Farcry Instincts Predator Xbox 360 Review
Two for the price of one always sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it? And with Farcry Instincts Predator that’s just what you ge; both Farcry Instincts and its expansion pack Evolution are included as part of the package. Both are great games on the Xbox, but are two Xbox ports for the price of a 360 game such a good deal?
Ubisoft have made a few improvements to the games whilst bringing them over from the Xbox – no small thing considering they were amongst some of the best-looking games to grace Microsoft’s big black box. The improvements are few and far between, the most obvious of which being the water effects. On the PC and Xbox, Farcry‘s water effects were some of the best ever seen, but taking the game into the next generation has given us some truly beautiful water – easily the best seen in a video game to date. Unfortunately the rest of the game’s graphical improvements (or at least what’s there of them) are nowhere near as impressive. The character models for the game’s main players have all got much more detailed skins, but you only really get to appreciate it in the game’s cut scenes. You can now look down the front of Kade’s dress as she seduces you in the bar and get some very realistic looking cleavage. The only other real improvement is the move to high definition for everything. Regular character models and the background seem to have little changed, and things that should have been improved but weren’t and are painfully obvious. The fire effects are foremost amongst the neglected effects, looking no better than they did on the Xbox – if anything it highlights the differences that are possible with the jump in generations. Sadly what this all means is you have a game that comes over as a lazy port. What little improvements they have made to Farcry just don’t cut it as a next generation game.
Like the graphical side of the games, little has changed in the gameplay from the original Xbox games giving us a couple of extremely solid first person shooters. But whilst you can play through the Instincts storyline from the start, Evolution‘s story is locked until you have completed the Instincts story. This may be a little frustrating for those who have played the original Instincts game and want to jump straight in to the Evolution story, but a quick look on the internet will allow you to play it without completing Instincts first.
As before, Instincts follows the story of how Jack Carver lost his boat and gained his Feral powers, whilst Evolution continues his story with an opportunity to replace his boat that brings him into a war against an army of Ferals like himself. Apart from the differences in story, gameplay is pretty much the same for both games – solid FPS action with some nice vehicle action and with the feral super powers you get some killer melee moves. The only real difference between the two gameplay wise is the feral powers. In Instincts you start with none and gain them throughout the game – strength, speed, feral vision and healing powers are given to you one at a time. In Evolution you start off with all the powers you ended Instincts with, but do get another during the game: the power to climb certain surfaces that can only be spotted using feral vision. This adds a bit of a puzzle element to the gameplay. As you progress further in to the game you are faced with seemingly impassable areas, but through climbing and well timed jumps you can make it through. As well as an extra feral power in Evolution, you also get a new weapon, the blowgun. You get hold of this when you come in to contact with the enemy feral army. The blowgun fires poison darts that take away feral powers temporarily. When used against you it can be a right pain, but in your hands is very handy indeed. The gameplay may be the same as the Xbox versions, but unfortunately the controls don’t seem quite as responsive – another sign of a lazy port. It mainly affects your crouch control and although inconvenient, it doesn’t really detract too much from the game.
As with the single player, the multiplayer is combination of the two games; you get all the game modes from Evolution which are mainly takes on ‘death match’, ‘capture the flag’ and ‘king of the hill’. In addition, there is ‘predator mode’ where up to four players can play as ferals and take out the rest before they can activate the sonic alarm. You get all the maps from both games to play in all game modes, so that’s plenty of variety from the start, and then there’s the map maker – the best of it’s kind in a game yet, so with a bit of imagination and work you have a limitless supply of maps to play over. The only downside to the online multiplayer is the same as it was with the Xbox versions of the game, although the game supports 16 players it only runs properly with 8 players. Unless whoever is playing all have top-of-the-range broadband connections, the game just can’t support the player count it purports to.
Again Ubisoft have duplicated the Xbox original on the audio front, but unlike the visual side of things it doesn’t detract from the overall experience. You get some top notch voice acting with Hollywood heavyweight Steven Dorff heading the cast. Along with that, the sound effects are great, the guns and vehicles sound realistic and the ambient sound adds to the atmosphere. Be it the middle of the jungle or in a shanty town, if you close your eyes you can almost imagine yourself there. This is all topped off with suitably stirring background music when you get to key moments in the gameplay. All in all you get one very nice sounding game.
With the single player game weighing in at around 20 hours for both stories you have a reasonable chunk of gameplay to start with. That combined with the near limitless possibilities the game’s map maker provides you with in multiplayer mode means you’ve got plenty of gameplay here for your money that will last you for a good while.
At the end of the day what you have here are just slightly improved versions of the Xbox games and whilst this is still an extremely solid game, it hasn’t taken the game to the level the next generation platform could have achieved. This is only really recommended if you haven’t played the Xbox games or don’t have access to an Xbox. If you do have an Xbox, get the originals instead – it’s the same game at a cheaper price. If you want a solid FPS for your 360 and you haven’t or can’t play the game on the Xbox then it’s worth a rental at least.
7.8 out of 10