Nightdive Studio (remaster) Acclaim Entertainment (original developer) (studio)
13 March 2017 (released)
23 March 2017
Turok 2 is the highly successful sequel to Turok: Dinosaur Hunter which came out on the Nintendo 64 in 1998. The title has been fully remastered by the talented guys at Nightdive studios who are also working hard on the upcoming System Shock remake. Thankfully the Turok 2 Remaster has had a great deal of polish and talented engineering to make it a stronger retro brought into the current gen of gaming.
Where the original game built a solid foundation for an engaging FPS, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil pushed further with immense action, a visually satisfying gore system and an expansion on mission structure and world design. The original Turok was praised highly upon its release but it’s clear to see now days that it required depth and variation. Turok 2 indeed brought those elements making it questionably one of the best games in the 90’s. But nearly 20 years after its original release, does this highly renowned sequel still hold up just as well compared to today’s market?
Players take the role of Joshua Fireseed, a young warrior who’s been teleported to a mysterious world where he’s greeted by an alien named Adon. She explains that Joshua has been called by the Elders of the Lost Land to defeat a powerful alien entity known as the Primagen. This entity has been imprisoned for generations but has now gathered a legion of followers who are driven to destroy The Elders and reclaim the Lost Land. The Primagen wants five Energy Totems to be destroyed which would in return free him and allow a shockwave to destroy the known universe.
As Joshua, players will traverse sections of the Lost Land and defend the Totems from humanoid dinosaurs, the undead, giant insects and a race of brutal ape like warriors. Along with protecting the Totems players will also have to complete other objectives such as saving imprisoned children, lighting distress beacons, closing creepy looking soul gates and obtaining keys to unlock new areas of the Lost Land. As you progress through the Lost Land, Joshua will acquire an array of deadly weapons and skills, which will make him the ultimate threat when confronting the Primagen.
Turok 2 was developed with a focus on expanding mission structures allowing more depth and interesting dynamics to play a bigger role. This helps greatly to relieve the repetitive nature the original game had. The completion of certain mission objectives played an important part on the end result as failing the more important tasks could result in the bad ending. This was a simple addition but definitely a great inclusion that was rarely seen in FPS games.
Turok 2 offers a great variation of mission objectives, methods of exploration and an expansive arsenal that delivers a satisfying edge to the mayhem. It’s not simply just finding keys but rather feeling more connected with the world around you and having a more meaningful role on the whole. Along with an improvement in mission structures, the Lost Land itself looks pretty glorious, branching out into different themes such as cyber punk, Egyptian, tribal and colourful alien strongholds. There are plenty of interactions with the environment as you locate secrets, explore for new weapons and even take part in some awesome set pieces that include riding large dinosaurs with mounted rockets launchers.
While the game offers an excellent amount of content within each of the six levels, there can be an overwhelming sense of complexity to the level design. Many of the environments have multiple layers, sub sections and often require players to travel in-between them via portals. Normally this is not a major problem but having to find all the vital components can leave you a little bewildered if you haven’t done so on the first or second run. As said this isn’t a big problem but later stages such as The Lair of Blind Ones which are made up of dozens of puzzles and repeating corridors can be fairly tedious.
However there is more of a compelling nature to exploration as players will have to acquire certain powers in order to explore certain domains. Joshua will along his venture find scared feathers which he’ll exchange for powerful talismans. These allow him to swim through poisoned rivers, walk on lava and make epic leaps to reach hard to reach places. All this encourages exploration but allows a good sense of pacing and the rewarding nature to be more enjoyable.
Gunplay is extremely satisfying, if not brutally intense at the best of times. The array of weapons Joshua will obtain is pretty awesome with the likes of the Tek bow, shotgun, plasma rifle and the Firestorm canon (pretty much an epic minigun). Then of course the Cerebral Bore, which fires a homing projectile that latches onto the head of an intelligent lifeform, drills into their skulls and explodes. Just plain awesome! Overall the action is solid and never did the pacing or flow become tedious thanks to the weaponry, diverse enemy designs and set pieces.
There’s even a side story of sorts (it does set up Turok 3 rather well) where Joshua is ambushed by minions of the “Oblivion” and he must survive these ordeals to progress. The result of successfully surviving these ambushes offers parts of a nuclear weapon, which just engages players more so to follow this path of the story.
What did impress me was the highly innovated gore system that looked amazing considering this game came out 20 years ago. I hadn’t seen a gore system like this at the time until I played Solider of Fortune. The gore simply looks perfect and really added to the sheer brutality.
My main issue with the action side of Turok 2 is the inconsistent damage enemies take as it can vary from any given moment. In one encounter I can take out a Dino soldier with a well-placed shotgun blast from over several meters away yet another encounter could see me plant 4-5 shots without him flinching. This wasn’t a recurring problem to make it truly annoying but can be rather bothersome when you encounter a large number of enemies who also manage to deal a high amount of damage with quick fire rate.
Nightdive have done an amazing job at remastering Turok 2 with new features such as manual saving and the depth of options to customise the graphics and sound was greatly appreciated. This Remaster does without a shadow of a doubt do justice to the game unlike the PC port we got a few years ago. Nightdive have even managed to bring back the awesome multiplayer mode, which is just as fast, fluent and violent as the main game itself.
Turok 2 is a testament to excellent game design and considering this was made for the Nintendo 64 it holds up extremely well. The gameplay is solid, the visuals are still pretty decent and now the whole experience has been brought to a new generation of gamer from those magnificent people at Nightdive. I can’t wait to see what these guys do next whether it is the highly anticipated System Shock remake or even possibly Turok 3.
++ Intense and gruesome action
++ Great sense of exploration
+ Awesome polish and fixes by Nightdive
+ Improvements to gameplay from previous game
- Some tedious level designs
- Inconsistent enemy damage
A Steam key of Turok 2: Seeds of Evil Remaster was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review