Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey – Review
Follow Genre: Open-World Survival Game
Developer: Panache Digital Games
Publisher: Private Division
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: PC

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Lots of freedom, Beautiful to look at
Bad: Camera controls can be tricky
User Score
9.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)

There have been many games by now which proclaim to be educational while also providing the player with a healthy dose of fun. Of course, your mileage may vary, but if there’s anything that can be said for Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, it’s that the entire game is a learning experience. Though the main thing you’ll be learning is that ten million years ago, everything was out to kill us.

Story

The very start of the game has a short story segment, showing us a cutscene of an adult ape and their child having a hard time in the jungle. In this very hostile environment, death lurks around every corner for every creature. And sure enough, the parent loses their life shortly after, leaving the young ape alone and unprotected. You are then thrown into the gameplay, first as the baby trying to find shelter, then as a different adult who hears its calls and sets out to find it. It serves as a bit of a tutorial, because as soon as the two are reunited, you are on your own, and the rest of the clan’s story is what you make of it, completely up to your future decisions.

Graphics

Ancestors is a really good example of how far photorealistic graphics have come over the years. The game looks simply stunning, with incredible attention to detail when it comes to both the environments you explore and the various hostile creatures you encounter there. The gradual change of your apes into primitive humans is so subtle you barely notice it. Only the death animations can become just a bit tedious, as they tend to be too drawn out and are also unskippable.

Sound

While at first the lack of music in this game might put you off a bit, you will soon notice that there’s a good reason for this. Sound is essential for your apes to ensure their survival, as they will need to hear enemies approach at any time or you’ll end up as tiger food. The world is alive with all kinds of noises in Ancestors, which often will be your clue to when danger is coming. Plenty of sound effects and animal noises only add to the realism.

Gameplay

Ancestors is an open-world survival game. The main goal is not just the survival of your character though, but that of its entire clan. You start off as a member of a primate family, but slowly you can grow your clan and advance your species, through millions of years and many generations, following the general flow of human evolution. The game is mostly based on exploration, as you wander the world and discover things to earn points that you need for your skill tree later.

Exploring is mostly done through your instincts and experimentation. Just look around, listen for strange noises and smell things, until you discover something unusual. This could be a plant that can serve as food or a new tool or animal you haven’t seen before. For everything, you discover you not only earn points, but it will also be needed if you want to expand your domain. At first, your clan will not be very comfortable going to uncharted territories, and it might even send your ape into a panic. But as you learn more, the unknown will become less scary to you until you can overcome your fear and explore further reaches, eventually even wandering beyond the jungle into different biomes, like the desert or savanna. All the while keeping an eye on your thirst, hunger, and exhaustion of course.

It will probably take a while to get that far though, and clearly, your apes aren’t immortal. To ensure the clan’s existence, you will need to find an ape of the opposite sex to mate with. Not only will you enlarge your clan this way and make sure there’s young blood for the next generation, but you also get an adorable baby to carry around on your back. And this is also where you use the points you collected earlier, to buy Neuronal pathways. These pretty much work like a skill tree, giving you the option to choose which abilities to advance, which the next generation will inherit.

As you advance, you will notice your own abilities are changing too. Your primate moves easier, becomes smarter, and will generally learn all kinds of exciting things. Soon they will be using plants to cure illnesses, building their own shelters or even making rudimentary weapons. Those last ones especially will come in handy when venturing outside. Ancient Africa is filled with all kinds of creatures, ranging from giant snakes to tigers and crocodiles. And all of these creatures are more than happy to make you their next meal. You can either run away and avoid their attacks or try and turn the tables on them and make them your next food supply. Meat is incredibly nutritious after all. Either way, an unfortunate fall or a poisonous plant can also kill you easily. But as long as you have other clan members, you can just continue the game with them.

Conclusion

With over 50 hours of gameplay, who can really complain about Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey? Besides some wonky camera controls here and there, the game succeeds perfectly in what it sets out to do: provide a game for those who like to explore and experiment with the science of evolution in a wide-open world filled with opportunities. Will you learn something along the way? Hopefully. But you will be having a good time regardless.

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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey - Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Jessica
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

1 Comment

  1. […] already reviewed the PC version of Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey before which you can check out here, but this time we got a chance to check out the game on the PlayStation […]

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