shenanigans, as well as a quirky crew of characters helping players between matches, and you have a game that pokes fun at corporate greed, AI, and questionable workplaces with Capcom's trademark wit. These narrative elements weren't in the prelaunch betas of Exoprimal that I played, so they served as a pleasant surprise now that I'm playing the final version of the game.
Playing Exoprimal at launch affirmed how enjoyable its combat is. Players have 10 Exosuits (and their variants) to choose from, which are separated into Support, Tank, and Assault classes and have distinct abilities, like the heroes in Overwatch. Players can swap between them freely during matches, which have two teams competing to complete a series of objectives at the same time before a final showdown. While I could toggle whether or not I wanted that final objective to feature PvP combat, another team's progress always looming over me added an exciting sense of urgency to each match that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.
Shooting down hordes of zombies with the Deadeye Exosuit or slicing through them with the Murasame Exosuit's sword was a ton of fun, as were the rare moments where I was able to turn into a dinosaur attacking the enemy team and stall their progress. In a preview of the game last July, I called Exoprimal "a much more robust and inspired multiplayer shooter than I expected." Now that Exoprimal is out, that statement still holds up.
Even just the one Dino Survival mode that's in the game now is doing plenty to keep me entertained as I play to progress the story. Then, once that's done, I'm sure that the progression systems tied to each Exosuit and post-launch editions, like the upcoming cooperative Savage Gauntlet, will keep me coming back to Exoprimal. I haven't even had the chance to play the game with friends yet, which will probably enhance the experience further.