Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is a third-person survival game. It was released for PC on 27th August 2019 and later released to play on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 6th December 2019. The game was developed by Panache Digital Games and published by Private Division. It has been quite a big year for Private Division with the release of the extremely popular game The Outer Worlds.
Private Division are a dedicated and highly experienced publishing team. The are committed to supporting some of the best independent studios to create titles of the highest quality. At Panache Digital Games, they boast that there is no such thing as “ordinary” and that “thinking outside of the box and pushing boundaries is in the team’s DNA”.
Where It All Began
Our adventure begins in the depths of an African jungle. The aim of the game is true to a survival game: keep your characters alive. You control a clan of primates and can switch between which one you would like to play as. The primates need food, water and sleep to survive. The rest of the game is focused on exploration. In a nutshell, your main aim is to keep your clan alive. When you are confident that you can do this, you will need to explore the jungle to improve your state of survival. To do this, you will need to learn how to use tools, learn how to build within your camp and explore the surrounding area. When you first begin playing Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, you can choose whether or not you want a little bit of help. This will include a HUD (map) and a tutorial. Trust me when I say that you will want this the first time you play. I couldn’t imagine not having a few hints to get started.
Time and Evolution
The key to Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is to take things slow. Get your bearings and don’t try to run before you can walk. If you do try to run before you can walk, the primate you are currently playing as will freak out and start running around hysterically. When you get your jungle legs, you can choose to play the game quite slowly, taking one day at a time and growing your clan. Alternatively, you can choose to step through the evolutionary chain and speed up time.
When you have achieved some smaller feats, you can learn new abilities. This will include building, using both hands, communication and a lot more. After learning some new abilities and building some brainpower, you will be able to progress time. This may mean that some of your primates get older or even die from old age if they are already on the older side. Any baby primates will grow into adults, and your clan may have even moved to a different area of the map. Each leap through time should mean that your clan is a little bit smarter. They will be able to learn more and will be a bit stronger. This is a way of stepping through the evolutionary chain and watching your clan change each time you do.
Life and Death
Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey offers players an immersive survival experience. The soundtrack and sound effects used in the game make you feel as if you are stepping into a brutal world. The world of Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is filled with enemies, predators, and environmental hazards. There is an insane number of ways that your favourite characters, as well as key members of your primate clan, could die. This is great because it gets your heart racing and gives you a real sense of danger.
On the complete opposite side of all the danger, the world is also brimming with life and, when you get the chance to stop and look around, it is so beautiful. Being in the camp where your clan is safe can be nice as well. I enjoyed spending a bit of time just pottering around the camp. It gave me a sense of a family just trying to survive. When they are all huddled together under a shelter and keeping warm in the beds you have made, you really feel like you want to protect them.
Patience Is a Virtue
It takes a lot of patience to play Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey. One of the main issues of the game is the loading times, especially when you first start playing the game and whenever you come back to it. When it does finally load, you want to get straight into the game and start doing stuff like exploring or building, but sometimes you just have to spend chunks of time in your camp taking care of your clan. These moments can feel a lit bit boring. It takes quite a bit of dedication and patience to get anywhere, especially when pairing two primates to hopefully grow your clan with a baby. These moments can feel a little bit boring and dull.
Another issue that I found with the game are the graphics. As I have mentioned, the game is quite beautiful because it is filled with life. The graphics for the environments are fine; the trees, plants and food are great. The issue lies with the animals. The primates in your clan aren’t actually very realistic looking or detailed. Their faces can look quite strange, and during cutscenes their eyes can be all over the place, or it can look like they don’t even have any eyes, they will just have black or white holes where their eyes should be. All of the animals are quite poorly rendered, the predators that can attack your primates move very strangely, and unfortunately, they just don’t look good at all.
Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is a true survival game. There are so many ways that you can lose a member of your clan, and you need to spend quite a bit of time taking care of them. The main issues in the game, as I have mentioned, lie with the poor character models and the loading times. With that being said, the environments are great. You feel very immersed in your surroundings when you are exploring.
For anyone that really enjoys survival games or games that allows you to step through the evolutionary chain, I would say that it is definitely worth giving it a try. The game requires a lot of patience, so if you prefer games that are fast-paced where you can just jump in and get to the exciting stuff right away, then I would say that this probably isn’t the game for you. Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey gives you a real feeling of family and pride when you have built a strong clan. The game isn’t without its issues, but it is quite beautiful at times. The best parts of the game come from the soundtrack and sound effects because you feel like you are in the heart of the jungle.
Developer: Panache Digital Games
Publisher: Private Division
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: 27th August 2019 (PC), 6th December 2019 (PS4, Xbox One)
Do you agree with our review of Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey? What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments below.