Remasters. We get those nearly in a weekly basis. Sometimes we are “graced” with some pretty terrible or pointless remasters, such as Silent Hill 2, the Jak & Daxter trilogy on PS Vita, or the Bioshock Collection version of Bioshock Infinite. Sometimes, however, we are legit graced with remasters that improve the quality of a previous game so well that they can easily be considered the ultimate version of such game, like Uncharted 1, The Last of Us, and Night Dive Studios’ last year’s release, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter.
Not even a year after Dinosaur Hunter, Night Dive yet again exceeded all expectations with this new remaster for its sequel, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil. Normally I wouldn’t bother to review a remaster, but the additions and improvements over the original game are so noteworthy and positive that this new iteration plays and feels like a new game of its own, so let’s start this review, shall we?
The first thing worth mentioning is the noticeable improvement in the game’s visual department. The original N64 game’s main couple of problems were the horrid distance fog (which limited the field of view quite significantly) and its somewhat slow framerate (sometimes reaching 15fps). This remaster fixed all of these issues.
The distance fog is now gone, and with this, the whole depth perception and sense of exploration has been revamped. For the first time ever I was able to realize how immense and well-detailed the levels are, how many open-ended possibilities for progression and exploration were available back there in 1998, but were hindered with the horrendous fog which was present in a lot of N64 games. You can now detect secret areas more easily, as well as avoiding being surprised by enemies which were hiding in plain sight, five feet away from you, but “invisible” due to the poor draw distance. This feature alone has pretty much changed the whole way you will play the game. To top this off, the framerates have been drastically improved, reaching 60fps without the need of having a powerhouse of a computer.
Other new much-appreciated visual additions were new enemy animations (much faster, much smoother), motion blur (something that actually fit in this remaster) and improved lighting effects.
While the lighting effects were indeed improved, there are moments in which they are used to an excessive degree, making some characters and places too bright and impossible to focus properly. The other complaint I have with the visual department is that, while there were indeed lots of amazing improvements, the character models were given little to no extra treatment. With the exception of Turok himself (who now looks like a somewhat decent mid PS2 era character), every single other character, from enemies to Adon, still maintain the same small amount of polygons and N64 era textures. When it comes to non-improvements, the same can be said about the sound department, which was left untouched for the most part, including the muffled voice work from the N64 era and poor sound mixing.
When it comes to the gameplay department, there were also significant changes, and I’m not just talking about using a mouse and keyboard (as you could do that as well in the original PC port of Turok 2, but less I say about that disaster, the better). Turok can now climb on ledges, which grants you new possibilites for level exploration, without compromising the original experience that much. A new hint system has been added, to help you locate mission objectives hidden within the immense labyrinthine levels (Turok 2 was famous for not holding your hands at all and for being quite a difficult FPS for its time), helping newcomers to the series along the way. Thankfully, you can turn this hint system off if you want to revive the full brutal experience from 1998.
The final much appreciated addition is online multiplayer. Remember how awesome the original game’s multiplayer was on N64? Now you can replay that, but with other friends across the globe, and with new maps and modes added along the way. I can only say one thing to the developers for this addition: THANK YOU!
All small problems aside, Night Dive Studios has still done a pretty excellent job remastering Turok 2, fixing a lot of its issues while adding new tweeks and gameplay features making this game the best Turok ever made. Blowing up mutant dinousar heads is still as fun nowadays as it was 19 (!) years ago. I am really looking forward to seeing what they will do to fix Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion, which was way too ambitious for its time to actually work properly. A must for FPS fans.
And remember, BEWAREOBLIVIONISATHAND!