Earlier this week, during a meeting with Touchstone and Propaganda Games, we had an opportunity to spend a couple of hours with a work-in-progress Xbox 360 version of Turok. Specifically, we were checking out a sampling of the game's multiplayer content alongside 15 other players. We didn't get to see anything of Turok's four-player cooperative mode on this occasion, but we were able to play a good number of team-based modes on three very different maps and with various weapon sets.
Only three gameplay modes were available during our demo, including team deathmatch, capture the flag, and assault capture the flag. A fourth multiplayer mode titled wargames will purportedly task opposing teams with completing numerous objectives to achieve victory, but further details appear to be under wraps for the moment. The modes on offer were really nothing that we haven't seen before then, which is why we're pleased to report that some of Turok's map designs and weapons were quite surprising.
Turok's weapons are divided up into sets for the purposes of multiplayer games, and the host of each game gets to decide which set is used. Examples of weapon sets that we got to play with during our meeting include assault, sniper, and detonate. The assault weapon set includes pistols, submachine guns, shotguns, plasma rifles, and the like. The sniper set limited us to using sniper rifles, grenades, and a knife. The detonate set, which ended up being our favorite on this occasion, afforded us access to--among other things--rocket-propelled grenade launchers with the ability to lock onto enemies, as well as a pistol that could fire both proximity mines and manually detonating explosives. Practically every weapon in Turok has two distinct firing modes, and while some of these simply dictate the rate of fire or the type of projectile used, others are far more inventive.
Two examples spring to mind: the incredibly powerful minigun and the no-nonsense shotgun. The minigun's alternate fire mode deploys the weapon as an automated turret that'll target any enemy who strays too close to it. You'll still get credit for the kills that it contributes to your team's cause if you deploy it, and if there are enough minigun spawn points on the map, there's no reason why you can't set up more than one turret. The shotgun's alternate ammunition is a flare that, when fired, attracts the attention of any dinosaurs in the area. Almost all of Turok's multiplayer maps feature dinosaurs in some way, and they'll attack you on sight if they can get to you. For example, two of the three maps that we were playing on were inhabited by raptors, but one of the maps confined said prehistorics to a man-made valley in the middle of an area that you'd only venture into if you were looking for a somewhat stealthy way to get behind the opposition. When attacked by a dinosaur, you'll be unable to use any of your weapons, but by mashing whichever button flashes up on the screen, you'll be able to fight off the offending creature long enough to either get away or pull a gun. Incidentally, you can also perform dodge moves in Turok, but it's too late for that if a dinosaur is already on you.
The map with the valley titled Firestorm is industrial in appearance, with plenty of underground tunnels and raised walkways. These cater to players with differing styles and weapon preferences. For example, Turok's knife is deadly if you can corner an enemy in one of the tunnels, while the series' trademark bow (complete with exploding arrows mapped to the alternate fire button) is a great sniper rifle alternative if you can grab a good position on one of the walkways.
Another map, Invasion, will see players doing battle in a volcanic area that's anything but stable. Bases at either end of the map are relatively safe, but the numerous large dinosaur carcasses in the middle of the map are a not-so-subtle clue that most of the area is anything but safe. Pools of lava are best avoided, and when the ground starts shaking, you'll find that new routes through the map are opened up as huge chunks of volcanic rock are shifted into new positions.
The third and final map that we played, Testing Grounds, was the one that felt the most like it belongs in a Turok game. That's not to say that the other two maps weren't a good fit, but Testing Grounds features caves and a jungle environment in which the game's raptors look very much at home. If you're in the mood for some chaos, dinosaur eggs can be shot to spawn additional raptors into the map, and the only place you'll be safe from their attacks is high up at one of the industrial-looking bases at either end of the map.
Turok's multiplayer maps, or at least some of them, are being designed to support both symmetrical and asymmetrical play, so depending on which mode you're playing, it won't always be an end-to-end affair. For example, when playing a game of capture the flag on Firestorm, we were surprised to learn that the enemy flag was positioned just a few feet from our own in what was almost certainly the largest map being shown. An impenetrable fence stands between the two flag points, of course, and none of the routes you might take between them are short or without danger. In assault capture the flag, the same map was used in a very different way, tasking the attacking team with shooting its way into a small stronghold at the opposite end of the map.
The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Turok are currently scheduled for release in February, while the PC game will be released later in the spring. We look forward to bringing you more information as soon as it becomes available.