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Far-Cry Instincts

01 Oct 2005

Last year, after a long time in development, Crytek Studios bought Far-Cry to the PC and impressed many gamers with the quality AI and detailed graphics. Now Ubisoft is bringing Crytek’s winning debut to the Xbox as Far Cry Instincts, a “reimagining” of the original game with a number of new gameplay elements thrown in for good measure. Considering the detailed, lush jungle environment that the PC version contained, people were slightly sceptical about the console port - but Crytek seem to have sacrificed very little in bringing it to the XBox.

The Instincts’ storyline isn’t all that different from what you saw in the original hit - you are still Jack Carver, marooned on a lush tropical isle and beset by a group of well-trained, heavily armed mercenaries. But the game’s presentation of the original Far Cry story seems to have been modified to provide a slightly different experience that will further flesh out some scenes, from what we’ve seen. For instance, the game’s opening sequence, in which Carver is attacked on his small boat off the coast of the island, is now playable; you’ll actually have to swim away from the wreckage of your boat, dodging a hail of gunfire from a circling chopper, and make it to safety in the jungle. As opposed to the PC original where the gameplay began after Carver had already been cast ashore. Its little details like this that show that Crytech have put a lot of thought into the conversion of the game - and it certainly is appreciated.

As the name implies, many of the differences between Instincts and its PC-based predecessor will stem from the beastly new abilities you’ll gain after Carver is captured and cruelly experimented on by the enemy. Basically he gains animal like instincts and starts turning feral. The abilities ranged from having super-human strength (with which you can tear your foes apart with your bare hands) or having a power-punch that will send him flying to his death. However despite how fun this sounds, you won’t be doing all your killing by hand. There is still a heavy arsenal to be picked-up, including the standard assortment of pistols, assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles, and so on. But it seems as though Instincts has tried to avoid all-out gun battles to a large extent and has a large amount of stealth elements that can often get you through an enemy encounter without making you even pull a trigger. You’ll start out armed with only a knife, which you can use to do a one-hit stealth kill simply by sneaking up behind an enemy and holding the appropriate button. The catch is not to be seen or make too much noise, which often involves crawling and avoiding areas of underbrush that make rustling noises. In stickier situations, it can be handy to toss a stone off ahead of an enemy to get his attention, which made it easier to off him silently. And of course, it’s always convenient to set a tree-branch whip trap and lure an unsuspecting mercenary into it, which is as comical as it is useful. Human mercs are the least of your problems though and as you progress through the game, you’ll find that there are plenty of other things on the island that aren’t natural - with mutant creations from the dodgey laboratory set loose to track you down as well.

The game really does give you that sensation of pure survival with daunting odds - and it looks brilliant whilst doing so. Instincts will also include a robust multiplayer component with full Live support, as well as a level editor that will let you keep the action raging after you’ve grown bored of the included maps.