When I originally reviewed Exoprimal I was in love with the concept, but certain poor choices held it back. As much as I preferred playing higher difficulty missions, the scale-based matchmaking constantly threw me in the same situations. It’s incredibly frustrating having an experience you enjoy, with at least two “high-tier” maps, and only experiencing them three times out of the 149 battles I’ve logged since release.
Still, I wanted to give Savage Gauntlet a chance. Forcing players to beat the campaign to unlock it suggested it was not for newcomers. I had hopes it might be Exoprimal’s Vault of Glass. Obviously not to the same degree, just a mission that showed what highs players can expect. This was furthered with Capcom’s explanation of the mode, which I included below.
Savage Gauntlet takes the wargames to the next level with special missions for courageous players. These combat tests feature late-game content that unlocks upon completing the story in Dino Survival mode. In Savage Gauntlet, five Exofighters join forces to take on intense player versus environment (PvE) challenges that change every week. This dynamic mode will feature a rotation of rules and scenarios that provide a high level of difficulty tuned for experienced players and powered-up Exosuits.Press Release
Dino Survival or Savage Gauntlet?
Having now experienced Savage Gauntlet it certainly didn’t live up to any of the aforementioned hype. Contrary to what the mode is called, players are given 10 minutes to complete three missions. These include killing Gas Neosaur/Pachycephalosaurus, a Triceratops/T.Rex, and finally protecting a ship from two T.Rex, a Stegosaurus, and Gas Neosaurs.
Out of the three the only one with any level of difficulty is the final event, and that is due to T.Rex quickly destroying the ship if you don’t kill/detour them. You likely won’t get overran, it isn’t as intense as a good number of missions I’ve encounter, nor does it feel different from the rest of the game. Well, besides eliminating the opposing team aspect.
In addition to being underwhelming, it feels rushed out. While I don’t mind this being a worldwide race against various teams, it’s unfortunate there doesn’t seem to be a way to view scores. I’d love to know how quickly the best teams can do it, along with how much effort it will take to hit Master. I might try if I know I need to beat it by 10 seconds, but without knowing it’s just a shot in the dark in hopes the next score places better.
Along with being less demanding than several Dino Survival missions, the reward seems equally underwhelming. According to the description there are “special awards,” something the press release also says.
While I hope to be wrong, grinding this mode seems to simply give icons that others can see on your profile. For some it will be enough, though I suspect many will not see it as being worth the investment. This will either cause an issue where getting in the top 20 percent is incredibly difficult due to a lack of players, or extremely easy because most don’t care. Regardless of which path it goes, it’s not the best place to be.
Negativity aside, I want to make it clear that the Savage Gauntlet changes weekly. It’s entirely possible the second, third, fifth, 20th, or whatever one will actually be game changing, but hopeful speculation is what lead to many being disappointed with this mode.
Truly a Savage Gauntlet…
That said, the mode actually has a lot of potential, it just feels out of place. The intent of Savage Gauntlet is to make players rethink their strategies. A big part of being successful in the final section is using things like barriers to your advantage and certain Exosuits. Such tactics can be furthered by coordinated squads who might be able to optimize speed with fewer support or specific builds.
In the end, Savage Gauntlet might improve, but it’s not what Exoprimal needs right now. The experience is at its best when it’s a manic fight against insurmountable odds. Perhaps later gauntlets will explore that, but right now it’s a mode that gives a specific task that you can build for if you want to be among the “best.”