Xbox owners havenâ€™t been left out in the dark with the latest Far Cry title. Far Cry Instincts Evolution is the latest Jack Carver adventure for the Xbox. The game is more of an expansion pack rather than a sequel, but given the short development time this is to be expected. The game is launching at a budget price point to compensate for this, but is Far Cry Instincts Evolution really an evolution or more of a devolution?
In Far Cry Instincts, as the single player campaign progressed, Jack learnt feral abilities which included the ability to run faster and see further. In the Evolution single player campaign Jack starts off with the feral abilities from the very beginning of the game. This could put a few people off because if you haven't learnt how to use the feral moves from Instincts, then you may have some problems using them effectively.
The storyline is completely different this time and Jack Carver once again finds himself in trouble whilst out on a tropical paradise. Jack meets the beautiful Kade (beautiful women always spell trouble for this guy) who hires him to protect her whilst she is dealing with the local goons. As you expect everything goes wrong and Jack finds himself having to defend himself or die once again. The storyline isn't going to win any medals but it is compelling enough to keep you entertained through the single player campaign.
From the very beginning the Evolution campaign feels very similar to the one found in Instincts but a few things have changed. The environments are a lot more open ended now so the campaign isn't nearly as linear. A lot of the time you will actually need to find your own path through the jungle which is a lot better. The artificial intelligence (AI) has been improved as well although not as much as we'd hoped. If you're shooting at an enemy then they will call for backup and if you stay in the same place for too long then they will hunt you down. However, at times the AI does still make a few stupid decisions which is disappointing.
The multiplayer was a highlight in Instincts and it has been improved upon even more for Evolution. If you prefer to play offline then the game has full split screen support but Xbox Live is a lot of fun. The usual Xbox Live modes have been included but the 'Predator' mode and the new 'Seek and Secure' modes are the most enjoyable and definitely occupy most of our online time.
The predator mode sees a team of soldiers having to make their way across the island whilst a predator tries to hunt them down and kill them. The chosen predator has all of the feral abilities that Jack has during the single payer campaign whilst the soldiers don't have any of these abilities. Even though the numbers are seriously uneven it sometimes still feels like it is just you against the predator. When one of your team mates goes down it is definitely a tense moment. The seek and secure mode is a little different and is a team based mode that requires the player to seek down parts of a map and then keep them secure. It's a bit like capture the flag except with more aspects to capture. There were a lot of people online when we logged on and we can see that Far Cry Instincts Evolution will be a very popular Xbox live title. The map maker mode has appeared yet again and a few small improvements have been made. It is now easier to make a map but if you're not very good at creating maps then there is always the option to download user created maps which helps to keep the experience fresh.
The original Instincts game looked absolutely amazing on the Xbox and Evolution looks relatively similar. However, we did encounter a few frame rate issues when there was a lot happening on the screen, but these were really few and far between. The amount of detail in the island is just amazing at times and the game really doesn't look that downgraded in comparison to the Xbox 360 version which is a huge testament to the team at Ubisoft.
Audio wise the game is very similar to Instincts. The music can be pretty dramatic at times and it does set the scene for what is about to happen. The voicework on the enemies can become a little repetitive after awhile though. The jungle ambience makes the game seem authentic enough although the sound isn't that impressive during the cut scenes which is a little disappointing.
The Evolution campain is a little shorter than the Instincts campain and it only takes about five or six hours to complete the single player adventure. The real value of the game lies in the multiplayer as the seek and secure and predator modes are extremely addictive and there should never be a shortage of people to play against. It would have been good if there was a reason to play through the single player campaign a second time but there is no real reason to return to it after you've finished it the first time.
Far Cry Instincts Evolution isn't quite the evolution we were hoping for. The storyline is different and the game takes place on a different island but the single player campaign isn't really that different. The multiplayer has seen a bit of an upgrade though and the 'Seek and Secure' mode is a lot of fun. If you haven't played the original Instincts then it may be worth trying out that title first so the storyline makes a little more sense and so you know why you've got all the feral powers from the outset. Far Cry Instincts Evolution is highly recommended if you will get value out of the multiplayer or just want another shorter Far Cry campaign, it just hasn't really evolved as much as the namesake indicates.