We Don't Get Mad, We Get Stabby

First hands-on impressions of Turok's multiplayer. Poke poke!
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: December 4, 2007
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For some stupid reason, despite having seen the game (albeit briefly) a multiple points along the development timeline, we haven't actually kicked up impressions. Maybe it was because until now, developer Propaganda Games hasn't shown the PS3 version of their baby and has instead defaulted to their lead platform, the 360, to show off the game.

That was certainly the case during the first official unveiling of Turok's multiplayer modes, which harkens back to a simpler time when vanilla Deathmatch and Capture the Flag Modes were all one needed to get hooked on playing a game online with other people. Now, say what you will about the state of online gaming these days, but with virtual carrot dangling offered by way of constant, progressive unlockable stuff in games like Resistance and Call of Duty 4, the decision to drop 16 people into a map armed with a handful of fairly standard guns, a knife and maybe a raptor or two is undeniably ballsy.

Ah, yes, we said a raptor or two, good eye. Yes, just as in the single player game (brief details on which we'll share in just a bit), using dinosaurs offers at least a limited amount of strategy to bolster the usual bit of running and gunning and knifing. The knife, in fact, is arguably Turok's biggest differentiator (yes, even more than dinosaurs) -- if only because it's not a quick-swipe weapon like in other first-person shooters. Sure, you can charge in flailing wildly, but not only will it mean a very intimate meeting with a business end of a pulse rifle, you'll hardly do more than nick the other guy thanks to all his body armor. Remember, you're fighting marines here. Space marines.

There's an unshakable feeling that Turok is a bit of a throwback to simpler times. There are moments when the game gets creative -- offering a sticky bomb gun than either barf out proximity mines or a remote detonated with the primary/alt fires, or a minigun that can burp a hundred rounds a second normally or be set up as a remote turret with the alt fire are nice touches -- but for the most part, this is about brutal, bloody matches with gaming's closest equivalent to John Rambo. That means using a bow and arrow and that trusty knife to get the drop on someone without them knowing about it is just as important as unloading an entire clip into that dude charging you.

Though we haven't yet seen the multiplayer in action on the PS3, the 360 version offered a taste of what's to come when the game ships early next year. We played 8-on-8 matches across three maps: a volcanic CTF map riddled with multiple ways to grab the flag (or pod in this case); another map that worked for both CTF and DM games that had us charging across a series of pits filled with raptors to sneak into a heavily fortified base; and a third jungle-based map with overgrown bases littered with makeshift tree root ramps and plenty of chances to use height to snipe away.

All three offered plenty of visual variety, but also had us readjusting our tactics with every match. The tighter, more corridor-filled base map meant splash damage from rocket launchers (the alt fire of which opens up a side screen and after about three seconds of lock-on, an almost guaranteed kill) and the sticky bomb gun placed in strategic spots lead to plenty of remote kills, while the volcanic CTF match and its myriad ways to get to the capture pod had people constantly trying to knife each other in the back. Actually getting that knife kill offers a light risk vs. reward setup where it's not only timing-based, but opens you up to being knifed yourself should someone just wait for you to finish your kill (the game even has a limited "award" for chaining knife kills where you're stabbed after stabbing someone, and they in turn are cut down).
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