Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey Review Roundup — What Are The Critics Saying?

We’re certainly not short on new game releases this week, and the reviews for many of these games are already beginning to roll on in. One, Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, is seeing a bit of an indecisive divide, with some outlets praising the survival game while others haven’t been as positive.

In Ancestors, you take control of a clan of apes in 10 million BC Africa and you must try and survive long enough for your lineage to endure until 2 million BC. You do this by eating, drinking, sleeping, reproducing, making mistakes, experimenting, and learning long enough until you can evolve and pass what you’ve acquired onto the next generation. The process is slow and dangerous, with both physical ailments and hungry predators repeatedly getting in your way.

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    Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey launches for PC via the Epic Games Store on August 26. The game is also scheduled to release for Xbox One and PS4 in December. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the reviews that have already gone live for Ancestors, including our own. For a wider look at Ancestors’ critical reception, visit GameSpot’s sister site Metacritic.

    • Game: Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey
    • Developer: Panache Digital Games
    • Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4
    • Release Date: August 27 (December on consoles)
    • Price: $40 USD

    GameSpot — 4/10

    “Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey lingers for far too long on its most toilsome aspects. The game does reward initial experimentation, but then asks you to repeat processes over and over again without any means of securing your legacy. It’s an absolute grind to reach the closest that Ancestors has to an endgame goal–survive for eight million years–and one costly mistake, whether the game’s or your own, can erase everything you’ve accomplished. What small satisfaction the game does provide is consistently ruined by violent predators, though the threat does lessen once you make it far enough into the neurological network’s expansive skill and perk tree. But as it stands, investing in Ancestors’ journey demands too much effort for too little reward.” — Jordan Ramée [Full review]

    PC Gamer — 5.8/10

    “Alas, the lineage of the Chunky Monkeys were wiped out about million years later after losing a few fights and running out of fertile females, and my next two clans didn’t fare much better. Starting Ancestors over again from the beginning is a major drag, having to re-discover every leaf and plant I’ve already long since grown tired of gathering, sniffing, and tasting—not to mention repeating all those endless, ulterior backrubs. I haven’t completed Ancestors yet, but I’ve definitely had enough of it.” — Christopher Livingston [Full review]

    Rock, Paper, Shotgun — No Score

    “I wrote most of this review, then felt maybe I was being too harsh. So I took a break and went back. I wanted to enjoy it. This time I’d play slower, explore a bit, find new foods, new tools and places. For a while I did that, and thought: maybe this is just a game that rewards people with more patience. But it was not long before I was being devoured by a forest lion because of the crap dodge mechanic. That ape was the last primateperson of my lineage, and although I could continue by going back to the main menu and trying again from a checkpoint, I decided to let the future human race die out. In many ways, it was a relief to be so thoroughly digested. Thank you, big cat. You can keep this jungle, I don’t want it.” — Brendan Caldwell [Full review]

    Polygon — No Score

    “Trying to break down Ancestors’ many systems would be a mighty task for a review, and to be honest, I don’t understand enough of them to try, even with about 10 hours’ worth of play under my belt. The strongest motivation I found to try new things was boredom — and I mean that in a flattering way. I could stay near my clan, and eat and drink and sleep as a contented hominid for as long as I’d like, but why would you play any kind of game if you didn’t want to go on an adventure?” — Ben Kuchera [Full review]

    VG247 — No Score

    “Ancestors feels wilfully stubborn. Even after developing my memory neurons, form recognition and sense of smell, my avatar was still forgetting what a dead branch looked like every 50 feet, or the sound of a hissing snake. It doesn’t really feel like it’s about evolution at all, as each generation only remembers the skills you’ve reinforced and will forget the rest, which means you need to repeat the same actions for millions of in-game years. There is a direction of sorts – expand and evolve – but the lack of colour, repetitive noises and actions all blend into one. It’s initially interesting, but its bundle of ideas and systems stumble between clever and stupid, intuitive and clunky. Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey needs more time to evolve.” — Lauren Aitken [Full review]

    IGN — 7/10

    “Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey’s greatest challenge is working out – or simply Googling – how its basic survival, crafting, and combat mechanics work. Once you understand them they become mostly trivial, and the main appeal becomes appreciating the exploration of the huge and lush prehistoric African map. Evolving your tribe’s abilities feels artificially drawn out, but it’s hard not to develop a soft spot for these disposable apes because of their authentic animations.” — Dan Stapleton [Full review]

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