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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Ubisoft

 

Developer

Crytek / Ubisoft Montreal

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

September 27, 2005

 

 

- Dapples of light!
- Good balance between shooting and sneaking
- Multiplayer extends playtime
- Map Editor that people might actually use!
- "Funnelled" but still has plenty of approach options

 

 

- Some save checkpoints are very far apart
- AI that doesn't always fire on all cylinders
- Vehicles feel "floaty" at times

 

 

Review: Breakdown (XB)

Review: Halo 2 (XB)

Review: Hitman Contracts (XB)

Review: Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (XB)

 

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Far Cry Instincts

Score: 8.9 / 10

 

far cry instincts          far cry instincts

 

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

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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

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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 mysteriously napping.

And if they were napping, who could blame them? Far Cry Instincts has some of gaming's best-looking beaches ever.

 

far cry instincts          far cry instincts


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, people!

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.

- Omni
(October 13, 2005)

 

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