Around the launch of the Wii, some of us were concerned that publishers would go for the easy out by simply tacking on Wii motion controls to existing games, rather than building a game around the unique features of the Wii itself. With Far Cry Vengeance, Ubisoft did a little of both. This first-person shooter takes some of the content and plot elements that appeared in Far Cry Instincts Evolution for the Xbox and weaves in new sections and levels designed for the Wii. It's an interesting solution, because this allowed Ubisoft to recycle existing content while also creating some unique content for the Wii. However, Far Cry Vengeance is a game that delivers some mixed emotions, as well as plenty of lackluster visuals.
Jack Carver is back in action in Far Cry Vengeance, though it's odd that Ubisoft didn't include his original adventures to introduce the character to the Nintendo crowd.
In Vengeance, you get to play as Jack Carver. Who is Jack Carver? That's a good question, since the game throws you in with relatively little introduction to the character, his earlier adventures in Far Cry Instincts, or the reason why Jack possess powerful animal abilities. This omission is strange; when the Xbox 360 got its version of Far Cry, it included both Far Cry Instincts and Far Cry Instincts Evolution to get newcomers up to speed. At any rate, Jack is just your typical guy who happens to possess superhuman feral abilities, and thanks to a sultry and exotic woman he's thrust into an adventure involving rebels and genetically modified warriors, all taking place in a lush tropical paradise.
When Vengeance is at its best, you feel like you're a completely unstoppable killing machine. You can leap over walls, shred guys to death with your claws (and send them flying through the air), and run-and-gun with a variety of automatic weapons. Of course, that's not too hard against this dim artificial intelligence. Basically, the AI characters exist in Vengeance for you to kill them. Often, if you kill one, his buddies about 20 feet away won't notice. When they do, most of the time they're happy enough to stand straight in the open to let you line up a shot. They're also horrible shots for the most part, as you'll be hard-pressed to die at times despite the amount of lead they throw your way. In fact, you won't even need to shoot them; a tactic that worked through large portions of the game is to simply use the melee attack to kill them, then use the boost that you get for a melee kill to heal any damage you incur.
The single-player story consists mainly of levels taken from the Xbox version of the game, but not all of it is here. Various plot elements and sections were stripped out, presumably to make room for some of the new Wii-specific content, such as a new training level that gets you up to speed on how to use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to move around and fight. Other Wii-unique content basically has you holding positions against waves of attacking enemies, so it's sort of a shooting gallery onscreen.
The visuals are just lackluster, from the blurry textures to the chunky weapons models.
The controls take a little bit of getting used to, but they're pretty intuitive for the most part. The Wii Remote can be an accurate pointing device, which makes it almost ideal for shooters as it's pretty easy to pick off the many bad guys who cross your path. Or you can melee attack someone by simply slashing with the remote. However, all is not perfect. Trying to spin around is a pain, as there's simply no way to do so quickly or easily. A bigger issue is the sniper controls. First, to zoom in with the scope you must awkwardly shove the remote toward the screen, a motion that throws off what you were aiming for, which means you've got to reacquire the target while zoomed in. This is a process that can take several valuable seconds, at which time any enemy snipers you were hoping to take out have a free shot or two on you. Since it takes only a couple of sniper hits to go from full health to dead, this makes sniper battles infuriatingly difficult.