notified of site updates. Sign-up for the Newsletter sent out
E-Mail Address Below:
Score: 8.9 / 10
I would love to begin a review the same way
Far Cry Instincts begins -- with some profanity, gorgeous shots of an
island paradise, then a big explosion followed by a quick swim.
Unfortunately, the Armchair Empire lacks a sufficient budget for such
frills. Instead we have to stick with a bunch of words strung together,
often without the necessary punctuation or any adherence to the arcane
and ancient art of Grammar, that meanders for a hundred words (or so) as
we try to appear coherent and draw the reader to actually take a look at
more than just the review score.
You play as Jack Carver, a man with a troubled past hiding from the New
York mob. Always eager to make a buck, he takes a charter to a group of
islands the locals
stay away from. After the explosive
opening, it becomes apparent that a psycho doctor, Dr. Krieger, is
conducting some "interesting" experiments. It's not long until Jack
becomes a subject of these experiments and he develops some extremely
primal (and powerful) moves that complement the arsenal of weapons
available on the island such as shotguns, automatic pistols and, what
has become a Far
Cry trademark, long range sniper rifles.
The sniper rifles to an excellent job conveying the size of each area.
Distances feel sufficiently long though not quite as long as the PC
original, which is much more "open" with much less "go that way, dummy,"
than is found in Instincts, which has a decidedly funnelled design. But
don't take that to mean Instincts plays like its on rails. Most areas
feel "organic" to some extent because you can approach a given situation
a number of ways and meet with success. Rig very deadly looking trip
lines throughout a forested area, get the attention of your enemies then
sprint back into the forest and listen to the anguished cries of your
pursuers? Grab an ATV and drive like hell? Or quietly crawl on your
belly through the underbrush and make opportunistic kills with a
silenced weapon? There's a lot of choice.
Played like a straight-up action game, Far Cry Instincts will almost
certainly kill you. Mixing up stealth -- shooting guys through gaps in a
floor is sweet -- and action allows for equal parts suspense and
adrenaline. The developers also mix in a few cinematic touches -- all
played out from Jack's point-of-view, like Breakdown -- that really
helps to progress the overall plot. When it all works, it definitely
feels cinematic, even when it isn't a cutscene. When it misfires, it's
just annoying. The chief culprit is enemy AI that spouts the same lines
again and again.
The behavior of the enemy AI is actually good, to a certain extent.
They'll take cover and/or use grenades to flush you out into the open,
but they still have problems recognizing dangerous situations, like
ambush points that might have four or five bodies littering the area but
enemies continually walk to the area to investigate why everyone is
And if they were napping, who could blame them? Far Cry Instincts has
some of gaming's best-looking beaches ever.
The graphics engine powering Far Cry Instincts makes most everything
look extremely good (with only a couple instances of choppiness or
slowdown). The only time it doesn't feel particularly immersive is when
you're lying or crouching in the undergrowth and the blurry textures of
leaves gets in your way. But I swear, if they had a better leaf
rendering engine in place, complete with foliage extensions, this would
be one of the best looking games available for the Xbox. I mean, they
even went out of their way to include dapples of light. Actual dapples,
As good as the single-player story mode is, with its vehicles, stealth
and cool feral abilities, Far Cry Instincts also comes packed with a
full complement of multiplayer options: Chaos and Team Chaos are
basically deathmatch modes; Steal the Sample is a lot like Capture the
Flag; and Predator. By far my favorite is Predator that casts one player
as a predator with maxed out feral capabilities and the rest as
gun-toting mercenaries attempting to cross the Predator's territory to
activate a sonic alarm. It's actually a lot of fun.
If that weren't enough to keep Far Cry Instincts in heavy rotation on
your "Currently Playing" list, it also comes with a Map Editor. It's
biggest attraction is that it's not a complete waste of time. Map
Editors on PC games tend to be way too cumbersome for anyone not
entirely dedicated to the task of creating a map. Though Far Cry
Instincts streamlines the process somewhat, it operates with a distinct
disadvantage: no mouse or keyboard. While it will still take come level
of dedication to create a unique map using the Xbox controller, it's
still easier than most PC games.
Without a doubt, first-person shooter fans will be satiated with Far Cry
Instincts' mix of action and stealth. It's not quite as open-ended as
its PC brother, some of the auto-save checkpoints feel too far apart
(forcing many replays of tough areas), and some of the vehicles feel "floaty"
but there's too much here to simply ignore. And in this reviewers
opinion it meets or exceeds Halo 2 in every category.