Far Cry Instincts Predator dates back to 2006, and boy does it show! According to the sticker on the box the CEX asking price was £4.99 when I picked this one up a couple of years ago, but I think it was also the cheapest of a 3 for 2 offer. So when something is basically free, I’m not going to whine too hard about it.
It’s actually kind of relaxing in its simplicity, making it a nice little palette cleanser to some of the more involved games I’ve played this year (I mean I adore Dragon Age: Inquisition, but even I know sometimes it’s healthy to do something else than embark on a third consecutive play-through in order to romance a different character). I actually got a little nostalgic for the days of Doom, claiming ammo refills by simply walking over vertical standing weaponry.
I really enjoyed playing FarCry 3 &4 (Primal, less so, and #5 got such a lukewarm reception that I don’t fancy spending more than a tenner on it.) It’s kind of fun to see the genesis of those games here. Ok, so the graphics suck, and in the Instincts game your basically stuck in corridor mode right the way through. But you can just about get a sense of what the FarCry universe would become with sweeping island vistas, lush vegetation and gritty merc camps. They’re just a bit … basic for now.
All told, I spent a tense couple of weeks getting through the Instincts game, and kept getting stuck in death loops. I haven’t wanted to rage quit a game so hard since the first time I played Ocarina of Time. So it was actually pretty satisfying to finally complete the game.
Incidentally the Instincts Predator title reflects that this was a remastered version of the original PC game released for the 360, and included the sequel story Evolution (though I am still unclear where Predator comes with and reckon it was simply a marketing attempt at making the title sound 57% more masculine). I decided to jump straight into the Coda on completion of main story, partly so I could then dump the whole disk into my ‘done’ pile. But also because I have a realistic notion that having got used to the polygontastic graphics, it would really grate playing a later game and then going back to Evolution. Turns out Evolution is much shorter, taking a svelte 10-11 hours to get through. The story is as much a pile of bobbins as the previous one, but there a few nice little tweaks which further tease what FC will become in later games. There are a few multiple-objective arenas which mitigates the corridor feel of the first game. And our intrepid protagonist Carver has developed some botanical leanings and now gets his adrenaline kick from flowers rather than what looked like sacks of meal replacement.
Having said that, despite the quick playtime I found some bits of Evolution even more frustrating than Instincts. Specifically the stupid bloody jumping puzzles where you’re meant to leap into special climbable walls. When the graphics are so bad they actually hinder the gameplay things are not good. Compare and contrast with the rebooted Tomb Raider, and the way Lara’s body reacts to her environment so you can tell if you are meant to be climbing up, down, sideways, or jumping elsewhere.
So yeah, this one has serious dated, from the problematic character tropes, dumb dialogue, and poor graphics. But a bit of mindless violence does the soul good now and again. Onto the next!