Turok for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 was first shown at E3 2006, but in the 14 months since the show, things have been strangely quiet on the dinosaur-killing front. The futuristic first-person shooter has finally surfaced again, and we jumped on the opportunity to play for a few minutes and kill us some dinosaurs.
You'll play as Joseph Turok, a black-ops soldier who is part of Whiskey Company. Joseph's former mentor in the black ops, Roland Kane, has gone rogue and left for another planet for an unknown reason. Turok and his team are sent to bring Kane back, but the mission goes to hell when their ship is shot down and crashes on a mysterious planet. Your objectives are to survive, find your fellow soldiers, and capture Kane.
We started approximately one-third of the way into the game and found ourselves in the middle of a dense rainforest. We were immediately impressed with the game's visuals--everything just looked and felt realistic. Our mission here was to investigate some wreckage, so--using the tall, thick grass as cover--we cautiously made our way toward our objective by following the arrow on the Halo-like onscreen indicator. Just as we turned a corner, we stumbled upon a guard dressed in black and wearing glowing red goggles. We immediately shot him in the chest with our shotgun. This should have put a kink into our plans to stay quiet, but a helicopter landing a few hundred yards away masked the sound of the gun.
We tapped the D pad to switch to our knife and continued to move through the dense cover. We then crept up slowly behind a guard, hitting the right trigger to execute a stealth kill. The camera cut to a third-person view to show Joseph kick the legs out from under the soldier and then pounce on his chest, stabbing him dead. When we reached a ledge we looked below and caught our first glimpse of a dinosaur. Two raptors were walking around, seemingly unaware of our presence. After a short moment they headed off to do whatever it is raptors do. It turns out that they attack. One of the raptors had circled around behind us, making his presence known with his razor-sharp teeth. As we scrambled away he lunged again. As he attacked, a right trigger icon appeared; we quickly pressed the trigger, which started another cool cutscene where Joseph manhandled the raptor.
As we continued toward the wreckage, we got an opportunity to chuck a few grenades and even use the series' trademark crossbow, which was a lot of fun. You can fire rapidly by tapping the trigger, but the arrows won't travel very fast and consequently won't do much damage--it's even possible for the victim to just pull the arrow right out. Holding the button longer will give you more power, but you'll have to time it just right, because if you hold it too long your arms will start to shake. We also got the opportunity to dual-wield a pair of machine guns, and a futuristic gun whose secondary function was to fire grenades.
One of the things that impressed us most about our time with Turok was the artificial intelligence of both the soldiers and the dinosaurs. One of the game's developers grabbed the controls and showed us some of the dynamic AI. He made his way to a raptor nest that wasn't far from a group of enemy soldiers. He shot a flare down to the ground, and when the raptors went over to investigate, they noticed the soldiers and attacked, doing our dirty work for us. Pretty cool stuff indeed. Our demo ended when we ran up behind a guard and stabbed him. We got the kill, but the dispatched guard had a buddy nearby, and instead of standing there oblivious as is so often the case in many games, the fallen soldier's comrade wasted no time in drawing his weapon and killing us.
Our time with the game was enjoyable and left us wanting to play more--but we'll have to wait awhile. Originally slated for Q3 2007, Turok will now ship simultaneously for the PS3 and Xbox 360 on February 5th.