Hey! Itís a Jungle out thereFar Cry
ushered in a whole new level of gaming experience and offered panoramic, large, highly detailed vistas for exploration and general mayhem. That was a while ago now, and the game beat back a lot of competition even then. It introduced an almost free-form, free-roaming exploration element into the large island that reminded many of us of the glory days of Midwinter
and its ilk.
That was on the PC.
Many of us stood up and took notice when Ubisoft
said the words, Far Cry and combined them with Xbox. There was a lot of laughter, scepticism and general finger-pointing until Far Cry: Instincts blasted onto the console and shook the world with its thunderous roar.Is it Far Cry?
One of the things that is immediately obvious about FC:I is that its not just a warmed-over and re-hashed version of Far Cry
this is a whole new game built to spec for the Xbox and it really, really does pull out all the stops.Story
Jack Carver, ex-merc and general all-round womanising tour-guide to the Jacutan Island chain has had things go from bad, to worse. He took a routine trip to the Islands providing transport for a pretty young woman, now heís fallen foul of the Islandsí mercenary force and his boatís been blown into smithereens.
Heís alone, outgunned, outnumbered and in more trouble than heís ever been. Itís the kind of story that wouldnít be amiss in a big Hollywood Action-Blockbuster and the pacing of the game moves it on perfectly.
There are twists and turns, but I will leave you to figure those out since later on in the game Jack runs afoul of the merc commander and learns first hand, about being the hunter and the hunted.Gameplay
FC: I combines adrenaline soaked gameplay, hectic gun battles and impossible, over the top action with slinking, stalking and sneaking around. It tries to give you as much freedom as is possible and lets you play the game your way, if you want to run in guns blazing youíd better be able to keep up with a ruthless and relentless clever enemy force. Or you can become the ultimate hunter, slipping quietly through the trees and laying a number of branch-whip traps. All of this is as simple as tapping a button and switching to trap mode.
When you have your traps lain, throw a rock or make some kind of noise to alert the enemy and if youíre lucky theyíll come looking. A word to the wise, these traps are low-tech and they donít differentiate between friend or foe, so keep an eye to where you placed them or youíll be the one sailing through the air looking for health or lying in a pool of blood on the ground.
Jack begins with a limited amount of equipment and weapons; he can take anything the enemy drop and scrounge up ammo/guns from various hiding places. Heís a fairly responsive character and heís been given a few neat gameplay moves to help with the stealth side of the game.
He can roll over onto his back while in crawl mode, this allows Jack to shoot through floorboards and take out enemies silently (providing you have the right weapon). Of course he has a butterfly knife, which can be used to stealth-kill unsuspecting foes and as a last resort when the ammo runs out.
Dual pistols and sub-machine guns can be wielded at the expense of the usual grenade-lobbing, twin P-90s is truly an amusing sight to behold later on in the game. But no game called Far Cry: Instincts would be complete without the addition of the truly fun FERAL ABILITIES.
Later on in the game Jackís injected with a DNA altering concoction and implanted with a device, this will unlock Feral Abilities as the game progresses. These are things such as night vision, feral speed, tracking by scent and extreme feral strength (Allowing you to rip out emplaced weapons and use them). Jackís own hand-to-hand abilities increase from this and he can unleash a bestial attack that pours on the hurt against his foes and sends them flying backwards for hundreds of feet.
Jack can jump while in feral speed and tapping the attack button at the right time pulls off a two-handed clawed attack, this is really great fun for surprising the mercs and causing them extreme pain.
Feral Abilities draw on adrenaline and the gauge recovers over time, it can be supplemented with pick ups and by stalking unsuspecting prey. Enemies in FC: I have several states of awareness and the minimal HUD shows this on the mini-map with various coloured dots.
Accessing Feral Abilities is as simple as hitting the Y button or holding it down, the system is quick and easy to use allowing you to focus on the action.
The game is sprinkled with a liberal array of weapons from silenced pistols, to heavy rocket launchers, shotguns and assault rifles. Thereís even the Sniper Rifle for those people that prefer the long-distance kill approach. Claymores and Grenades make up the alternative arsenal and as previously mentioned, Jack has unlimited branch-whip traps for the stealth approach.
Not content with offering a huge island to explore, albeit with level loads between certain sections (parts of the game) Ubisoft have helpfully sprinkled the large areas with vehicles to help you traverse the earlier sections of the game. There are water based vehicles such as the Jetski and Motor Boat, along with Hovercraft, Humvees and Jeeps for the ground (Thereís even a Hang-Glider for those who can track it down). Each vehicle handles differently and some of the sections require you to elude/evade enemy forces while under constant harassment from the air.
So to sum it up, FC: Iís gameplay is a mix of on-foot hell-fest battles, sneaking, vehicular mayhem and super-human animal abilities. Itís like being Riddick crossed with a Wolf or Panther.