It really was time Ubisoft shook up the Far Cry series. Fun and shiny though the last couple have been, the formula has seemed so well trodden its footprints were at risk of fossilisation.

Primal scraps modern-day conveniences such as semi-automatic rifles, grenades and cotton undies and throws our large-browed hero 12,000 years into the past.

Early on we get a taste of mammoth-hunting and just what a safety hazard such food gathering can be. The sabre-toothed tiger is not an easily-killed wee puss, just so you know.

But fashion a bow, cobble together a spear, hunt some not-terribly-deadly plant-eating beasties to get back your strength and Takkar - for that is you, oh hairy one - is ready to unite his people and lead them to glory, peace and mammoth burgers in the face of angry neighbouring tribes and the flesh-ripping tendencies of mother nature's finest mammals.

Whereupon the Far Cry template is wheeled out wholesale: explore a bit, kill a bit, light a bonfire, collect some stuff, rinse-and-repeat.

It's not all smelly old trousers, however. Because one is at peace with nature, one can tame a few of its beasts which can aid you in matters mentioned above. Your owl has a nifty view of the surroundings and, upon spending skill points, can even take out enemies/animals from above. Takkar gets his second animal-training badge with the bait-and-tame of a big, bad wolf which can even huff, puff and rip apart on the order of his feathered companion. Through gathering and increasing his tribe - the Wenja - Takkar also gets to build a village from scratch once he's gathered the necessary skins, rocks and sticks.

But while the whole Far Cry world has been dismantled and brought back to its most basic elements, it still suffers from the same issue that continues to plague the series: that of repetitiveness and eventual boredom.

Once you've come through the initial excitement of the first few hours and learnt all the skills, Takkar and his grunting chums get pretty old. The story is decent enough to push the gamer through some of this but without significant variation he becomes pretty dull company pretty damned quickly.

There's only so much you can do in a sandbox game if all you're given is sand and a couple of sticks. You need a Tonka truck and some army men as an absolute minimum.