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     " You'll want to like Primal a lot…but wanting isn't always enough. "

      Title: Primal by Sony

      Format: PS2 Adventure Game

      Reviewing Monkey: Our Ape Masters

      The Hype: Part of Sony's new "the game is a movie" line (like The Getaway), Primal is a strongly story driven adventure game where the lead character is a hotty rocker chick who can turn into a demon. No, no, my monkeys. We're not talking about your old Led Zepplin acid flashbacks, this is a game and it's new.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: There's an odd trend in games lately. It seems that an awful lot of programmers are looking to games that came out last year or the year before for inspiration on what their games should look like. And while I'm not saying that Primal is ugly by any stretch of the imagination, it's just…primitive- especially when compared to some of its 3rd person contemporaries (like Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven which happened to come in at the same time). What that means is that while it definitely qualifies as "pretty" it doesn't have the texture, smoothness, fluid animations, or detail of most of what's out right now. 3.5 out of 5

      Playability: Primal tries to be a bunch of things all integrated fluidly together, and as such they definitely deserve a certain amount of credit for trying. Part fighting game, part puzzle solver, and part adventure action, Primal has a myriad of components that definitely keeps play from being repetitive or boring. The trouble is that while it includes a number of elements none of the aspects are particularly strong on their own, and only maintain any interest simply because there's so many of them. The fighting, while frenetic, is fairly lifeless and represents a step backwards in simple button mashing despite the presence of a myriad of demon/animal forms for the main character to assume. The puzzles, often focused around determining which of the two playable characters to use, are moderately interesting but ultimately juvenile and leave a lot to be desired. The adventure aspects, definitely the core of the game, really devolve into little more than running willy-nilly around the rather vast levels Primal offers but, again, really doesn't offer anything particularly interesting in and of itself. Thus, even though you get all those options none, none end up being particularly interesting. 3.5 out of 5

      Story and Drama: Definitely the high point of Primal, the story is a fairly elaborate and interesting foray into a fantasy world kept in balance by the two primal forces of the universe- order and chaos. It focuses on the main character Jen who unwittingly becomes a major player in the struggle and is gifted with a number of abilities- including being able to shift into various demon forms. It's an interesting, if not particularly original, story and sufficiently moves the plot along. What's really remarkable, however, is the voice acting by Andreas Katsulas (tons of crap including Babylon 5) and the terminally hot Hudson Leik (Xena: Warrior Princess) and the emotion and character they manage to convey. Unfortunately, as we've come to expect in most games, the script is somewhere between atrocious and shittarific, and thus much of their obvious talent goes to waste as they choke on lines that no human being would ever say. 3.75 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: The lack of multiplayer and a totally linear story mean you'd better really like the game in order to play it again. As I was only luke-warm on it I don't think I'll be picking it up again any time soon. 2 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       All in all, Primal isn't bad- it just could have used a bunch more fine tuning and polish. It tries to be many things but, as the old adage goes, it does none of them exceptionally well.

      The Good: Lots of interesting elements and some great voice acting.

      The Bad: None of the elements are enough to put the game over the top.

      The Overall Ugly: You'll want to like Primal a lot…but wanting isn't always enough.

      What it's Worth: Rental

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