There are numerous vehicles in the game, but they're better suited for transport than for combat.
To help you get around, you can climb in and control a number of vehicles in Far Cry Instincts, including jet skis, Humvees, hang gliders, hovercraft, and all-terrain vehicles. Vehicles aren't really a strong point of Far Cry Instincts, though, as the controls and vehicle physics are a bit touchy in general. The slightest bump can flip a vehicle over, or the wrong twitch can send you slamming into the trees. It doesn't help that you drive from the first-person perspective; while it's cool that in most cases you have one hand on the wheel and another wielding a gun, drive-by action is a bit touchy, since it's so easy to miss or overshoot the target. So, for the most part, vehicles only help you traverse long distances faster.
One thing that you'll also notice is how the pace and the game itself evolve the further you get into it--which is fitting, as this is essentially a game that involves evolution. At the beginning, you'll spend far more time sneaking around than fighting, but after you've got your arsenal and a feel for the weapons, you'll transition into a Rambo-like figure. However, just when it starts to feel like the game is getting a bit too easy, it shifts gears again and introduces a new threat, and you'll encounter a host of brutal opponents.
Like Far Cry on the PC, Far Cry Instincts on the Xbox uses a checkpoint save system. And the checkpoint system is fairly good most of the time. The problem is that the rest of the time, it can be extremely frustrating. There are a number of long sequences in the game in which you find yourself desperately wishing for a save. However, you don't get one, so you're forced to redo those sequences over and over again until you figure out what you're doing wrong. For example, in one stretch, you have to run a brutal river gauntlet on a jet ski while dodging mines on the river and being fired upon by rocket infantry on both riverbanks. In another, you must escort a character through a level, and instead of waiting for you to clear the route, the character constantly keeps moving forward, forcing you to keep pace. At that point, the game is less about skill and more about a frustrating amount of trial and error as you memorize where the enemies will spawn.
Multiplayer looks just as good as the single-player game, and the combat is even more chaotic.
With that said, the single-player portion of Far Cry Instincts is still an amazing experience; the game successfully blends countless nail-biting firefights, cool moments, and plenty of tense gameplay. Meanwhile, the production values are absolutely first rate. While the graphics admittedly aren't as sharp as in the PC version, they're still cutting edge for a console. The game's audio is also as good, and the music (a blend of both primal and techno) has a way of kicking in at appropriate moments to ratchet up the tension. The sound effects are just as impressive, especially since you spend a lot of time relying on sound to detect where enemies are in the thick jungle. About our only complaint is that the mixing sounds a bit off, so you can lose track of the dialogue at times, especially when the sounds of gunfire erupt. (Strangely, this was also a problem in the PC version.)
It wouldn't be too hard for Far Cry Instincts's multiplayer to improve on the PC version, as multiplayer was one of the weak spots of the original Far Cry. Thankfully, Far Cry Instincts features a far better multiplayer suite than Far Cry for the PC. For starters, there are the standard deathmatch and team deathmatch modes (titled chaos and team chaos), and you can go at each other with all the weapons and vehicles from the single-player game. You can even set traps, like you do in single-player. There's also a traditional capture-the-flag mode (dubbed steal the sample). The most interesting mode, though, is predator, which pits one player against the rest. That one player, the predator, gets all the feral abilities from the single-player games. This can result in some crazy moments, when the predator literally swoops into the fray.
Far Cry Instincts is also the latest console shooter to come with a built-in level editor, which allows you to create your own multiplayer levels from scratch. While admittedly fairly powerful, you'll need quite a bit of patience in order to create a decent level, because you're limited to using the gamepad to input your commands. Just learning the various menus in the editor and figuring out which button does what can be a dizzying task. Still, multiplayer fans can be a dedicated bunch, so it'll be interesting to see what the community can come up with.
The editor is awkward to use, but it should allow the community to make new multiplayer maps.
With the Xbox about to be succeeded by the Xbox 360, Far Cry Instincts proves that there's life still left in the system. This was a game that many felt couldn't work on the Xbox due to technical limitations. Yet somehow, Ubisoft Montreal has proved us wrong. Far Cry Instincts is a game that pushes the Xbox to its limits, but it also delivers stunning graphics and excellent gameplay. Quite simply, this is a game that you have to play if you're a first-person shooter fan and you own an Xbox.