Hands-on with Turok’s multiplayer: STAB STAB STAB!

Last week, I got some hands-on time with Turok’s multiplayer at an event in San Francisco. The event was held in a ballroom, but you never would have guessed it, as they went all out on the set up. They had tents, dozens of plants, and camouflage netting to give the feel of it being an actual jungle … a jungle with an open bar and big screen TVs.

I got to mess around with some of the weapons, played on a few of the multiplayer levels, and stabbed a bunch of people. Read all about it after the jump.

[Editor’s note: I’ll have a hands-on on the single player demo they gave me later on in the week.]

Only three maps were available for everyone to play on: “Testing Grounds,” “Invasion,” and “Fire Storm.” You can see “Testing Ground” in the above video, and you can check out the other two levels by following their respective links. Aside from the obvious differences (“Testing Grounds” is in the jungle, “Invasion” in a volcanic valley, and “Fire Storm” is set inside a giant industrial complex), they all felt more or less the same. Each end of the areas were huge, and the maps would bottle neck towards the center  — sort of like an hour glass. The only difference from all three maps worth mentioning was on “Fire Storm,” where you could climb up to different heights and get a good vantage point with a sniper or rocket launcher.  

One nice and unique addition to Turok’s multiplayer is the raptors. Yes, as well as fighting your opponents, you have to worry about the random raptors that wander into the battlefield. As awesome as the raptors sound, they’re extremely easy to take out. Right before the raptor takes a bite of your face, a context sensitive button will appear that you have to press to get out of the raptors grasps. If successful, you kick it away and use your knife to stab the raptor right through its skull. 

Only three multiplayer modes — deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture the flag — were open to us. I saw that there were several other modes on the menu to choose from, so expect more modes to be shown off at a later date.

Whoever is the host of the multiplayer also sets what the weapons will be on the map. All the weapons are divided into different sets. There was the “sniper set,” which included a sniper rifle, pistol, crossbow and knife. The “assault weapon set” included pistols, submachine guns, shotguns, an alien-like machine gun and knife. The final set we got to play with was called the “detonate set,” that had rocket launchers, an alien sticky gun grenade launcher, pistols, another alien-like machine gun, and knife.

Every gun has an alternative fire which reminded me of Perfect Dark 64. For example, the shotgun can shoot out a flare, the alien machine gun can shoot out a stun grenade, and the pistol can switch from a single shot to a burst shot.

The best alternative fire guns are easily the shotgun and the alien machine gun. With the shotgun’s secondary fire, you can shoot out a flare that will attract any of the dinosaurs. The flares will stick onto players bodies, too, so if a raptor sees this, it will attack that player. With the alien machine gun, you can shoot out a stun grenade that will cause the player to fall over, something I’ve never seen done in a game before. The player will get back up, but if you’re close enough, you can run up to the knocked out player, and stab the s**t out of him. 

Another neat thing with the weapons is that you can duel wield most of the guns in the style of Halo, so you can mix and match all sorts of weapons. Want to duel wield the alien sticky grenade launcher with a shotgun? Then go for it! 

In my eyes, the knife is easily going to be the best weapon of the game though. Often overlooked as a last resort weapon in most games, Turok has made the knife into an extremely awesome tool. If you’re close enough to an opponent, a context sensitive button will appear on the screen letting you know it’s the perfect time to strike. Once you do, the game goes into third- person view as you get to watch your character stab your opponent. There are different ways to stab people, too — slice open their chest, jam it at the base of their skull, straight down the top of the head, as well as a few other motions. As awesome as this is though, you’re left vulnerable to attacks, as you can’t break away and this is all happening in real time so anyone can shoot you … or stab you.

A lot of us playing in the beginning wanted to only stab each other. It was fun running around in circles trying to stab the other guy before he got me. It’s also not as simple as just driving the blade into your opponent. You have to wait until the context sensitive button appears before delivering your deadly blow.

Two other things worth mentioning (or bitching) about are the ladders and rolling. When you climb a ladder, it switches to third person and is agonizingly slow. Worst of all, if someone is standing at the very top of the ladder, you can’t climb all the way up. You get stuck at the very top of the ladder, and have to wait for the player to move out of the way or climb back down. This also leaves you open to fire. With rolling, it’s a great idea, but bad execution. You have to hold the jump button and the directional button at the same time, which sounds simple, but is hard to pull off when you’re in the middle of a fire fight.

Overall, I really enjoyed the multiplayer. The graphics were fantastic (Turok started life on the Unreal 3 Engine, and was later heavily modified), the weapons are fun, and some of the gameplay elements (like the dinosaurs) make the battles interesting. It remains to be seen whether or not Turok’s multiplayer will make this a must-have title on it’s own though. I really did enjoy it, but I can’t see this taking me away from my other online FPS games. 

I’m really intrigued to see just how free roaming the single-player campaign will be. Some of the team members at the event were playing through the campaign, and kept stressing of all the ways you could make your way through the levels (killing nobody, sneaking around MGS style the whole time, guns blazing, etc). I’ll be bringing a hands-on report on the single-player campaign later on this week.

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Hamza Aziz
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