Far Cry Instincts Xbox
Published by Ubisoft
Developed by Crytek
Release Date: Out Now
Far Cry Instincts, an introduction.
Whilst many FPS games on the PC arrive on a tidal wave of hype (which usually isn't justified) and turn out to be distinctly average, Far Cry arrived without a fanfare and turned out to be a great game which proved to be very popular. With the game being popular it was only a question of time before the game would arrive on other platforms. With the current generation of consoles though, only the Xbox was capable of looking anywhere near as good as what was a superb looking PC FPS.
What's the game about?
Far Cry Instincts puts you in the shoes of Jack Carver, a former employee of the Navy who now takes tourists on boat tours. Jack has been hired by Val Cortez to take her out to the Jacutan islands so that she can take some pictures for her editor. She wants to get in closer but Jack doesn't like the idea as the island is known for all kinds of problems. Regardless of Jack's misgivings, Val jumps into a small dinghy and heads for a closer inspection of the islands. Not long after, with Val still not returned, Jack's boat comes under attack and Jack only just manages to jump overboard as the boat is turned into a pile of splinters. Jack's by himself and armed with only a knife and the islands are full of militia. Needless to say it's going to be tough to survive, let alone find Val.
What's good about the game?
Rather than simply port over the original PC version, Crytek have redone the game and it's a decision that's paid handsome dividends. If anything the Xbox version is a more complete game. Not content with simply providing an excellent single player story, Crytek have added comprehensive multiplayer options as well as a mission editor (and it's fully featured too which is something you don't often see in a console game) that allows you to create maps for online and offline play. The game is an exquisite mix of stealth and FPS action that's enjoyable from start to finish. You have a nice range of firearms in Far Cry Instincts but you also have the ability to set branch whip traps that spring out and take out unsuspecting enemies. Later in the game Jack will obtain some feral abilities that will give him temporary supernatural powers. Obviously it would be difficult to discuss these in detail without spoiling the story but suffice to say they increase his ability to spot enemies, increase his speed, strength and regeneration abilities. They don't spoil the game and help to make things more interesting. The multiplayer options are split-screen, System Link and Xbox Live. You have a choice of 4 games, Chaos, Team Chaos, Steal the Sample and Predator. Chaos is basically a deathmatch game, likewise for Team Chaos. Steal the Sample is a capture the flag variant (with a sample replacing the flag of course) and is a team game. Predator puts one player as the predator and the other players as mercenaries. The mercenaries have to travel through the predator's territory and activate an alarm which will kill the predator. Of course the predator has to prevent them from doing so and to assist him he will have the full set of feral abilities. All of these modes work very well, although as always, deaf gamers will have to contend with the fact that it's voice communications only.
What's not so good about the game?
With stealth being a key element in the game there really should be some kind of gauge that shows you how much noise you're making. Hearing gamers will not need one of course because they'll be able to take advantage of the game's sound to determine whether they are being stealthy enough but deaf gamers would definitely have benefited from such an inclusion. Some gamers might not like the checkpoint save system although in fairness this is the save method that 99%of console games employ and it was used in the PC version of Far Cry. Most of the time this checkpoint system works fine, however there are a few instances where it makes for a frustrating experience.
How does it look?
I expect many people were expecting a console version of Far Cry to look quite poor when compared to the PC version. However, Far Cry Instincts looks absolutely great and can easily be regarded as one of the best looking games on the console. Once again we have the lush tropical environments that the series is known for and they look fantastic. The frame rate throughout the game is mostly excellent and although dips occur they are fairly minor occurrences. In fact all things considered Far Cry Instincts is a very polished product.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Far Cry on the PC wasn't very deaf gamer friendly but thankfully Crytek have included the option to enable subtitles in Far Cry Instincts. With the subtitles enabled you'll be able to enjoy the game's storyline and understand exactly what's going on. Tutorial tips are shown in text so you'll find it easy to get to grips with the game. Objectives are shown in text and can be recalled at any time. You're also notified in text when you've reached a checkpoint and when the game has been saved. The radar uses colour coded dots to show you enemies that haven't noticed you (green dots), investigating enemies (yellow dots), threatened NPCs (orange dots), alerted enemies (red dots), objectives (blue dots) and friendly NPCs (white dots), which is excellent.
Far Cry Instincts is quite simply the best FPS we've seen on the Xbox this year. The single player game is excellent even though it feels quite different from the PC version of Far Cry. The multiplayer options are impressive too and the mission editor is simply the icing on the cake. Far Cry Instincts is also much more deaf gamer friendly that the PC version of Far Cry which is another bonus. It may have been a fairly long wait for the Far Cry series to arrive on the Xbox but the wait has been well worth it as this is quite possibly the best FPS on any console that we've seen since Halo 2.
Overall Game Rating: 9.1/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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Far Cry Instincts is simply excellent and the best FPS you'll see on the Xbox this year.