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Primal


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Information about Primal

Primal is an action/adventure video game released in 2003 (14 years ago) for the PlayStation 2. It was developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe aka SCE Studio Cambridge. It tells the story of Jennifer Tate, a 21 year old woman searching for her boyfriend through a series of demonic realms. As the story develops, more is revealed about Jen's past and her relationship with her boyfriend, as well as the nature of the demon worlds.

History

The battle to save the outside world starts within as Jen Tate, a young woman of our world, faces the demons of alternate planes and discovers her own supernatural origin. In Oblivion, there are four distinct realms, each occupied by a demon race. Two are aligned with order and two with chaos. But the scales of balance are overthrown, and chaos is engulfing Oblivion.

Mortalis

The place where Jen and Lewis are from, the "real" world. Belahzur used his power to abduct Lewis from Mortalis.

Nexus

The place where it all comes together. It is here that Chronos uses the Oracle machine to maintain the balance of Oblivion. All the realms can be entered through the Nexus.

Oblivion

The name given to all four realms.

Solum

A harsh realm where the sun never shines and an eternal winter blankets the ground and freezes the soul. This is a world reminiscent of the mortal Ancient Rome with columns high enough to reach the gods, and arenas to honour the brave and strong.

The occupants of this realm are the Ferai. Although fierce and rugged in appearance, the Ferai are fundamentally a good race, aligned with the forces of Order.

Scree notes that each king of the Ferai has vast power and strength, but at the height of his power, must sacrifice himself, or the entire realm will collapse. Further, this is traditionally accomplished using an object called "the Burning Crown."

In this realm Jen "learns" her first demon form, based on the Ferai race.

Aquis

Under an eternal autumn sunset, deep beneath an endless, poisonous ocean lies the sub-aquatic realm of Aquis. The deadly waters are home to vast sea monsters, but the occupants of this realm, the Undine, have built their own safe-havens where they can live their lives free from the leviathans and the polluted waters of the deep.

The Undine are able to communicate telepathically and survive only due to complex water purification machines. This humanoid race is perfectly adapted to life underwater with efficient gills and fins that power them through the shadowy depths.

Jen's second demon form is based on the Undine race.

Aetha

Set in the cloud-draped peaks is the far-from-heavenly realm of Aetha. The sheer mountains and treacherous rocks mean the inhabitants have to make their precarious homes on the plateaus and peaks above the clouds. The gloom and drizzle hides Tudor-like architecture with foreboding towers, heavy black beams and crumbling white walls. Overhanging balconies seek to steal what little light the street lanterns cast.

Jen shown in the Aetha realm, using her Ferai abilities to kill an enemy. Scree, Jen's sidekick, can be seen in the background.The occupants of Aetha are the "Wraith" race. These fearsome and cadaverous beings have created a warped aristocratic society, with the ruling Wraith class living a life of opulence and excess while the "Helot" peasants live in filth and squalor. Unsurprisingly the ruling class is selfish and evil, throwing lavish masked balls within sight of the starving masses. The Wraith are shown to have vampiric characteristics, such as the need to survive on drinking blood.

Jen's third demon form is based on the Wraith race.

Volca

A wasted landscape of sand and rock forms Volca, the fourth realm. An endless scorched desert, the burning horizon is dominated by a vast volcano. Volcan architecture is very similar to that of the Aztecs or ancient Egyptians.

This realm's occupants are the Djinn race. The Djinn are quite possibly the strongest of Oblivion's inhabitants. Their bodies are formed from a living metal and they resemble ancient Egyptian gods. Their health is linked directly to the rhythms of the volcano; when it is dormant they are at their weakest and as it builds towards the violent eruption they feel their most empowered. (As Scree says, "When [the volcano] erupts, we'd better be long gone.")

Jen's fourth and final demon form is based on the Djinn race.

Gameplay

In Primal, the player can control either Jen or Scree as they navigate the realms of Oblivion. As the game progresses, newer demonic forms are obtained, which prove invaluable in solving various puzzles and combat.

Control can be switched between Jen and Scree at any time in game. When in control of one, the other will be operated by AI, performing various functions depending on the situation. During play, the characters can interact with one another, performing actions such as asking questions, or siphoning energy.

When in control of Jen, the player may transform into one of four demonic forms for various purposes, depending on the situation (provided the forms are unlocked). When in a demon form, Jen experiences a boost in attack, defense, speed, attack range and access to abilities unavailable in a human form. The tattoo on Jen's back also glows when in a demon form, corresponding to various forms.

Defeating enemies involves weakening enemies to the point where their hit points reach zero, at which time a finishing move must be performed to kill the enemy. While the moves differ in style and time taken, the final effect remains the same. It should be noted that enemies can be finished off before the health bar reaches zero, doing so leaves more residual energy.

While Jen can remain in a demonic form indefinitely, taking damage will reduce health. However, hit points here are represented by demonic energy. When an enemy is killed, the remaining energy can be drained through use of Scree, who can store the energy for when it is needed. Jen can then call on the energy, siphoning it off to replenish her own. Scree can store a vast amount of energy, but also has limits as to how much.

When in control of Scree, the player is invulnerable; Scree, being a gargoyle, cannot suffer damage, making him an effective scout. Scree is capable of climbing on stone walls, a necessary ability when traversing the realms. Scree can also store drained energy from dead enemies, which can be used to replenish Jen's demonic health, though he must remain immobile when doing so.

Scree is revealed to be the long-lost Abdizur, who disappeared following an encounter with the lord of Chaos. In Solus, for a temporary amount of time, the player possesses a life-size statue of Abdizur via Scree, to combat Belhazur when Jen's powers are not fit to do so. The player may also possess other statues in an area under given circumstances.

The player may also happen across various energy crystals, which can be stored and used if Scree's energy reserves are not enough and the player is at low health. These crystals are kept throughout the game, the only exclusion being when revisiting previous scenes, at which point they are reduced to a default amount. This means that the crystals function as extra lives, to a degree.

If Jen is in human form, her health replenishes automatically if she is not in battle (human form only; demon energy must be replenished by either drawing on Scree's reserve energy or, failing that, by using a crystal). While in human form, Jen's health represents her presence in the demon world. If she loses all her health while in human form, she is returned to the human world, where she is in a near-death state. When this happens, the player must direct Scree to the nearest rift gate within a time limit (not seen on screen, though the voice of Arella warns the player that time is running out). If Scree does not reach a rift gate in time, Jen dies, and the game is over.

Throughout the game, constant saving can prove onerous, particularly if the player wishes to backtrack and revisit certain areas. Provided a save game is present, the player may do so, and can revisit nearly all of the locations, once they have been unlocked via an in-game cutscene.

Characters

Jen (Jennifer Tate), the main playable character, who obtains the ability to transform herself into various demon forms.
Lewis, Jen's boyfriend.
Chronos, part of a machine known as the Oracle, he helps maintain balance in Oblivion by equally dividing energy between Arella and Abaddon.

Allied with Order

Arella, the embodiment of Order; the good. She is supported by the demons of the Solum and Aquis realms.
Scree, a gargoyle. He's the second playable character in the game; he can climb certain types of walls and can turn himself into stone to help Jen over the course of the game. He is later revealed to be Abdizur, who was defeated by Abaddon, and managed to transfer his remaining energy, into the small familiar gargoyle shape.
Abdizur, Arella's defender and General of the armies of the Order. Following an encounter with Abaddon, has vanished without a trace.

Allied with Chaos

Abaddon, the embodiment of Chaos; the evil. He is supported by the demons of Aetha and Volca realms.
Belahzur, Abaddon's right-hand man and General of the Chaos armies.

Reception

The game was well-received amonst video game reviews, with IGN stating "Limited by an inconsequential combat system and basic wander-puzzles. What it does manage to do though is overwhelm us with high-quality production values, wow us with an excellent graphical presentation, and move us with one hell of a killer soundtrack". In the article "Overrated/Underrated" in their sep. 2004 (13 years ago) issue, Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine cited the game's protagonist as an underrated "hot chick" in comparison to Lara Croft, stating "She's smart. She's funny. She hangs out in biker bars. She's good in a fight. And she's got a really nice butt." In the same article, Scree was likewise cited as an underrated sidekick, stating "This is the way to make a memorable sidekick: Make him dignified, make him funny looking, and make him useful."

Source: en.wikipedia.org


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