Far Cry Instincts was released on the Xbox in September 2005 and earned a place as one of the best first-person shooters on the system. Some six months later the game has returned, this time on the Xbox 360, accompanied by an additional 'Evolution' campaign and the new title of Far Cry Instincts Predator. While neither campaign is exclusive to the Xbox 360 (Evolution was released for the Xbox on the same day as Predator hit the 360), the improvements made to visuals are reason enough to choose this over the Xbox games.
Newcomers to the Instincts series might not be aware that it's an entirely different story to that of original Far Cry on the PC. While Jack Carver, the original game's main character, returns, and the tropical island setting remains, the story doesn't have any relation to the original game. Instincts' most obvious difference comes from 'Feral' abilities, and after an opening couple of hours that play like a traditional FPS, all hell breaks loose.
After being drugged, captured and experimented on by the island's evildoers, Jack is placed in a steel crate and left wondering what has gone on. Feeling a little strange he smashes through the steel door with his bare hands, and then continues on his one-man mission to get off the island alive. Over the next few hours you'll learn about numerous enhanced abilities that give Jack an advantage over his enemies. These range from increased strength, to special vision that allows him to locate enemies even when they are out of sight.
Combat is incredibly satisfying, with weapons packing a real punch, and they're made even more deadly when dual wielded (the L and R triggers firing each weapon). Every weapon has its use, and enemies react just as you'd want them to - one shot in the head and they go down, while a short burst of fire to the chest will do the same. Some, not so human, enemies take more sustained fire-power, but they still don't feel artificially resistant to gun-fire. Thanks to your new abilities you can also get in close and use your fists. One punch to the chest of an enemy will send him flying, and various objects in the environment can be used as weapons - even gun turrets can be ripped out of the floor and used like a normal gun in the final few levels of the game.
'One punch to the chest of an enemy will send him flying...'
And there's even more to the combat. You've got the usual assortment of grenades, un-manned gun turrets, vehicles and their mounted weapons, and even traps. Jack can set up tree branches that violently whip enemies if they get too near. To make this more likely to happen you can throw rocks near the trap, making the enemy search the area and then trigger the trap. It will result in instant death and comes in handy when you want to preserve some ammo - not that this is usually an issue.
Vehicles are used fairly frequently, and these sections are usually pretty action-packed and fast paced. Humvees, ATVs, Jet skis and more are used during the game, and once you start screaming down a dirt track or a seemingly tranquil river, you can almost guarantee an onslaught of enemies will arrive right on cue. While enemies will shoot at you, many vehicle sections are semi-scripted, with helicopters firing just wide, resulting in plenty of lovely dramatic explosions, but no real danger. It's all great fun, even if the vehicle control (with throttle, break and steering all on one analogue stick) can be a little tricky at times.
The 'Evolution' campaign is locked from the start, requiring you to finish 'Instincts' in order to access it. This would have been extremely annoying for anyone who had already played Instincts on the original Xbox, had it not been for a cheat code that opens up the campaign from the start. The campaign itself is more of the same, but gives you Feral abilities from the start and introduces a new Feral Climb move. It makes sense that you'd have these abilities from the off, but it results in a campaign that feels rather samey.
In Instincts half the fun was moving through the game and learning new abilities as you progressed. Handing them to you on a plate from the start makes the campaign weaker as a result. There are a few new additions to your arsenal, such as remotely triggered pipe bombs, but it's really the same kind of action you'll have played throughout Instincts. It's also rather short, and feels rather underdeveloped compared to Instincts. Still, it's hard to complain when both games are included on a single Xbox 360 disc.
Enemy AI is rather hit and miss in both campaigns. If you're spotted by a soldier he'll often call out for support and hurt enemies will retreat to try and get to a better position, but at other times they seem plain dumb. If you're firing from a distance and aren't hitting an enemy, he'll remain totally oblivious, carrying on his regular stroll up and down the shoreline, finally jumping to attention when a bullet grazes his arm. Stealth kills also seem rather too simple, with enemies fixed in one direction, almost oblivious to what is behind them, almost begging to be taken down.