Dr. Grant, my dear Dr. Sattler. Welcome to Jurassic… Turok: The only planet in the universe where hordes of vicious raptors eagerly awaited your arrival, only to greet you with one swift gash to the carotid artery. It’s alright though, you’ve been equipped with your trusty…knife?
The game starts you out right away from the eyes of Turok, himself. You find yourself watching a flashback from his murky past, as you sit there letting the adrenaline start up inside you as you watch the first kill, then the second, then you’re staring at yourself through a mirror, before finally awaking. You’ve come out of cryogenic sleep and are aboard a ship filled with soldiers who detest everything about you – it’s expected though, since you’re viewed as a traitor from your last employment opportunity.
Turok’s new objective is to help Whiskey Company track down his former employer, Roland Kane. As the head of an elite organisation known as Wolfpack, of which Turok was also a member, Kane provided you with the launch pad to your career as a mercenary; however, your conscience couldn’t stomach the idea of undertaking some of the more nefarious activities forced upon you by Kane’s leadership, prompting you to soon part ways (explaining the animosity you’ve since had to endure)
On the way to your objective a single missile fires upon your ship and it strikes right at the core. You’re then left to fend for yourself as you must duck, jump, and run your way through the falling shuttle.
Turok and another soldier survive the fall and it seems like it’ll be up to you two to take on the mission. With everyone getting slaughtered around you, you’re soon left to watch the only other known survivors get dragged into the tall grass by a raptor and chewed into mincemeat. You’ll experience a couple of more flashbacks through all of this and finally come across your gun and knife. On your way to the wreck site of the ship, you’ll come across Slade; an arrogant, sarcastic soldier who hates the way you breathe, walk, sleep, eat, and live. It is now up to you and him to make the final push forward.
One of the bright spots of Turok is the weaponry. You’ll be given a variety of choices from standard handguns, Sub Machine Guns, Shotguns, or even a sticky bomb gun. Each gun has two types of fire. These can range from different things such as bursts, silencer, and detonation abilities. Another great part about the weaponry is the fact that you can pretty much dual-wield everything in the game. If you want a standard shotgun teamed up with a handgun, you’re set. If you want to take two shotguns and just blow the bad guys 5 feet back, you’re set.
The only drawback to the entire arsenal of options is that without being an ace marksman with headshots, you’ll be expending a ton of bullets to take down your target. This isn’t that bad if it’s just one or two guys, but sometimes you’ll have a horde of enemies running towards you and there isn’t much you can do. On top of this rather large gripe is the fact that the gun you’re carrying never tells you how much ammo is left in your clip. It lets you know how much you have in reserve, but the clip information is nowhere to be found, this is something they could have greatly put some more time into.
Another aspect that has been particularly well incorporated is the stealth kills. Many times you’ll just enjoy sneaking up on dinosaurs or the enemy and converting button combo stealth kills. These will involve stabbing right through a dinosaur’s skull or slitting their throat. It’s awesome to watch and is a great implementation. The only problem is, it does get old and a tad repetitive, but the attention deficient at heart will never have a problem.
The controls aren’t too shabby either. They’re pretty much your standard FPS controls. You’ll use the directional pad to choose between weapons and your triggers will fire. You’ll also utilize the key buttons to jump, climb, and reload your weaponry as well.
One of the things that disappointed us most was that there was no real sprint option. Everything seems to always be forced at a power walking level. Call of Duty 4 may have spoiled gamers by adding in this feature, but Turok could have sorely used it. When a gang of dinosaurs is chasing you, you’re going to wish you had a bit of extra speed to catch a breather and regroup.
Voice acting for the game was very well produced. You can finally tell we’re in the next generation of gaming when the majority of voice acting is hitting a high level of entertainment. The emotion of the characters was there as was the ability for their voices to make you feel a part of the experience.
As far as difficulty goes, this is going to be a new love or hate relationship. We all love games to challenge us but sometimes Turok can just be downright cruel. The order the difficulty occurs is sometimes ridiculous. You’ll often find yourself breezing by sections of the game and all of a sudden it’s like you’ve hit a perfectly clean window that you didn’t see and you’re not proceeding to get your butt kicked. The rollercoaster difficulty is obviously a huge concern because it makes it difficult for newcomers to truly adapt to the situation and enjoy the game fully. It won’t be as rough for the hardcore enthusiasts, but causal gamers are becoming increasingly more apparent these days.
In terms of enemy artificial intelligence regarding the Wolfpack members you’re slaughtering and the dinosaurs you’re butchering, stupidity seems to work best. The Wolfpack soldiers will usually spot you and have all of them run at you in a straight suicide line or they’ll stand their ground and shoot with terrible accuracy while you mow them down. This becomes increasingly easy over time if you have the bow equipped. You’ll be able to take out an entire station of enemies from a hundred feet away with ease as the arrows take down enemies so easily.
Bosses are also what attribute to the roller coaster difficulty of Turok. Sometimes they become very linear as you’re given only one way to defeat them even though you have an entire arsenal of weapons at your disposal. You may have to run across a linear plain to get a certain weapon that will be able to easily take out the boss; however if you don’t move right away, your opponent will just obliterate you into nothingness. In terms of actual enemies, you’ll come up against everything from T-Rex’s, mutated dinosaurs, and eventually, even Kane himself.
The first thing we noticed about this title’s graphics hit us right in the face. The texture work needs a lot of help during cinematic sequences. On top of the noticeable tearing, as well as terrible refresh rate, we noticed an awkward blur outlining the other individuals in the game. Fortunately enough, we rarely saw this as an issue during the actual gameplay experience.
As much the as comparisons and the demo may have shown you, the graphics are not all that bad. Turok is full of moments where we can take in the world around us and just appreciate it for what it is. With the literal movement of tall grass as we moved through it and the detail to the environment, we found ourselves enjoying the surrounding area. Though there is a sense of washed out feeling to the games look, it almost adds to the atmosphere to an extent, unfortunately it doesn’t make up for the fact that the game does have that issue.
Turok does feature a pretty extensive multiplayer opportunity, but it ends up being as lackluster as the single-player campaign itself. The game offers you the obvious deathmatch and capture the flag experience as well as the much anticipated co-op ability. The problem with this game’s co-op mode is it’s only around three to four levels deep; which pretty much suffocates the excitement it could have brought to the table. There are 7 maps for online play but none of them are any special either. The online experience is pretty dull to be honest and you’re not going to invest a lot of time into it like you may other online games.
Overall, Turok takes you deep into a jungle atmosphere with tall grass, plenty of dinosaurs, a slew of bad guys, but this amalgamation ultimately offers nothing more than an average gameplay experience. We suggest the game may provide some entertainment on rental-only basis, or solely for Turok enthusiasts.