Forget what you know about Turok, as this new installment from developer Propaganda Games acts as a total reboot for the dinosaur hunting series.
Gone are the time traveling based Turok games of yore and instead is an all-new sci-fi story based around the lead character, Joseph Turok. This new story is typically Hollywood; interesting in places but obvious in its execution. And although the game may have seen a spot of sheen from the cheesy Hollywood rag, its not all bad, as despite the story being somewhat mundane, and the lines being cringe worthy in places, the game enjoys some superb voice acting talent, and solid sound effects.
This sheen shines through even more, before you even get to play the game, with slick presentation throughout the games menus; but the shine doesn’t bode so well once play has begun. Visually Turok comes across as some sort of odd mashup of other Unreal Engine titles, Gears Of War incidentally springing immediately to mind. It doesn’t look bad by any means, but it’s not going to wow you on any level.
The game begins with you and your somewhat unfriendly teammates crash landing on your destined dinosaur infested planet with the goal of finding a war criminal, which incidentally Turok himself shares a shady past with. As you begin trekking through the various settings you find yourself in – be it a lush overgrown jungle, dark cave, or even a facility building – a healthy mix of gun fights with humans and dinosaurs alike are served up, and they compliment the games thorough exploration aspects well.
Unfortunately despite this healthy quantity of shootouts, some of which are exciting and engaging, they all suffer from one major downfall: shaking. Whether you are shooting at your enemy, or in the middle of an encounter with a T-Rex, the screen will constantly be shaking, and where as this may sound like a minor gripe, it will soon become tiresome, annoying and most definitely off putting during gameplay. The overly sensitive aiming doesn’t help matters either. In addition to this disappointing mechanic, you will often find yourself in seriously unfair situations, with far too many raptors attacking you at all angles, for example. Certain death follows, and you find yourself repeating a fairly sizeable chunk of the level again due to poor checkpoints. To add insult to injury, several ‘handy hints’ are displayed on screen during loading, which although may be helpful to the more inexperienced gamer, soon annoy once you have died for the Nth time.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, when you pull off an impressive kill with your crossbow, or slay a dinosaur with a swift stab from your trusty knife it really does feel satisfying and offers a fresh change from your generic guns. And when you do take the life of a dinosaur it is all delivered to your eyes via some rather impressive animations.
If you take into consideration all the repeating of certain sections you will be replaying due to sloppy gameplay, the main single player experience Turok has to offer will stretch you to about 8 or 9 hours. In addition to this Turok also has a fairly competent online mode, offering up plenty of modes, like the standard deathmatch, CTF and even an impressive Co-Op mode. Most of the games achievements can be gained via playing online, but whether the 360 community will be playing the game long enough for the average gamer to gain them all is debatable. Achievement fans take note this is no easy ride.
Overall Turok is mediocre at best, offering a somewhat engaging experience with impressive sound, average visuals and some solid replayability if achievement hunting is your passion. The dinosaurs save Touchstones effort, from what would have been a very dull FPS without them. Dinosaurs are still cool.