While still clearly a big success, a lot of folks would probably agree that the PC version of the first-person shooter FarCry was less a great game and more a great tech demo. This was thanks mostly to lush visuals and massive, go-virtually-anywhere levels that often far overshadowed the gameplay itself.
It's no surprise then that this console-only, enhanced port actually feels like the better game, thanks to a number of tweaks that remind players that you're not here to gawk at the scenery - you're here to punctuate that scenery with smoldering craters and gory mutant body parts.
True, while still intact, those mutant bodies still suffers from extreme stupidity yet benefit from super-human sight - so not everything is fixed. But the levels, while still pretty wide open, feel more focused thanks to slightly less freedom to go anywhere and do anything. This makes the flow and pace better. And the feral abilities main character Jack Carver earns later in the game - special attacks, super speed, night vision - lock and load some much-needed "Hey, that's actually kind of not typical" ammo into this generally by-the-numbers shooter.
Likewise, the online aspect feels pretty familiar, except for one neat feature. Along with the standard deathmatch and capture-the-flag style options, we get Predator, an awesome multiplayer mode that pits one player and his full complement of feral abilities against a bunch of armed-to-the-teeth mercenaries.
Okay, two neat features: let's not forget the robust level editor you can use to create and share your own custom battlegrounds over Xbox Live.
In the crappy wine and wilted roses category, the game looks gorgeous in most ways, and then really ugly in some others. It's tough to explain, but a fair bit of pop up and weird terrain transitions whenever the camera pans around a new area can sap some of the "wow" from the battlegrounds. The way dead enemies' bodies fall to the ground looks downright silly at times, too - namely, sometimes the corpses won’t even fall over. Explosions, on the other hand, look absolutely spectacular.
And while the new features do a lot to fix the main problems found in the PC game, they don’t alleviate them altogether. Enemies can still see you, target you, and blow big holes in you from an uncannily long distance away, yet they do incredibly stupid things like stand still while you riddle them with bullets or walk directly into walls. Plus the addition of Jack's special abilities - especially the power to heal yourself - makes some of the later levels way too easy.
All in all, FarCry Instincts is still a fun game, especially on the multiplayer side. Hopefully, upcoming sequels will further tweak an already solid concept into a great game.