Turok 2: Seeds of Evil (Xbox One Review)
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was one of the N64’s most popular titles. And with that success there would no doubt be a successor, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil. It trumps Turok: Dinosaur Hunter in nearly every regard, and for many that was a feat and a half. But with great strides towards creating a higher quality of game comes fallibility, and Turok 2 isn’t free of imperfections.
Decades have passed since Tal’Set destroyed the Chronoscepter, but that does not mean the Lost Lands are safe. With a new enemy, The Primagen, threatening the sacred lands, Joshua Fireseed has inherited the title of “Turok” to protect the world as his forefathers did before him. Turok 2 doesn’t waste any time in diving any deeper into Joshua’s backstory and focuses on the protection of The Lost Lands and anything that may harm them.
A new welcomed addition to the series is Adon, a female alien companion that advises Joshua throughout his journey. Being courteous enough to give players some insight on what they will face in Turok 2’s campaign. Along with that, players now have to undertake mission specific objectives before they complete a level, otherwise they’ll be forced to repeat the stage. Be it saving innocent civilians, destroying enemy equipment or a simple press of a button. All the while looking for Level Keys, the sole objective of the original Turok.
While keys are necessary to progress to the next set of levels, they’re less vexing to locate than they used to be. Level structure is less linear this time around but Turok 2 does well to place keys in transitional corridors between main objectives or centrally in wide open areas so that they’re much harder to miss. It’s just finding the correct path forward is the only problem. Your only indication of progress comes from checkpoints, indicating that players are going the right way.
Wandering what is seemingly endless corridors, Turok 2 at least gives you something to look at. Unlike the flat textures of the now fossilised Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Turok 2 has greater colour depth, vibrant lighting, proper shadows and some nauseous motion blurring effects — all of which can be edited in the game’s menus. There’s a clear contrasting factor when comparing them both. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is held dear in the hearts of many and is uncomfortably outdone by Turok 2. For starters, Turok 2’s level design leans on the convoluted side of level design. While roaming pathways lead you of course, players are further tormented by a liberal amount of teleporters and none are clearly marked as to where they lead. Getting lost in a network of look-alike corridors and branching passages almost had me looking up a walkthrough on where to go, but I persevered.
Your only respite is in Turok 2’s new checkpoint system. As I previously stated, checkpoints are the only way of signposting the correct path. These large structures can be interacted with to take you to see Adon. If in trouble she can quickly heal Joshua’s wounds, refill his ammo count (once per checkpoint) or zap his ass to another checkpoint. A sense of comfort and joy washed over me as I thought this was a sure mark of progress in Turok 2.
It wasn’t until I had made it through to the end of a few levels and realised that I had uncompleted objectives. This had me scurrying, searching every corner I could find but alas I was stuck. This is rather worrisome, as players can easily miss vital mission objectives simply out of how obscurely they are hidden. The objectives are so far off the beaten path and nestled in hard to see or reach places that you’d beat yourself senseless in search of them. It wouldn’t be as bad if it wasn’t for Turok’s returning respawning enemy mechanic which once again resulted in The Great Ammo Famine, a period in Turok: Dinosaur Hunter I thought was behind me.
Thankfully, manual saving is now a thing. No longer do players need to go in search of a save station to keep their progress intact. While this is obviously a huge positive, it doesn’t help the easily forgetful, those who are usually comforted by the safety of autosaves. I am one of those people. After 3-4 hours of straight gameplay without respite I accidentally trapped myself in some off-set scenery, and that was that. No friendly fire could help me here, I’d lost hours of progress. A word to the wise: always save.
And if the single player campaign has you puzzled or wandering astray too often, then multiplayer is still on the cards. Turok 2 sports the traditional style of gameplay that accompanies arena-based combat. Players spawn in, search for some heavy fire power, and proceed to blow each other to bits. Rok Match and Frag Tag are you standard game types. The former simply being Turok 2’s variant on deathmatch. Frag Tag is a scant more interesting as it randomly selects a player to spawn in as a monkey while the others try and hunt them down. Although, this being said, I could barely find a match online. The servers are now as dead as the once proud dinosaurs Turok idolises.
Even if you’re able to find a match, I’m not too sure players would be too entranced in Turok 2’s multiplayer maps. Many of which look very much like their N64 counterparts. A simple copy and paste job of textures in block rooms that’s plainly unappealing; like a bad community texture mod created as a joke.
Much like Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Turok 2 is also a rather dated title with a modern polish. A sincere adulation to a series that once was. For those looking to embraced fond memories of dino-hunting then you’ll find what you seek here. For those new and jumping in for the first time, then Seeds of Evil may be too dated to blossom an interest in the world of Turok.