09 Apr, 2006

Far Cry Instincts Predator Review

360 Review | When two become one.
When Far Cry was released for the original Xbox last year it was an enjoyable game that was hindered by average AI and linear environments. The Xbox hardware seemed to have held back the team at Ubisoft from creating the immersive single player adventure we found in the PC version in 2004. Far Cry Instincts Predator is more like two games in one, the game includes an updated version of the Xbox game from last year as well as the newer single player Evolution campaign which can be found in Far Cry Evolution for the original Xbox. So with the extra power and the added development time is this the ultimate Far Cry game or are there still improvements to be made?

The original single player campaign needs to be played through to unlock the evolution campaign. The game is more of a retelling of the PC version’s storyline and players take control of Jack Carver, a retired special forces soldier. Things begin much the same way as in the PC version, Jack is at work on a boat trip with a female client in the middle of a tropical paradise. Unfortunately for Jack, his latest client isn’t what she seems. He begrudgingly lets her take a jet-ski for a closer look around the island and takes a nap until she gets back. Time passes and Jack is awoken from his sleep by a loud noise. Suddenly, a helicopter blows the sailboat out of the water, Jack swims to shore, and the fight for survival and answers begins. Jack doesn’t actually know it but the remote Pacific Island is a mad scientists testing ground where he is creating human-animal hybrids.

A beautiful setting to kill people in.

A beautiful setting to kill people in.
The game also contains feral powers that see Jack’s abilities increase throughout the campaign. For example as you evolve you can smell enemy scents and run at high speeds. The feral powers are definitely a great addition in the game and one of the highlights of the campaign.

The main complaint we’d have with the redone single player campaign is that not much has changed at all since the version we played six months ago. The original campaign is still very linear and it would have been good if the game didn’t hold your hand through the campaign so much. Even though you’re on a tropical paradise with vast land it never really feels like you’re fully exploring the island. The AI still hasn’t been improved either which means that they will often make some dumb decisions that feel so unrealistic. At one point during the campaign I actually had an opponent get stuck on the table and move around in circles; and unfortunately it doesn’t appear that it was a defensive move.

Having said that though, the Instincts single player mode is relatively varied and throughout the campaign you’ll get to use vehicles and even go on hang gliders. Vehicle control is done with the analog stick which takes a bit of getting used too, but it works surprisingly well once you get the hang of it. The game also contains pre-scripted events throughout the campaign so as you’re driving through the dirt track a tree might fall over and even though it doesn’t make the game play any different it does make the action a little more intense and it definitely looks better.

Once you finish the Instincts storyline you will unlock the Evolution campaign which is only about half as long. The new campaign features a completely different storyline. This time Jack Carver meets Kade who is a woman who hires him to act as a gun man for a deal she has going on. Things go wrong and once again Jack finds himself on the run from all sorts of opponents. Jack can use the feral powers from the very beginning of the game so the action intensifies immediately. Evolution also includes some new weapons which include Molotov cocktails.

The single player campaign in Instincts was tediously linear and the developers have tried to fix this and have succeeded for the most part. There are more wide open environments, especially near the start of the game for example where you're given 3 different islands each containing an objective and it's up to you to do them in whichever order you want to. The AI appears to have been improved a little as well; at least an opponent didn’t jump on a table this time to defend himself. Whilst the Evolution campaign is shorter I personally found it a lot more enjoyable as a single player campaign mainly because you start with the feral abilities immediately and the level design isn’t so strictly linear.

Reminds us a bit of LOST..

Reminds us a bit of LOST..
The single player takes a bit of a back step to the multiplayer though which is definitely the highlight of the package. There are five multiplayer game types in comparison to the four that Instincts had. Chaos, Team Chaos, Predator and Steal the Sample all return and are accompanied by a new mode called Seek and Secure. The objective in Seek and Secure is to take hold of a position and retain the position for a set amount of time. It’s a decent multiplayer mode but not exactly revolutionary. The map editor is back in full force and it has had a few tweaks. There are a few new objects and it is now a little easier to undo mistakes. The map editor allows you to upload your maps online as well which means there is nearly an endless supply of maps to battle on.

Far Cry Instincts on the original Xbox looked absolutely amazing so we were expecting some pretty special things from the Xbox 360 version. Unfortunately though the graphics aren’t really that different from last year’s version, in fact Far Cry Instincts Predator really only feels like a high definition version of the original Xbox game. Those with big screens will benefit most in the increased resolution, but you’d be hard pushed to see much difference on smaller TV’s. The game does still look good though with the lush Island environments looking amazing at times but it would have been good if the game looked just a little better. The water effects are simply amazing though and are the best we’ve ever seen, while the framerate is much steadier compared to before.

Just like in last year’s incarnation the audio is great and very atmospheric. At times you’ll have some problems hearing the speech because you’re in the middle of killing someone but this isn’t too much of a concern. The music becomes particularly intense during certain parts of the game which serve as a warning that you’re about to be bombarded.

The Instincts storyline takes about ten hours to complete and the Evolution campaign can be finished in about five hours so there is a lot of game play in the game. However this doesn’t include the multiplayer which easily doubles the lifespan of this game. In fact, most of the Xbox 360 achievements have to be unlocked online, which is could be a bit of a disappointment if you prefer to play on your lonesome. There were a lot of people online and with the map editor and varied multiplayer modes we can safely say that this game will be very popular online for quite a while yet.

Ever wanted an Island holiday?

Ever wanted an Island holiday?
Far Cry Instincts Predator is an enjoyable package that provides a lot of value. The two campaigns are varied and the multiplayer should keep most people compelled for a long time. However, there aren’t that many Xbox 360 enhancements, the graphics are better and the sound is a little more improved but the differences aren’t as large as we’d hoped. Far Cry Instincts Predator is the only Far Cry game that works on the Xbox 360 and is really the all in one package.
The Score
Far Cry Instincts Predator isn't a huge upgrade from the Xbox games but if you want to play the game on your Xbox 360 then this is the all in one package.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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8 years ago
I am a massive fan of the Far Cry series.

This game alone is almost tempting me to get a 360 rather than wait a little while.

8 years ago
The same applies for me too, although I think I will wait until the release of Test Drive Unlimited nears before I make the purchase of the console and this game.
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