When you're crawling on your belly through thick undergrowth to stab an Indonesian pirate in the back, and he spots you - so you turn your Evolutions on and punch him fifty feet in the air before having a quick coo at the astounding scenery - that's when you know you're playing Far Cry. Or having a peyote-inspired flashback to 'Nam, depending on your age and history.
Far Cry started out as a tech demo for Crytek's Cry engine way back in '99, that wowed audiences at E3. It was turned into a lush, harder than nails shooter for PC and then made even more B-movie for Xbox. Included in this pack are Xbox 360 versions of two full games; the original Far Cry Instincts from Xbox and its sequel Next Chapter, the original game evolved with an all-new cast of characters and weaponry and lots of cool stuff!
The first Xbox Far Cry had you play as ex-marine and ship's captain Jack Carver. While escorting a ladyfriend around some tropical islands she's captured and you're injected with a serum by a mad scientist that turns you into a ravening beast. (Jerry Bruckheimer must really be kicking himself he didn't write that script.) Then you run around, leaving a bodycount bigger than Rambo in your wake, kill the baddie and save the girl. We just love a happy ending.
VIETNAM VETS IN PRACTICE
Now on Xbox, Far Cry: Instincts had exactly two points that distinguished it from Super generic Shooter 3000; its astoundingly gorgeous, massive locations and Jack Carver's mutated drug-crazed rampages, like a peyote-soaked Martin Sheen from Apocalypse Now. The question is: how well have these been translated to the Xbox 360?
We have to say; visually, the scaling up from Xbox is abysmal. We suspect Far Cry has been run through the same Xbox360'omatic as King Kong, because it's not a looker.
Not that it's not impressive; no, the scale, the size of the milieu is astounding and from a distance it's postcard-gorgeous - all blue skies, hillsides in the middle distance you know you can climb, and endless oceans stretching to the horizons. You feel like you could happily retire to a place like this; squint and it's paradise. Then a character walks across the screen and OHMIGOD WHAT HAPPENED TO ITS FACE? Low-poly count, grimly
stretched faces, low-res textures; it looks like a reject from the early days of The Moomins. On the Xbox, Far Cry wasn't exactly cutting edge but this is blunter than a Northern comedian. The unconvincing animation doesn't help, as goons ice-skate over the surface of the world.
BRAINS OF STEEL!
They also seem to have forgotten to update the AI to deal with the higher resolutions afforded by big tellies. Don't get us wrong, at short range, the enemies are good, pinning you down with fire, while others lap round to encircle you or throwing grenades to flush you out of cover - though we have to admit they blew themselves up more often than us. They even use cover well, and the perpetual hail of bullets is particularly damaging; you're no superhuman (not until you get your Evolution powers, at least) close up.
Yet at long range, only the snipers seem to be any good and all they have to do is sit there. All the rest fail to notice you until you shoot one in the head, at which point he charges at you shooting - or, if he's one of the drugged-up natives, leaps and charges you and tries to punch you into next week. Not 'run into woodland to hide and ambush the nasty killing machine where he's easily confused by the tessellating sprites', but RUN AT YOU. Then when they die, guns just pop out of them like, the arcade precursor to modern shooting games, Wolfenstein 3D. We almost expected them to start gently rotating.