Jack is back

A new shiny white next generation console and there are opportunities galore to pump it full of shiny new franchises, of course there's also the opportunity to give the console some old franchises with advanced graphics and better design. Enter the new Far Cry, UbiSoft have pimped this game rather well and I was curious to see how the 360 version of a Games Xtreme 9.0 game held up to the Xbox counterpart.

Far Cry: Instincts review on Xbox

So when you've read that, you know about Far Cry and I don't need to really cover the first game all that much, apart from to explain a few differences here and there.

Far Cry: Instincts Predator delivers the first chapter as well as a new chapter in the ongoing story, and while the first chapter is faithful to the original this next Evolutions chapter is really quite dull compared to it.

The first chapter

If you have an Xbox and you've played the normal version of the first chapter, then it's probably best that you get the next chapter on that. If you've never played the first chapter and you're looking for an introduction into Far Cry on console, have a 360 and feel like some decent FPS action with stealth elements then the 360 version of the game is the one for you.

I can say right from the start that Predator delivers much better graphic resolutions than its predecessor but, and this is a pretty big but, most of this seems to be concentrated in the water effects and the water itself. One could argue that the game actually is an advanced water simulator rather than a FPS, but that might be considered a little too unkind.

Some of the original chapter's levels, or rather environments have been tweaked/altered from the original and take advantage of the 360's higher frame rates and better ability to draw out distant terrain. Apart from that it is really a port of the first chapter and plays exactly the same, with the AI performing about the same as it did in the Xbox version.

Predator - Evolutions?

So what's really new, what's at the core of this two-games-in-one edition of the game?

Well, Jack has his feral powers still from the first chapter and he's now been contacted by a mysterious woman known as Kade, it all tumbles rather incoherently down the side of a mountain from then on however - since the great story and coherency of the first title is not mirrored in Evolutions at all.

Evolutions plays in a similar manner to the first part of the game, introducing a few new weapons like a blowpipe for stealth attacks and a pipe bomb, useful for laying traps and remotely detonating someone's day.

It also gives you a taste of the original PC game style gameplay by allowing you to roam around and do multiple objectives, skipping from one island location to the other as much as you like, so in that respect it is pretty neat.

Multiplayer is back and the original game modes make a welcome return, complimenting the fun singleplayer experience, which is a good thing since if they stood on their own I don't think they'd have been as much fun. New to this version is a mode known as Seek and Secure and is similar to King of the Hill or Capture and Hold types of MP game that were prevalent in a lot of early titles.

Map makers will also be pleased to hear that the map editor, tweaked and tuned, is back for the 360 version and has a lot of the initial bugs fixed to boot. This powerful tool allows you to construct your own maps and share them with other users, giving the game a much longer shelf life.

There isn't much in the way of improved graphics, the water is gorgeous and the rest kind of reminds me of the first game in a much higher resolution, so it didn't really grab me as much as I thought it would. The trees and lightning effects are nice and that's about all I can add.

The AI in the game resembles the Xbox version as far as I can tell, it doesn't seem to be as improved as the hype suggested it would be and compared to Ubi's other AI strong titles it falls a bit flat at times, ruthless one moment and hideously stupid the next.

Final thoughts

I can't say I was overly mind-blowingly impressed with the game, it's good, but it could have been a real flagship title for the 360 had it not come out on the Xbox first, the result is that you get the first game, flawless network and LIVE play along with what amounts to an expansion pack - great if you've never played Far Cry, but since you can't play Evolutions until you complete Far Cry, not so great if you dislike replaying old levels and games again.

It's a good game, the audio is very solid like the original and the whole package is worth it if you have to choose between an Xbox or a 360 version, but that's about it, the rest is as they say left up to a dedicated 360 game in the series to make a debut on Microsoft's next-gen console and wow the gamer audience.