It has finally arrived. The game I’ve been excited for since it was revealed to be in development, Jurassic World Evolution. Ever since I was obsessed with Jurassic Park Operation Genesis I have been eagerly waiting for another game like it on the next gen platform and by God was I not disappointed. I can honestly say JWE has been the first game in a long time that I have been addicted to. It’s not perfect however but it very nearly is.
The game is essentially a park building management game with the park being your very own Jurassic World. It looks and controls just as it should with this type of game. The controls are easy to use and don’t seem out of place on a console at all. This was one of my first concerns when I heard about the game. Was I going to be missing out on the immersion of it on the console by trying to play with fiddly controls that are often the case with these kind of Management games? With a sigh of relief I found myself acclimatised to the controls by the first dinosaur I incubated, which was the struthiomimus, or the Dino Ostrich as I nick named them.
In order to gain access to dinos to bring to your park, you need to send dig teams to sites around the world to find specific dinosaur fossils so you can extract DNA from them. When you first start out most sites are locked, and only a few dinosaurs are available to excavate. More become available as you progress through the Islands. After you have secured enough DNA to create a dino you have to incubate it in a Hammond creation lab. Then just like that, your dinosaur is released into an enclosure you have designed.
One of the best aspects of this game is when you release a dino you have just incubated into the enclosure the camera snaps to the dino with some awesome music to accompany it. I found this fascinating and I found myself leaving the camera on it and following it around to see what it does. After a small cut scene the stats of this dino pop up with its comfort levels. Soon you realise you need to modify your enclosure as she isn’t very happy. Everything is an issue to make your dinosaurs happy some need more forest than grassland, some like a lot of company, some don’t. Rest assured you will want your dinosaurs to be happy or you will spend most of your time repairing fences and trying to knock out rampaging Raptors that are tearing your guests apart.
One of the most frustrating parts of this is the fact that I’m not sure the entire enclosure is a factor in the comforts of your dinosaurs. I found my Brachiosaurus (the big tall ones with a bump on their head) where particularly fussy depending on where they were standing at the time. If they stood next to the fence they would generally just attack it and get out. However if they are in the middle of the enclosure they were great. It led me to believe that their comfort is based on an area around each dinosaur. I hope this is fixed in an upcoming update as it just made me angry. I loved sending my dig teams out and excavating trying to 100% each dinosaur in the game. Unlike most other park building games JWE has contracts and missions you can complete to gain more money. I loved this part of the game. Usually you would have to place a new building and just wait around for your money to go up so you can place something else. In JWE you can request a contract for three divisions. Security, Science or Entertainment. It added that extra bit gameplay that really keeps the game fresh while playing.
Now for the bad things. The first thing I noticed was the cycle of the day and night. while different islands have different times of day, and is changeable on the sandbox map There was no actual cycle. Why not? I would have loved to have seen different dinos in my park behaving differently during the night or day. Having my shop sell night vision goggles during the night so guests could go watch my nocturnal dinos doing their business at night would have been great. Why can I not hire groundskeepers to keep my park clean and tidy? And why aren’t my guests bothered about mess? Can I not customised my paths in any way with bins, benches, plants or signs? All my buildings look very similar and I found it hard sometimes to differentiate from my excavation building and my ACU building. Where are flying dinos and water dinos? Dino fighting lacked the diversity in animation to keep them interesting. Adding these features would make this game a 10/10 game for me, but unfortunately they slightly missed the mark with this one. Again these are tiny issues I still am in love with this game.
JWE looks amazing. From the dinosaurs textures to the weather I cannot fault the graphics in anyway. There were a few glitches in my playthrough. For instance my dilophasaurus would just walk through my enclosures… just one of them. The rest worked normally but this one I got so annoyed with I fed him to my t-rex. Some of the guests annoyed me too there was no real diversity in guests. Yes some were wearing scientist cloths and some were black or white and some gathered (very close together) to represent families. But where are the kids? Why do my guests not walk into my clothes shop and buy one of the t-shirts and come out wearing a t-shirt? I feel guests were more of a nuisance than people I cared for. Driving the jeep I just got annoyed with them being in my way. Hopefully more focus is made on the guests in the future by the devs to make them a focus for the player.
The music is amazing and fitted well with the whole Jurassic park franchise with little twinkles here and there from the original score which is enough to bring a tingle of nostalgia into any JP fan. I cannot fault the music in any way. The actors too were amazing especially the great Jeff Goldblum reprising his role and Dr Iain Malcom. Dino noises were amazing. Audio was perfect. Not much to say about it! The game has so much in it to keep you coming back. One main thing is to try and gain a 5 star park on each island which isn’t as easy as it sounds. DAMN YOU ISLA PENNA. Also with DLC’s on their way featuring updates and dinos there will always be something to come back to your parks for. The game price is well worth it if you are a diehard Jurassic Park fan. In fact even if you just slightly like dinosaurs you will love this game.
Jurassic World Evolution definitely lived up to the hype in my eyes. Although lacking in some areas I genuinely believe the devs will be working to make this game the very best Jurassic Park Building game in history. If you are looking for a game to buy this month, make this one the game you buy.