At a glance...

Previewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Release Date Screenshots
Dave Wickham Xbox Ubisoft Ubisoft 1-16 (System Link, Xbox Live), 1-4 (Split-screen) 30/9/2005 Here

GME: Far Cry Instincts preview

This preview is based solely on the multiplayer level available at Games Market Europe.

The success of Crytek's Far Cry, released for the PC last year, has spawned a new Xbox incarnation of the game - but how does it play?

As mentioned earlier, this preview is based off the Xbox multiplayer version available at GME which was running across 4 machines over System Link. This means we won't be able to bring you any storyline details. What we can reveal is that it has a multiplayer experience that fans of Halo's deathmatch will love. As with Halo, you have a set number of weapons you can carry at a time, and are able to swap them for other weapons that you encounter. Each weapon has its own pros and cons - some guns are dual-wield (such as smaller automatics and pistols), allowing you to fire one whilst reloading the other, some smaller weapons can be used when climbing ladders,and, of course, you have the powerful, but oh so noisy heavy machine guns.

In addition to the mobile firearms, there is a selection of stationary turrets available. In the level we played there were only two (a machine gun and what seemed to be a mortar), but crucially they didn't unbalance the power too much - the machine gun had a wide space behind it, where somebody could sneak up and take the operator out, and the mortar had a restricted field of aim, and it was difficult to see people who would otherwise be sitting ducks. When used effectively, as in the map we played, these give a nice variation to the standard weaponry.

As with just about any modern FPS, vehicles are available, but in the particular map that we played they were fairly lacking in the usefulness department. Without integrated weaponry (you could use your own light weapons when driving), and being constrained to water (the only vehicles available were boats and jet skis), they just didn't get used, with players instead opting to walk; why make yourself a hugely visible target for no apparent benefit? (Despite this, Matt often used them, before discovering that they just made him an easy target for me to aim at.) Hopefully some of the other maps will improve upon the vehicle situation, providing land-based vehicles, or integrated firepower. Buggies in particular featured in the PC version, so there is hope for their inclusion.

The map itself was greatly enjoyable to play on; there was a good mix between heavy plant growth, open areas of land and water, and old run-down buildings to keep the gameplay interesting, whilst still being a good size to handle 4 players without making you think "where the hell is everybody?" Hopefully all of the maps are as fun to play on, and Ubisoft didn't just pick the only good one to show off.

Oh, and - of course - there are the graphics. The original Far Cry was praised for its graphics, but being released in 2004 meant that it had a lot more power at its fingertips than it has on the 2001-level technology used on the Xbox. In fact, as impressive as the CryEngine looks it can be too heavy on resources, so for Ubisoft's own Montreal Studio to bring the same kind of visual splendour to the Xbox without slowdown is commendable. Overall, as with its predecessor, Far Cry Instincts does look both impressive and colourful.

All in all, the deathmatch side of Far Cry Instincts looks like it'll be well worth playing - a nice variety of scenery, coupled with Halo-style gameplay - as long as the rest of the multiplayer keeps up the quality. Whether the main story complements this remains to be seen.

A video of Dave playing Far Cry Instincts at Games Market Europe is available (requires XviD codec). You will have to save this to disk before playing.

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