It’s easy to forget that the Far Cry franchise first premiered on PC over 16 years ago. Originally a Crytek release, it soon found its way to consoles after Ubisoft acquired the rights to the series. For Xbox, this resulted in Far Cry: Instincts being released over a year later – the debut for the series on Microsoft’s home console.
The game sees you playing as Jack Carver, a former US Navy officer who was dishonorably discharged and after some dodgy dealings, and had to flee to the tropical paradise of Micronesia. However, it quickly becomes apparent there is something much more sinister going on in the Pacific island group.
This is a common theme of the Far Cry games. You find yourself attempting to survive in a hostile environment run by a brutal dictator, who is often a well fleshed-out if not unhinged nemesis. In this instance, it’s the villainous Krieger who has been experimenting with a serum designed to unlock man’s dormant animal traits.
Jack finds himself as a test subject early on, resulting in him procuring “feral abilities” such as a powerful melee attack and increased speed. This is handy, as you’ll quickly find yourself fending off enemies from all sides, including the especially abhorrent mutants from Krieger’s research facility.
These abilities were a new addition to this version of the game, but this wasn’t the only change. Due to the reduced power of the Xbox compared to the PC, the story was modified and made more linear to compensate for this. Still, it was well-received by critics and gamers alike despite this, and launched the successful series on consoles.
I vividly remember playing Far Cry: Instincts back in the day, and just like with Half-Life 2, I was chuffed about it’s release. This was because I couldn’t afford to be a high-spec PC gamer at the time. The game’s pace was thrilling, but yet contained the occasional element of horror, especially where the mutants were concerned.
Jack’s “feral abilities” were satisfying to use, especially when facing numerous factions trying to put you down permanently. The range of weapons were also pleasing to play with, with plenty to discover as you explored the island. This reinforced the feel that feral, animalistic brute force was the only way through Jack’s predicament, and he certainly cut his teeth as an unstoppable killing machine.
The game was re-released for Xbox 360 a year later, along with its sequel Evolution, in a bundle called Far Cry Instincts: Predator. This is still available, along with a port of the original PC game, to pick up on the Microsoft Store.
More recently, Ubisoft revealed Far Cry 6 which is slated for release in February 2021. Despite the name, there have been more than 6 Far Cry games, with a number of spin off titles such as Primal and New Dawn.
The series has seen huge success over the years and shows no sign of slowing down. However, if you want to see where it all began it’s well worth checking out Far Cry: Instincts on Xbox. It’s still a frantic, feral, fight to the death that remains a lot of fun to play today.