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Far Cry Instincts: The next chapter

Aware that Instincts' AI was its most heavily criticised element, Ubisoft Montreal is promising an adjustment that will make it more responsive and coordinated, and potentially more challenging, but with the introduction of difficulty levels satisfying, it hopes, all tastes.

We aren't shown the 360 version of this new instalment, and Helias is evasive when pressed on the differences. It's possible that it will be no more than a straight graphical upgrade, but the same, he insists, is absolutely not true of the adaptation of the original Instincts that will form the other half of Predator.

The level design has been reworked around revised AI and the tremendous depth of field 360 is capable of (Helias cites a 2km draw distance). The byword is increased intensity: opposition will be smarter, ammo more scarce, headshots harder, maps more expansive and furnished with heavier cover for more tactical battles.

When it comes to graphical impact, the jury is still out. The intensity of the colour is astonishing, the definition and depth of the vistas remarkable, the shimmering water effects almost surreal in their impossible clarity.

But the extra resolution exposes some of the vegetation to more scrutiny than it can bear, and there's a slight sterility, a coldness to the light, that is in stark contrast to the thick, steaming atmosphere of the Xbox code.

Another pass on textures and effects could easily fix this, though, and even if it doesn't, with its two games and 24 multiplayer maps Predator should represent good value, even at 360's inflated prices.

The new Xbox episode is a stranger proposition. There's nothing to say it won't be every bit as strong as the original Instincts, but it's hard to see it as anything more than preaching to the converted. Maybe that's all it's intended to be - a staging post - and maybe that doesn't matter. Because if nothing else, you can be sure that Ubisoft has much bigger plans than this in store for Far Cry.

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