Review – Turok Remastered

Most people who had a Nintendo 64 back in the day have fond memories of the Turok games. Based off a comic book series from the 1950’s, the games were among the best shooters not only of the Nintendo 64, but of their generation as a whole. Despite featuring the worst field of view I’ve ever seen in a game, I still enjoy the first title in the series, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, one of the first titles released for Nintendo’s 64-bit console. After remastering both the first and the second games for PC in 2015 and 2017, respectively (you can check out our review for the PC remaster of Turok 2here), Night Dive Studios has finally released the Turok remasters for consoles, most specifically the Xbox One. Buying Turok was a no-brainer, and I’m glad to announce the game is even better than it used to be back in 1997.

An actual field of view for once

Turok plays like most shooters of its time, as in, it cares as much about providing players with a story as the titular character cares about his enemies’ health and safety. Basically, if you wanted a bit of lore or background, you either had to read the manual or buy the comic books (it’s amazing how very few people know that Turok was initially a comic book hero).

All you’re told when starting a new campaign is that you need to collect keys to open new levels, and then you take control of Turok, wielding nothing but a knife and a bow with a few arrows. You’ll eventually pick up more conventional weaponry like a pistol, two shotguns and a rifle. And you’ll also pick up some “unconventional” guns the series is so well-known for, such as a particle accelerator cannon that turns enemies into exploding statues and a nuclear supernova launcher. There’s no Cerebral Bore in here but that doesn’t mean the game is tame with its nonsensical arsenal.

Try to tame this guy, Chris Pratt

Gameplay-wise, Turok resembles other games from its era like Quake, as well as other more modern titles such as 2016’s Doom. There’s no autoheal, there’s no weapon reloading, you run like a maniacal sprinter at all times, there’s a slight emphasis on platforming, levels are immense and labyrinthical, complete lack of aiming assists and iron sights, and so on. The game is extremely fast-paced and might be a bit overwhelming at first for those who got used to the slower and more forgivable shooters of this generation like Call of Duty or Battlefront. There’s a shoot button, a jump button, and two weapon selection buttons. That’s it. The default camera sensitivity is stiff and slow compared to the game’s insane pace so it’s recommended to increase its sensitivity before starting a new game. The button placement is completely customizable as well, something you don’t see very often in console games.

How to make Jurassic World less boring

And now, for the actual “remastered” elements. The game looks a lot better than its Nintendo 64 counterpart, but its visuals haven’t been improved as well as Turok 2‘s remaster. Sure, the game has received massive improvements in its framerate, overall textural quality, lighting effects and amount of particles, but the characters and their animations remain as dated and robotic as they used to look in 1997. Animations haven’t been improved like they were in Turok 2, for instance. And graphically is mostly where Turok has been improved, given that its soundtrack is still the same MIDI-heavy collection of tribal tunes from back in the day. And that’s not a bad thing. Despite the dated instrumentation, Turok‘s soundtrack was a perfect fit for its tribal and aggressive setting.

We need more bazooka-wielding triceratops in modern gaming

Yes, Turok looks somewhat dated, and doesn’t play like your average shooter from this generation. What’s important is that Turok retained its fun factor, and there’s nothing else I’d want from a game like this. Being able to play one of the best shooters of the 90’s with revamped textures, 60 frames per second, and an actual field of view for once is amazing, and made what was great even better. With Turok 1 and 2 brought back to life, one can only wonder if Night Dive Studios will give Turok 3 the same treatment, or if they’ll finally deliver a new title in the series, and make us forget about that pathetic 2008 reboot once and for all.

Graphics: 6.0

It received great improvements in framerate, textures, lighting and particle effects, but the character models still look incredibly dated.

Gameplay: 7.5

Fast-paced to an insane degree, you’ll need to increase the aiming sensitivity in order to keep up with the game’s pace. The entire button placement can be customized, which is a plus.

Sound: 8.0

The soundtrack is still MIDI-heavy, but there’s no denying the tribal sounds are a perfect fit for the game’s setting. The weapon effects and gore screams are still as good as they have ever been.

Fun Factor: 9.0

Turok was fun back in 1997, and it still is today. There’s no other way to put it.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Reviewed on Xbox One.
Also available on: PC