Update: Turok Evolution

We report on the next Turok's multiplayer modes, and more.

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We gave you a bit of information and impressions on the Xbox version of Turok Evolution yesterday, filling you in on the story and new gameplay elements. Today we'll finish up our thoughts by offering more impressions of the game. Set for a September release, the multiplatform game is coming together to offer a gameplay experience that is befitting of the Turok legacy.

The cast of Turok Evolution is a batch of fresh faces that share similarities with people who followed in their footsteps. While we didn't get too much information on the game's story, we did get a chance to check out some of the people you'll be coming across in the game. Our hero Tal'Set is guided by Tarkeen, a wise mystic who offers knowledge of the Lost Lands and hints of Tal'Set's true destiny. The other members of Tal'Set's support system are Djunn and Pilot. Djunn instructs Tal'Set on the basics of combat and exploration, while Pilot brings Tal'Set up to speed on the ins and outs of flight in the game. Mayana, a fierce female warrior, is presented as a mysterious woman you'll encounter. We also saw an assortment of the various soldiers from Tyrannus' army. Finally, we got a glimpse of Lord Tyrannus himself and his dual forms--one small and wiry and another much larger and monstrous.

Outside of the main cast of characters, the game is populated with a variety of other faces. Acclaim's desire to make the world feel like a living environment has led the developers to include 32 different types of prehistoric and indigenous life. You'll be able to interact with the various creatures by watching them à la Discovery Channel or picking them off like a demented poacher on the loose. We got a brief taste of the local wildlife from the levels we were able to demo--small animals ran out of our way into the bushes as we explored the first level. We saw larger creatures drinking water in a clearing while pterodactyls flew overhead. A brachiosaur was also visible, walking off in the background just beyond the forest. Later, we were treated to velociraptors emerging from bushes, which alerted us to the attack by their motion as a pack of raptors neared. When flying on the back of a pterodactyl, we were also able to see a small herd of animals and enemy soldiers reacting to our presence. While still early, the small slices of populated jungle certainly looked promising.

In terms of the overall feel of the environments, there was certainly a definite difference from previous games. In addition to the outdoor areas we explored on foot and by air, we were able to check out an indoor level. A large space patrolled by enemies and featuring automatic barricades for them to hide behind in combat, the area offered an engaging taste of what's to come. As we explored the various passages, we were faced with a puzzle. To extend a bridge that would allow us passage deeper into the level, we had to trigger a series of switches. While basic, the challenge provided us ample opportunity to try out our small arsenal of weapons and get some combat time.

Combat in the game should be old hat to Turok vets, thanks to the game's control scheme. While the final game will support a variety of configurations, including one that's similar to that found in Halo, the default setup is a control scheme that Turok vets will be familiar with. You can aim and look around with the left analog stick, jump with the left trigger, and fire your weapon with the right trigger. Tal'Set's movement is handled by the A, B, X, and Y buttons. The white face button lets you crouch and the black face button triggers a weapon's secondary function when available. You'll use the D-pad to cycle through your available weapons. The Xbox controller's layout suits the game perfectly. The close proximity and rounded shaped of the face buttons makes moving and strafing a piece of cake. Control during flight is kept much simpler, giving you limited control over speed and direction, which allows you more time to focus on aiming your weapons and aerial combat.

In terms of what you'll be doing in the game, Turok Evolution is very story-driven and basically linear in nature. An auto-save feature saves your progress as you get deeper in the various levels. While the team couldn't reveal specifics, it did say that in terms of size, TE is the biggest Turok game yet. If you manage to complete the game, you might come across a number of secret features, which Acclaim is hoping to include if time permits.

In addition to the single-player mode, Turok Evolution lets you take part in multiplayer games. While we were able to test only a basic deathmatch, there should be quite a few game modes--like variations on capture the flag--to keep things interesting. The dev team also mentioned some bits of information on a few things to expect from the mode. You'll find a number of bipedal creatures to choose in multiplayer. Other multiplayer game types will be revealed in the coming months. While the game's frame rate takes an obvious hit during the four-player split-screen deathmatch mode at the moment, the team is working to ensure that the game runs at a solid frame rate by the time it ships.

The team's goal is for the single-player game to constantly run at 60 frames per second. It's not quite there yet, but the game is still in early stages. So far, Turok is looking pretty good. Look for more information on the game in all its console incarnations as it becomes available.

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