Friday, 24 August 2018

Jurassic World Evolution ★★★★★

Jurassic times call for Jurassic measures…

2018 may be a year remembered for plenty of ups and downs, but it’ll also be the year that saurus enjoy arguably the best dinosaur film since the first Jurassic Park in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and to sweeten the Mesozoic pie, with Jurassic World Evolution we also got the first park building sim from the franchise since cult classic Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis.

With Frontier Developments (of Rollercoaster Tycoon and Planet Coaster fame) helming the project, all signs point to a game that fans of the genre and dinosaur aficionados alike could sink their teeth into. But would Jurassic World Evolution live up to the hype or suffer from a-reptile dysfunction?

Grab one big pile of s**t and let’s find out.

The Good

Firstly, I’m happy to report that this game plays marvellously, managing to strike a near perfect balance between the almost meditative appeal of park building sims and all the gleeful carnage that the Jurassic Park/World franchise is known for. As with most games of the genre, you’ll spend a good portion of your time gathering resources to level up, unlock more dinos and keep everything within ticking over nicely, a cycle that’s satisfying enough to sink hours of time into. However, the real fun begins when things start to go haywire; I’m talking power outages, freak tropical storms and the occasional dino deciding it’d rather be chomping on unwitting guests than staying in its enclosure. Dealing with these tribulations can be chest-tightenly tense and really helps to break up the pace of the gameplay. 

The pitch perfect gameplay is augmented by the fact Jurassic World Evolution is also stunningly beautiful. Each of the 42 dinosaur models look almost as good as they do on the silver screen, and the use of movie-authentic roars, growls and chirrups adds a layer of realism (not to mention a healthy dose of nostalgia). We’d strongly recommend hopping in one of you park’s trucks or Gyrospheres to truly take in the grandeur of your creations from ground level.

What’s more, it would be remiss of me not to mention that your narrator and guide throughout your prehistoric adventures is none other than Dr Ian Malcolm, voiced by cult hero and all in all ‘top lad’, Jeff Goldblum. Hearing his dulcet tones as he offers you sage wisdom is a nice touch for longtime fans of the franchise and offers a welcomed dash of his trademark irreverence.

The Bad

With all that being said and my overwhelming bias towards anything even remotely paleontological, this isn’t quite the perfect game. As is the case with most park building sims, you can expect a bit of a grind. This isn’t necessarily a criticism, but if you’re a member of the Monster swilling, Dorito munching Fortnite persuasion, it might be a bit of a culture shock.

Finally, where’s the marine reptiles or Pterosaurs (that’s water and flying dinos, for the uncultured few)? Without Mosasaurs or Dimorphodon available, you can’t reenact either Jurassic World film, which although only a slight grievance is still a shame. Hopefully, they’ll arrive as DLC before too long.

The Verdict

Jurassic World Evolution is one of the best park building sims in years, definitely of this console generation, and that’s before you throw in the cool factor that dinosaurs effortlessly bring. From the gameplay to the graphics, it’s very hard to fault anything about the game other than I wish there was just a little more of it! Life found a way… to make one heck of a game.

Sir Thomas Baker

Jurassic World Evolution at CeX

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