So upon hearing that the original N64 Turok and Turok 2 were getting a remastered release on Xbox One, I must admit I got a little excited. There hasn’t been a Turok game since the very average Xbox 360 game Turok Evolution which didn’t quite live up to its expectations and felt like a bit of a missed opportunity. The original Turok games however were known as being well made solid first person shooters in the late 90’s and had a hefty cult following, still even today people go on about the ‘classic’ games in the Turok series.
A part of me was a little disappointed that it wasn’t a new game or even a full blown remake of the originals, made from the ground up, taking advantage of the current generation hardware. As disappointed as I felt that this was just a remaster though, I went in with high hopes, excited to relive that classic gameplay, with its platform layouts and cheesy grunts while climbing up a ladder, taking out dinosaurs and humans with a bow and arrow while having a nostalgia trip that can only be achieved by playing a game like this. Unfortunately after playing it, it made me realise that Turok has not aged too well at all.
Don’t get me wrong, Turok is still a decent enough game for what it is, it still plays okay, albeit while feeling incredibly dated and the concept is still an appealing one, but it is just essentially more of a port than a remaster. I just don’t understand why an IP as big and as popular as this hasn’t gotten a reboot or even a remake of these original titles. Gameplay is identical to what it was over 20 years ago and feels responsive, but it’s somewhat limited in scope and actions feel very restricted. This is obviously down to how first person titles have evolved over time but it’s also an indication that there has been very little effort that has gone in to this remaster.
I would have liked the gameplay to have been tweaked more, with extra features added to actions like aiming and maybe a sprint option but it’s been hardly touched here, if at all. With these limited actions though Turok feels responsive and moving around is smooth and effortless, which is clearly down to the increase in frame rate, making everything in general a lot more fluid than it was all those years ago. The platform sections are as fun as ever and are one aspect that still holds its own within the gameplay as a whole. Apart from the obvious battling dinosaurs, those platforming sections were one of the best parts in Turok and it’s no different here.
The main upgrades in this remaster are of course the resolution and framerate. Visuals look sharp with the increase in the resolution making the overall picture look very crisp resulting in Turok being the best that it has ever looked. Having said that though, the textures haven’t been changed much, if at all and despite the increase in resolution making everything look a lot clearer and a slight increase in the distance rendering it unfortunately highlights the blocky textures more prominently, resulting in everything looking like a giant bowl of chunky soup. Again this is down to Turok just being a very half hearted remaster rather than a true reproduction of a classic game.
As disappointing as that is though, the framerate increase really shines and makes the overall feel of the game a lot smoother, adding fluidity to the movement and benefits certain sections, particularly combat and platform heavy areas. I encountered no slow down whatsoever and while the gameplay hasn’t evolved or been changed in any way, the framerate increase certainly adds to making it feel somewhat fresh throughout. All in all, Turok hasn’t really changed visually other than its resolution and framerate, therefore there hasn’t been any other upgrades in this department really which is disappointing, especially considering most remasters come loaded with updated textures and detail as part of the overall package, hence the remastered tag.
Look, the bottom line is that Turok is still a good game; there is no question about that. It’s incredibly dated and there are limitations within its gameplay mechanics because of its age, I appreciate that, but I feel that there should of been more to this remastered edition and I believe that this game deserved so much more than just a half hearted re-release, which is essentially what we have been given. The core Turok experience that made the game a cult hit 20 years ago is still present, but I guess I just expected more than what has been presented in this so called remastered package.
Yes the resolution is a nice increase and the higher framerate is also a welcome change but that’s it in terms of what has really been changed or improved. With that in mind I feel that the £16 price tag isn’t very justified and seems a little pricey for what we are getting as a whole. If you are a huge fan of the original Turok game and you have to own everything to do with it then this may, and that’s a hefty ‘may’ appeal to you, as I suppose it is the best version of the game so far, but if you are yet to experience this franchise and feel like jumping in for the first time, I would recommend that you wait until it comes down in a store sale at a much cheaper price point.