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Far Cry Instincts: Predator Review

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Two rather lovely games in one: that's rather ace that is.

★★★★

After a lacklustre launch and drought of quality software, Xbox 360 owners are finally getting a taste of what their new console is capable of. But while Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter offers incredible military realism and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is an adventure limited only by your imagination, when playing Far Cry it’s hard to shake the feeling that you’ve seen it all before.

Including a full version of the sublime Far Cry Instincts — the original that set Xboxes alight last year — and a brand-new story where the gruff hero is once again trapped on a paradise island crawling with trigger-happy mercenaries, Predator is a perfect introduction to the series’ exceptional blend of stealth, exploration and hardcore violence. The expanded multiplayer modes also make for a more enduring experience that’ll keep you coming back for more anarchic 16-player skirmishes, and the map editor that lets players create their own levels and publish them online offers an incredible sense of achievement when someone downloads your work.

Xbox 360 players hoping to sate their bloodlust will be thrilled by Predator, especially those who haven’t sampled its toe-curling brutality on another machine. But while it’s an accomplished and engaging blaster, it nonetheless falls into the same trap as most 360 releases; an old game that offers little more than a modest graphical revamp. The enemies still lack the uncanny intelligence of a gun-toter like Black, rival soldiers don’t react to being shot and continue to charge while being peppered with bullets, and the graphics are virtually identical to the original Xbox game, albeit at a slightly higher resolution.

Besides having a few pixels smoothed over, it’s not the great leap up thatccould have made it a classic; there’s that nagging sense of laurel-resting. Ubisoft can count itself lucky that the original Far Cry Instincts was so damned addictive — even in times of tough competition, this modest upgrade still does the business.

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