Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey was originally one of my most-anticipated titles of the year. That is until it was released. In our original review for PC, I was saddened to read that, while it had the ambition that I thought it would have, it wasn’t quite the experience of what players may have originally envisioned. Would the experience be any different when the game made the move to consoles? Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem so. Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey still feels like it has plenty of ambition on the PlayStation 4 and can be a fun experience for the most patient of patient gamers, but it just doesn’t quite evolve my own enjoyment of the sim or survival genres.
It’s hard to imagine that the overall experience of Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey differs much between the PC and consoles (I played on the PlayStation 4). The overall “goal” is merely to survive and ultimately thrive through evolution. Evolution comes in the form of a skills tree, which expands as players learn new survival tactics, like drinking water and eating non-poisonous vegetation, combat, exploration, and social interactions. Sleep also plays a part in progressing through the game, which allows players to move the time of day forward at an accelerated rate, which was something I did admittedly often to spend my waking hours in the relatively safer sunlight.
Controls on the PlayStation 4 felt much like any other game in which the character is controlled from a third-person perspective. Traversing throughout the open jungle is very satisfying, especially climbing and running through the trees and branches that hover high above the jungle floor, not to mention taking in the amazing views from atop the canopy.
That said, controls felt a bit less-refined when interacting with objects and other NPCs. Hovering over object icons required precise aim, but I often found that my aim would drift from whatever I was about to interact with, making the slow – incredibly slow – grind even more cumbersome. I would be interested to see how PC controls fared in this regard.
It is also an interesting decision that Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is a third-person experience. Given the ability to hide hints and the HUD, one would think that a first-person view would add an additional option for more in-game immersiveness. This absence, however, does not take away from the overall experience.
Venturing into the foggy, unknown wilderness is unsettling and tense. The chaos and confusion ramp-up to eleven when encountering the terrors looking to you as their next meal. I fell far too many times to the sabertooth tigers and crocodiles that I crossed paths with. That is until I was able to (finally) use combat skills and weapons to come out on top. These successful moments were fun, but took so long to get to, that I was more relieved to be finished with the achievements than I was excited to have used my evolutionary skils.
Slow-Paced Human Simulator
While the slow-paced nature of Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey was a bit too much of a slog for me, there are plenty of players who will be up to the challenge. An effective ‘Human Simulator,” the ambition of the game is seen in its graphics, audio, and overall immersive long-haul gameplay. Just be prepared to put in the time. After all, evolution didn’t happen overnight.
A PlayStation 4 review copy of Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey was provided to TheGamer for this review. Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via the Epic Games Store.
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