Turok Demo Impressions

19 01 2008

Developer: Propaganda Games
Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: FPS/Dinosaur Stabbing Simulator

The only time I have played a Turok game before this demo. was a demo of the first game Turok: Dinosaur Hunter that came with my first ever 3d graphics card. I can pretty much only remember two things about it;  It had probably the worst draw distance of any game ever made, and you were a dude who shot dinosaurs with a bow. Fortunately, of these two things, they’ve have managed to keep the right one.


(Please note I haven’t read up on any of this, this is purely based on what I experienced in the demo)
In this reimagined Turok, you are John Turok, Space Marine, or maybe Jack Turok… something badass sounding no doubt. You are on an alien planet which just happens to be covered in dinosaurs from Earth’s past, like it’s some sort of original series Star Trek episode or something. You seem to be with a squad of mercenaries who hate you for some reason, maybe you are a jerk. You still seem to be Native American, because you have a flashback which conveniently sets up that part of the character. Maybe there will be a flashback to explain why you are having flashbacks. I blame too many dinosaur-blows to the brain.

The demo comprises about 20-30 minutes of gameplay, has you shooting a bunch of dinosaurs and some humans, and you get 4 weapons to try out. It throws you in at a probably early level, and doesn’t really bother to set up what’s going on to any degree.

Here is a brief list of positive and negative things about the demo.

+ Melee attacks are fucking awesome. Turok stabs dinosaurs in the eyes, slashes their throats, leaps on to their backs and wrestles them, and generally fucks them the hell up. This is all animated amazingly, and with gallons of dino blood sloshing around.
+ The dinosaurs look great up close, especially the non hostile ones. Though when they walk around it sort of spoils the illusions, and start giving me Trespasser flashbacks.
+ Controls feel good. They are sharp as they need to be to do the job, and don’t deviate massively from established FPS controls.
+ They remembered to include Invert view axis in the demo (Hint: Dark Messiah team).
+ Environment graphics look great for the most part.
+ It’s always fun to shoot dinosaurs, unless it’s Gunman Chronicles, of course.

– The game makes a horrible first impression, as the first 10 minute or so are in an ugly ugly cave. This improves a lot when you get out of the cave though.
– Frame rate isn’t entirely perfect, with some noticeable slow-down during larger fights.
– Demo seems to be set to “Can’t Die” mode. Your health recovery is almost instant, and all enemies drop in a few hits.
– The bow seems to be a tad overpowered, and pretty much kills anything in one hit.
– Your merc friend (who hates you) asks you to follow him far too often. Hey developers, no-one likes being nagged. Valve figured this out in Episode 1. Please take out all the nagging lines from the merc’s dialogue. We all play games at our own pace, please stop hurrying us along.
– While the knife kills look great, it seems to work like an ‘I win’ button. Just have knife selected, wait for icon to appear and hit the trigger, and you automatically kill the enemy.
– Was it just me, or were the sound-effects super quiet? I was wearing headphones, but my guns sounded like the rustling of carrier bags in the wind, and I couldn’t hear dinosaurs coming at all so they often got the jump on me.
– Your merc friends keep saying they are heading for the smoke in the distance, but there was no damn smoke in the distance! Sure enough there was eventually a bit of smoke when you got there, but not nearly enough to be seen from any distance.
– Do ladder-roots have to be bright orange? We aren’t thick you know. We could probably find them alright if they just looked like regular brown ladder-roots. The climbing animation is also hilarious. Pro-Tip, while climbing, allow the right stick to control the camera! Amazing!
– The water looks shit. I think we can have real reflections at this point, do it. Make it happen.

Arbitrary Rating; 7 – Hmm, yeah s’pretty good.