• Publisher: SCEA
  • Release Date: Mar 25, 2003

Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 36
  2. Negative: 2 out of 36
  1. Not many games can touch you, let alone make you really think about not only the world around you but also your inner persona, who you would prefer to show to the world but often must keep hidden for the sake of keeping up appearances. Play this game.
  2. This title's great story, realistic visuals and immersive game play will keep you glued to the screen for hours.
  3. A rank combat system, quirky camera and a lack of inspiration at the game's exploration/puzzle core make playing the game hard work.
  4. Uneasy control prevents the game from becoming a ten out of ten but we are still very pleased.
  5. What will keep you going through much of this game is the original story with well written and even better voiced characters and graphics that push the envelope of the PS2.
  6. I would not call Primal an innovative title, but it has lots to do and TONS of different powers, which the game doles out just about when you start wanting something new.
  7. Primal is one of the best action adventure games I've played.
  8. It starts off a bit slow, but the more you play, the more engrossed you'll become. That's where Sony Cambridge's true talents shine through. The story, the music, and that imagination factor always seem to steal the show in one of their titles.
  9. 80
    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.
  10. While the visuals and sound are top-notch, combat is seen more as an annoying distraction rather than an enjoyable experience.
  11. Primal's actual gameplay isn't quite as polished or engaging as the game's presentation, but overall, Primal is still easily recommended to those who enjoy exploring their games and not just plowing through them.
  12. Pleasant. It’s challenging without being too frustrating, and it’s attractive without being gobsmacking, full of decent set-pieces without anything that seriously demands a bit of thought. [PSM2]
  13. Those with a taste for all things gothic will probably love Primal, as will many other gamers However, its high production values are hampered somewhat by its underdeveloped fighting engine, simple puzzles, and slow pacing.
  14. 75
    If you’re an enthusiast of well-designed levels who doesn’t need twitch action to be satisfied, you should definitely give it a go. All others will likely nod off.
  15. A pretty face may get you in the door, but interactive ignorance will get you thrown out the window.
  16. It's sad. It boggles the mind to think that this much time was spent on presentation and backstory when none of it resonates in the slightest.
  17. Pure action-junkies may lose patience with Primal (if the prolonged, "enforced tutorial" beginning doesn't outright kill them), but those who like to sit back and soak in atmosphere are in for one hell -- one Hell -- of a moody ride.
  18. 60
    Too bad the slow pace of the gameplay hobbles the cool concept.
  19. 60
    Looks good and plays well, though you have to accept that a tough puzzle or vague objective can bring your progress to a screeching halt at any moment.
  20. If there were more combat, the inconsistencies in the environment wouldn't be so glaring, or at least they'd be more forgivable because you'd be busy with other things.
  21. Other than a lack of truly finger-busting battles for die-hard action fans, long-winded cut scenes are Primal's only real concern. The rest of the experience, in all its brain-teasing, high-resolution glory, is a terrific combination of gothic underworld exploration and movie-quality scripting. [Mar 2003, p.46]
  22. To get any satisfaction from Primal takes a great deal of effort and compassion, and this price will be too high for some of us.
  23. At worst, it's a standard adventure game that wastes good graphics, competent voice acting, and an engaging plot. [May 2003, p.71]
  24. Somebody up there probably regards this as a trailblazing taste of high-concept, one-size-fits-all blockbuster games to come. Consider that, and know true Primal fear. [March 2003, p.92]
  25. A funny game; the opening phase is likely to put off most gamers as it’s too long-winded, slow, frustrating and just not exciting enough; however persevere and you’ll be rewarded with a decent action/adventure title with ludicrously high production values.
  26. Its funky bugs, ho-hum core plot and flat, unrewarding ending keep me from recommending it to everyone, but the amazing graphics, unrelentingly sharp dialogue and fantastic score keep it high enough that I can say it’s a definite rental.
  27. While the story is extremely deep, Primal plays like a button masher.
  28. Primal is more like "Soul Reaver" meets "Ico." And let me tell you, it works.
  29. Doesn't hold up in the areas that count the most: Its combat is mindlessly repetitive, its puzzles aren't very inventive, and there are often long, boring stretches between the action. [May 2003, p.126]
  30. We’d recommend Primal to those of you who like games to act as a dictator rather than an instigator. And those who find fetching cups off coffee comparable to the heroic tasks undertaken by the heroes of Greek mythology.
  31. In the end, this would-be epic is nothing more than a series of lock-and-key puzzles - the same outdated concept that developers have been shoving down our throats since the first "Prince of Persia." [May 2003, p.80]
  32. It's as free-form as a game can possibly be while retaining the qualities needed to remain a compelling interactive experience. [May 2003, p.64]
  33. I can't think of a more enjoyable puzzle-based adventure since "Ico." Though not without faults, Primal does so much right, you never really want to put it down. [May 2003, p.93]
  34. If you can look past the shallow combat and limited interactivity, you'll find an enjoyable gothic experience the looks good and has a great story to tell.
  35. 67
    A really nice looking game, and the environments feel like actual places (as opposed to game levels), so exploring them isn't aways that painful. [June 2003, p.53]
  36. Reminds me of Sony's own "The Getaway" - a game rich in atmosphere with gameplay that doesn't keep up.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 49 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 18
  3. Negative: 2 out of 18
  1. phz
    Jan 3, 2014
    this game was one of the best i played when i was young on ps2
    still love it and i hope a sequel is in progress i dno what other ppl had in
    this game was one of the best i played when i was young on ps2
    still love it and i hope a sequel is in progress i dno what other ppl had in the past but this game is awsome
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 25, 2014
    Primal universe is gorgeous !!! amazing history and deep fantasy, you spend time playing at 13 hours! very big game, Primal deserved a sequel!Primal universe is gorgeous !!! amazing history and deep fantasy, you spend time playing at 13 hours! very big game, Primal deserved a sequel! come on people!! Full Review »
  3. Jan 24, 2013
    Probably one of the most gorgeous games on the PS2. Lush visuals, great soundtrack, interesting and creatively designed characters, greatProbably one of the most gorgeous games on the PS2. Lush visuals, great soundtrack, interesting and creatively designed characters, great voice acting. To be honest though, I did find some the handling a little clumsy at times, but this is really just a minor point as the game keeps you engrossed enough to not notice. A real shame that it wasn't longer. It isn't a short game but it is just so well designed and so excellently paced that you just crave more and more. Overall: One of my favorite games on the PS2 and I hope that someday a worthy sequel gets made. Full Review »