XBOX REVIEW: FAR CRY: INSTINCTS

Genuinely excited about playing this game, I rushed home from the store, and rammed it into my Xbox. All excited at Ubisoft's latest, hopefully, masterpiece. I love Splinter Cell, and Ghost Recon, and I thought this would be a happy medium of the two. It's not even thirty seconds in and it's annoying me.

The thing is, when I buy a game, I like a big, exciting opening. All I got with Farcry is an advertisement for the game. I've bought the game; give me something that's going to get me buzzing, please? The graphical quality isn't as good as I've seen Ubisoft produce before. I could swear the environment rendering is taken from the Ghost Recon engine, it's so similar. It's not just that, the brightness, although it does make a nice change from the usual brown and khaki setup that most FPS use these days which can be extremely annoying. In some places the light mapping is so bad you end up staring at something that is probably capable of burning out your retinas if you look long enough. The video sequences are all shot in first person. This aides the game in some aspects, (complete the training level, and the game really comes to life!) In other places, it looks poor, and unprofessional. But this is my first impression, and I'm about to get a royal kick in the pants…

The game play is magnificent. Its fun, it's refreshing, it's a bloody good laugh in multiplayer. Forget your usually, 'super serious hero,' Jack Carver is out to pound, shoot, swipe, and run over what ever and who ever, he can. The bright and colourful graphics really come into their own here, making the game more fun to play than any FPS I've played in a long time. The enemy A.I. is good. It could be better, and the descriptions on the box and in the manual promise you some sort of uber-intelligent A.I. it's not quite that, but it's not your average no-brainer either.

The weapons set up is original, and easy to use, with the ability to duel wield some weapons. Armour and health are almost always readily available, and the incorporation of these into the multiplayer modes makes for much more exciting and sustained game play. My only gripe is the grenades. They're useless, and I find myself having to rely on lucky shots, rather than tactical usage.

The level maps are huge, although in some areas extremely linear. This is the games weakest point. It feels as though Ubisoft couldn't be bothered. They have designed and made these huge, beautiful, and intensely playable maps, and made them so linear, they needn't have bothered. This and the appalling vehicle control system, are slowly going to grate on me for a little while, I can feel it.

That is until I'm racing through the jungle in a hum-vee, trying to escape the helicopter that's launching missiles at me like there's no tomorrow! I was howling with pleasure as I leapt over the gap in the bridge, engine roaring. I was screaming in pain when I hit a tree. I loved the game. Ubisoft have saved themselves once again by injecting high octane adrenaline rushes at unexpected moments.

Now on to the serious stuff, the upper body movement looks poor in multiplayer mode, the 'predator' mode is a little too much in some multiplayer games. One of the things that struck me is the similarity to the 'insane' mode in 'The Suffering.' The predator is too similar for this to be coincidence, and that bugs me. Games producers should be coming up with original ideas, not regurgitating the same old stuff. That's not to say multiplayer isn't a laugh. It had me in stitches all night long, and saved me from taking this game back to the store. The one thing that really kills it is Ubisoft's track record for lag. This hasn't been broken, seemingly adhering to the same problems with Ghost Recon, and Splinter Cell. Over eight people in a room and you can expect some, sometimes, game devastating problems. That doesn't make it all bad though. If you enjoy FPS online games, you're sure to love this. Just make sure your connection speeds jacked right up! Another winning point of the multiplayer mode is the map editing. The possibilities here are endless, and with enough patience some real killer maps can be produced and shared with your mates.

With it's cheesy American one liners (think, 'yippee ki-ya' from Diehard and you're on the right tracks!) it's intriguing storyline, it's amazingly beautiful graphics, and it's fun, 'blast away' game play, I think Farcry: Instincts is worth buying, but if I where you, I'd wait for it to drop down in price a little first. It's good, but it's not worth £34.99. Over all, I enjoyed this game immensely, and it's only the little things that get annoying. If you can over look those, and the fact they could have been fixed during the port process, this game will give any honest FPS fan hours of pleasure. It's built in map editor is sure to make its multiplayer mode hours of endless fun for anyone.

Preview by Vaughn

While many gamers thought it couldn't be done and was silly to try, Ubi Soft announced today that Far Cry Instincts will ship for both the PS2 & Xbox in September 2005.

Purveyors of all things FPS on the PC, will most likely be familiar with the game, as it's wide open lush tropical enviroments ushered in a new era of insane PC visuals that graphic hounds ate up. Oh and the gameplay kicked serious ass too.

Ubi Soft's Montreal studio is already underway on the development of the title which promises to be a spectacle of dazzling visuals not yet seen on the aging PS2. While the Xbox has been known to push a few polygons around, critics have been naysaying the project almost from the beginning due to speculation that the current generation of consoles couldn't handle such a visual feast. We'll see about that.

A hands-on demo of Far Cry Instincts will be present at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) May 18th – May 20th in Los Angeles, California so stay tuned for more.

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System: Xbox
Dev: Ubisoft
Pub: Ubisoft
Release: Sept 2005
Players: 1
Review by Hazel
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
3.0
CONTROL
5.0
MUSIC/FX
3.0
ONLINE
4.0
VALUE
2.0