Turok got its start on the Nintendo 64, a first person shooter based on a comic about a native american man that hunts dinosaurs...yes, that idea is quite absurd, and to be honest so are most of the games. The team that developed the first 2 games in the series went on to be part of Retro, creating the critically acclaimed Metroid Prime series. Unfortunately, the later entries in the series deviated from the atmospheric exploration that fans of the first games loved, and Turok quickly became a franchise that, frankly, no one gave a big fat dino turd about. A few years after everyone had basically forgotten the franchise had ever even existed in the first place, we got a full on reboot. While this reboot throws many things to the wind, such as the original plot, the real question is rather or not this game has redeemed the Turok name.
Simply titled "Turok" this is in no way a remake, and has no ties to the original series other than its name and concepts. as such, the story is entirely new and...well, it's pretty dumb. In the original games Turok was a dinosaur hunter,and was involved a ludicrous plot involving aliens, and dinosaurs, and alien dinosaurs for that matter. It didn't make any sense at all, and seemed like a B-movie reject, but that's what the fans loved about it. The issue with Turok's story here is that it takes itself way too seriously. This time around you play as Corporal Joseph Turok, an ex-black ops agent who is now on a man-hunt for his former brothers with his new team (which hates him because, why the hell not?) because...they...did something bad...apparently. They never really explain it all that well, so I honestly just threw it to the wind, and pumped lizards full of lead...and you know what? I enjoyed doing just that.
This time around Turok is aimed at a whole new audience, because let's just be honest, first person shooters have changed a lot in recent years. So while the Turoks of old are quite comparable to the exploration based Metroid Prime series, this Turok is much more comparable to Call of Duty or Halo. It still does a lot to set it self apart from these two series, but it's attempts at the sincerest form of flattery are obvious. The control scheme is standard for an FPS game, and the way to your goal is often littered with plenty of fodder for you to have fun with.
Turok is armed to the teeth with everything from modern machine guns, futuristic pule rifles, a compound bow, and my personal favorite - a survival knife. These last two items are were Turok most sets itself apart from other shooters. There are plenty of opportunities for stealth, and utilizing them can make the game not only much more enjoyable, but also not quite as hard. The bow zooms in far more than your other weapons, and because it is silent, enemies often won't know where the shot came from. Add in the fact that you can actually nail enemies to objects with it, and you've got yourself a winner. The knife can also be used to initiate assassinations, and these even work on dinosaurs if ties right. At one point, I took out an entire pack of about 20 velociraptors with just my knife, and man did I feel badass.
One thing you're sure to notice is that aiming is much more choppy in this game than others. At first, lining up some shots is a chore, but after playing for a bit, I started to adapt to it and became quite proficient. The problem is that I shouldn't have too. First person shooters on consoles tend to use an auto-aim to help steady your shots, but this game almost seems like that feature was neglected entirely. On a more positive note, while certainly more CoD-like the game does still retain some of that famous atmosphere. When you're walking through lush vegetation alone, and suddenly hear a grumbling noise only to end up begin chased down by a T-rex you stand no chance against, your heart starts racing. The game is full of atmospheric moments like this, and I absolutely love them.
Another cool feature is that you can pitt enemies against each other...well, sort of. The enemy of your enemy is your friend, so to speak, as dinosaurs are just as interested in having enemy soldiers for dinner as they are you. Because of this, an enemy soldier may kill off a dinosaur for you, or vice versa. Alternatively, they could also cause distractions. It really changes things up in the heat of battle, and watching your enemies get devoured is pretty sweet.
Graphically speaking, this is as close to a mixed bag as you can get. human character models are outdated and ugly, and the environments occasionally look kind of muddy. Where this game shines is dinos and gore. The dinosaurs in this game look amazing, and you almost feel like you could reach and touch their scaly skin. On the same note, blood looks hyper realistic as it shoots from wounds and stains carcasses. Guns also look very outdated, which is odd because such emphasis is placed on them. Each gun has a secondary fire mode, such as launching flares. Turok was always known for its weapons, and this time around most of them don't compare to what you might be expecting. Inf act, despite how violent the game is, it really doesn't compare to the Turok of old, which was known for it's over the top violent weapons such as the cerebral bore. I mean, hell, the series is called "Volence Killer" in Japan!
Just in case you didn't believe me.
Turok is a huge mish mash of awesome ideas and failed execution. The story, while much more serious in tone than before, is laughable for that very same reason, and the aiming controls take a lot of adjusting to. Still, there's just something innately fun about this game. It doesn't really get old mowing down dinos, or stabbing them in the neck for that matter. I'm honestly surprised that there aren't more games with killing dinosaurs as the premise. Turok isn't going to make anyone say wow, and it is far from a AAA title like Halo, but it's also $5 now. What gamer is going to argue that stabbing dinosaurs in the face isn't worth $5?