Jack Carver is back. Rather than wait a while to get one of the most exciting new franchises on the next generation console, Ubisoft has decided to combine the two console games and release an excellent value pack of Far Cry goodness. This is now the third game in the Far Cry series, following on from a successful PC launch and later console game.
For those who have missed the previous titles, Far Cry is set on a remote island in the middle of no where, with hardly any civilization, or so Jack and his partner thinks. The storyline of this game is actually divided in two due to the fact two games are included and are completely separate to each other. In the first game, Jack visits the island with an inquisitive journalist and ends up having to rescue her after she gets kidnapped by the islands so called owners. In the second storyline (which unfortunately Ubisoft would not reveal too much about), Jack once again finds himself at a females beckon call (you'd think he'd learn) and ends up yet again getting stuck in a difficult situation.
Far Cry is of course played from a first person perspective, but to categorise it into the FPS genre does not do the game justice. It really should be called a first person hunter, especially towards the end of the first game, and all the way through the second. The primal hunter instincts return in the new game, and of course become available as you progress through the first. This addition truly changed the mechanics of Far Cry and very quickly you became the hunter rather than the hunted - it really is what the PC game lacked.
When you first boot up the 360 version you will be given the choice of playing either the original Instincts game or the second, brand new title. The game's are completely separate. What you do in one will not affect the other and you don't have to complete Instincts to play the second one, although the storyline may seem a little confusing if you don't. You will also be in absolute awe at the stunning graphics on display once the game actually loads. Remember those crazy benchmark programs Nvidia made to make the GeForce look good a few years ago? That's what Far Cry on Xbox 360 looks like, stunning to say the least.
However the graphics aren't the only thing getting an overhaul. The AI is also being improved and for the first time will have varying difficulty levels to choose from. The AI is more likely to pick up Carver now and act in groups offering a higher level of challenge, but for those who find it a bit too difficult, the level setting will help. Another major change for the game is the physics engine. This was demonstrated to us by watching a boat explode and seeing the AI bodies fly everywhere. Ragdoll has been improved even further and the AI does of course include specific target points i.e. If you shoot them in the leg, they will clutch their leg.
With that said the major change is of course the graphics. While Far Cry Xbox looked stunning for the power of that console, the Xbox 360 version takes the franchise to the next level, and even improves on the quality of graphics the PC version had. Watching water ripple as you gaze into the jungle demonstrates the insane draw distance. Ubisoft is on a real winner here with the graphics. It makes you want to explore the island which is huge and has changed since the original game. They have also allowed you to move into places previously blocked by the Xbox version and there is a "collect-athon" with small vials, but Ubisoft has not confirmed what collecting them does yet.
Far Cry 360 will be an interesting release as it combines old content with new. Ubisoft is planning to retail this for the expected Xbox 360 RRP for games which makes it excellent value. Those who own instincts may be happy with the original consoles version which will retail for cheaper, but new fans to the series, from what we can tell before release, will find an interesting, action packed, graphically intensive first person hunter game in that little green DVD box.