Well, the Turok demo appears to have gone down like the proverbial cup of cold sick, so bearing in mind the fiery internet feedback to this game I was actually quite surprised that the full release is - initially at least - quite entertaining. It's all about the weapons, the environments and the dinosaur AI, and how expertly exploiting those elements results in a first-person shooter experience that is at least an intriguing departure from the norm.
It's just a shame that Turok commits so many gaming faux pas, from the repetitive, disorientating environments, past the uneven weapons balancing through to the frankly awful choice of checkpoints. You can't help but get the impression that this game could've been so much better with just some minor tweaks and small-scale creative changes, but as it is, both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Turok are simply not worth your gaming dollar.
It's also another in a long line of games to employ Unreal Engine 3 middleware, and in terms of cross-platform conformity, this generally tends to be a Good Thing. Up until now, games powered by the Epic engine have been technically excellent, and uniformly accomplished on both formats. Rainbow Six Vegas 2 and Stranglehold are just two examples of games that, minor graphical issues aside, look and play just as well on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Unfortunately, despite its technological underpinnings, Turok follows the more typical cross-platform development trend in being measurably superior on Xbox 360.
In terms of the game engine itself, Turok is undoubtedly sound on the Microsoft console, with a consistent 30 frames-per-second refresh, a pleasingly detailed environment, effective lighting and plenty of polished effects. The PlayStation 3 game, however, falls short on the same criteria - the game still runs at 30fps, but only 'thanks' to the removal of v-lock, which introduces a noticeable and distracting range of screen-tear effects. The lighting is also different; not off-puttingly so, but definitely not quite as good as the 360 game. Several of the game's special effects are also absent, most noticeably the motion blur which generally works quite well in the Xbox version.
The question of detail is something of a double-edged sword for the PS3 game. Undoubtedly, there are a few higher resolution texture effects being used in this version (the dino-wrestling screenshot in the comparison gallery is probably the most dramatic example) but this is off-set by a greater degree of pop-in. On PS3, the geometry and basic lighting often arrives first before the texture has streamed in from the disc. By and large then, the Xbox 360's DVD-ROM is managing to stream in the data at a faster rate than the PS3's Blu-ray drive as the effect is barely present at all on the Microsoft console, although Tom says he noticed it on his older 360.
By Propaganda Games' own admission, the studio led its development efforts on Xbox 360, and also expanded the Unreal Engine in order to create the lush jungle environments. Both decisions appear to have had an impact on the performance of the resultant PS3 game - what we have here is a serviceable enough conversion, but one that really should have gone through an extra round of optimisation before being released.