Turok

Reviewed by Arep | 31 March 2008
Genre: FPS | Publisher: Touchstone | Developer: Propaganda Games
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The Good
The Bad

* Originally authored by maybehere and UNK *

Truthfully, what self-admitting gamer wouldn't look forward to what seemed to promise a lovely meshing of Gears of War and Jurassic Park?This is a game that we have been looking forward to for some time, going so far as to reserve it months before its release. Truthfully, what self-admitting gamer wouldn’t look forward to what seemed to promise a lovely meshing of Gears of War and Jurassic Park? However, looks can be horribly deceiving and we sadly must add this much anticipated game to our rent only, never play again pile.

Once upon a time there was a man named Joseph Turok who was involved with an elite military unit called the Wolfpack. As the story goes, on one haunting mission Turok accidentally pierced an innocent kid using his trademark Bow. Although this incident deeply bothers Turok, his “Pack Leader” approaches, completing an executing headshot without compassion. This coup de grace so unsettles our hero that he leaves his station only to join up with another elite military unit, the Whiskey Company, who is set up to take down Wolfpack. In a move all of us have discovered at one time or another, changing positions in a high risk company proves most stressful as Turok is labeled a traitor, and few within his new outfit trust in his loyalty outside of the possible advantages of his “insider knowledge” of the enemy.

When Whiskey Company nears its approach to the planet in anticipation of a full conflict with Wolfpack your transport ship is attacked and starts to plummet haphazardly to the planet. Amongst other amazing feats (both possibly real and definitely imaginary) your character is now about to survive unscathed from this wreck despite not being in stasis, or a safety harness or being made of pixy dust.

it's plot holes like this that make it impossible for our dementia to fester into a well developed mental illnessBefore you read further, yes, we know this is not real but if we are going to pretend that there is a world out there where we can dominate dinos and make light of giant sea monsters and bugs, well give us a break, we know when some things are just not in the realm of physics. Geez, we’re not completely lost to the world and it’s plot holes like this that make it impossible for our dementia to fester into a well developed mental illness. What this does mean however, is that your mission to simply capture the rogue leader of Wolfpack is no longer the first priority as you are now engrossed in a survival game where environment, man and self are your enemies and it’s easy to get them confused.

This is not only the true start of your mission, but also what we discovered to be the start of many frustrations that made this game a true displeasure at times.

We can understand that some games start you off without weaponry, as it’s a method to gently initiate you into the surroundings and game environment. However, this game throws you into harms way immediately and although you somehow retain a weapon upon first exiting your crash site, it disappears when you most need it. Furthermore, although most weapons are usable by your character, in the beginning sequences when you handily see a weapon it in front of you beside a fallen comrade it’s not usable and cannot be accessed although you are instantly bombarded with harsh environment. Not only are you forced to try and fend for yourself with what little you can scavenge and actually utilize, you have the misfortune of an extremely irritating sidekick that constantly bombards you with guilt ridden comments of your failure to Wolfpack and your probable distrust.

Of course, the unfortunate realization you will find is that even if he was a pleasure to be around he, as well as all of your AI friends, are little help to you other than possibly being something other than you for the dinos to digest and enemies to shoot at. What’s even more disheartening is that your AI teammates really don’t offer much in the hopes of distractions as they tend to fall onto their hands and knees in the midst of battle without any way to heal them and only return to the fight after you have eliminated the remaining, impossibly frustrating threat by yourself.

By the way, let us take just a moment here to digress into an erupting rage that has developed. Ok people! Co-op in a game does not mean two or three sessions of unsavable quests! Remember the days when co-op actually meant co-op? We went into this game anticipating a Dom to our Marcus and as seems to be the intolerable lie that keeps getting sprung on us co-op junkies the only aide we are allowed is from our extremely unintelligent AI’s (which we promise is no aide at all).

Yes game maker people, we noticed and we are really beginning to resent the fact that we are getting lied to over and over again. We anticipated it in Jericho, drooled over its allure for COD4, and co-op was certainly one of the top reasons for Turok getting reserved on our list and we swear if you take it away from future games, that were reported months in advance for maintaining this feature, boycotts and angry elderly letters will resume!

Now where were we? Oh yes, angry, disrupting issues that we have been facing with Turok. Let’s resume with weapons since we were devoid of them for the eternity it felt like. Weapons (once you have them) are actually fairly decent, at least in their design and the range of secondary fire options. Lets forget for a moment that an incessant amount of ammo is needed to defeat even one target, but in addition most of the weapons have such an intense kick that it’s difficult to focus on anything long enough to get those rounds delivered.

Among what we consider some of the most effective would be the Sticky Bomb Gun, the Bow (specifically for it’s secondary fire option of Tek arrows), the Flamethrower (for it’s explosive secondary fire), and the Shotgun (the secondary flare option provided more than a few laughs), and we suppose the knife since it’s difficult to mess that one up, though it was not for lack of trying, since you could be right up next to something and if it but blinked we were unable to lock onto it as a target. While there are other weapons such as a Plasma rifle, a generic assault rifle, sniper rifle, mini-gun and RPG launcher you might see a pattern that we also noted, the secondary fire options are truly what made most of the weapons effective. I suppose that all of the time and effort for offense was splurged on these secondary options since somehow a melee option was magically avoided. On everything!

because we assure you, if we have a big metal object in our hands with which to defend ourselves, oh, we will remember melee as a reflex This is one of the reasons no weapons proved so harrowing in the beginning because if you have no ammo, you can’t just butt stroke someone and be done with it, or at least fist fight. No, you are stuck trying to hastily finish with a knife that has an 8/10 chance of not meeting meat which is frustrating when you constantly see the option to use it. Trust us, always have ammo...always! And remember that events shown in game world are not always practical in real life because we assure you, if we have a big metal object in our hands with which to defend ourselves, oh, we will remember melee as a reflex as I imagine most fully functioning humans would. And maybe even some lesser primates given the situation.

However, like most game interfaces, you are introduced to what should be the most behooving weapon at the time. For quiet attacks using your Bow and Knife are best. However, if your enemies are assuming, which they almost always know where you are and how many hairs abound on your head, it’s a good idea to keep a Plasma Rifle handy most times, and if able, a Sticky Bomb Gun. These two weapons pack the greatest, general disruption on both man and beast which can appear on you in areas that have already been cleared (we presume with magic or possibly some underground tunnel system not unlike the one used at Disneyworld).

We have made one definite, unanimous decision about the RPG launcher. It is by far the most accurate weapon in your enemies hand and you would swear is motion and heat seeking when coming towards you, but when you use it the target is easily missed or lost and what should be a most disruptive and useful weapon becomes limited. We suggest using it only on absolutely necessary missions.

We promise you, regardless of how experienced a gamer you are this game is a guaranteed challengeWhat are the benefits to this game? We can admit that we have been harsh, but after waiting months for it’s release and foolishly believing all it’s hype it’s truly hard not to feel hurt and to actually see it’s redeeming qualities but we will give it our best go. Truthfully, this is a hard game and that’s on normal, coming from experienced gamers. While this difficulty is terribly frustrating it’s also refreshing when it takes more than one or two days to finish a game. For this the game is definitely worth a rental as you certainly get your play time in regardless of difficulty level or player expertise. We promise you, regardless of how experienced a gamer you are this game is a guaranteed challenge.

The graphics, those that you can actually see, are lovely and what we would call on par with Gears of War. As a side note though, this game has few adjustable menu qualities and lighting is one it is devoid of. Many aspects are very dark, even developing some intense shadowing to the point where facial expression was hard to view. That being said the environment is lovely with forest scapes, caves, caverns, waterways and mountains to name a few. Although your dino selection is limited, the animals are very realistic in their movements and attack structures making that aspect of the game immensely enjoyable. The few herbivores available are interesting to examine and for a moment, it’s a nice experience to wonder at the world you have stumbled upon.

Music in the game will definitely get your heart pumping, but it’s also something that you have no control over. You have to imagine, creatures with monumental teeth and claws that any African lion would be envious of towering above or closing in from the grass lands for the kill of their prey, you. But, instead of being able to hear their footsteps, their growls seeking your blood, the only thing you get is an ear full of shock wave as the music makes it harder for you to think on your feet when its intensity outweighs the environment.

While we scoff at what turned out to be the only co-op portion of the game, we will say that at the very least there was “something” available which is more than we can say for other games that have advised this option only to leave it out completely. We suppose that a few acts together are somewhat better than none.

The weapons can be frustrating, but you can also have some serious laughs. Specifically, the Plasma Rifles alternate fire which releases a grenade that will launch both man and beast through the air (though generally not killing them). While PETA may have some serious reservations about such acts, to the rest of us seeing a dinosaur launch through the air it can be priceless. Another weapon that added to the fun was the shotgun with it’s flare alternate fire option. We can attest to the validity of the claims, if you shoot a flare on a dinosaur or man, all other dinosaurs will be drawn to it and will attack for you. This is where the very valid statement of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” comes in, and turning foe into friend has never been more entertaining. For those of you that abhor graphic violence we thought it worthy to note that no real bloodshed is shown in regard to man, but beast you have bits falling and twitching everywhere, so be wary if you are shy to the game wars.

Online play may have some redeeming qualities. This portion has many customizable features for player matches, but is sometimes unrealistic regarding the game play mechanics. During online experiences you may find that shooting a character 3-4 times with a shotgun produces little effect and they are able to simply rebound and kill you with their trusty knife which leaves you horribly bewildered on into your next spawned life. We suppose that this could be due to latency, but it’s a complaint we’ve heard from more than a few fellow gamers, mostly those getting killed with the knife (never us of course). Dino’s on the map can be fun since making precise moves will wreak havoc in all the right places. However, the dino hot on your six chasing after the flare stuck on your right butt cheek is going to ruin your day when you are skipping your way back to home base with the flag.

Would we play this game again? It’s safe to say we would not return to it a second time outside of our initial five day rental. However, that’s not to say that knowing what we know we wouldn’t play the game to try it out. In fact, being frustrated from the beginning we purposely forced our way through. We will dare say only experienced gamers might find it less frustrating as we can’t imagine any “noob” being able to truly cope with some of the overwhelming difficulties. All things considered, this game is not without its perks which is why we would give it a 3.5 out of 5. Not great, but definitely not the worst game ever thrown together. It does seem to get a little easier when you play a little longer and the controls and elemental disappointment wear down a bit. We would suggest you try it once but guarantee it’s a challenge, and something you will either adore playing, or love to hate.

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Member reviews

Thought this would be better - Linflas |
| 5 September 2008

I might give it a miss

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| 6 December 2013

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