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Jurassic World Evolution

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 27 - 2018

It’s a freaking dino park!

 
Let’s be honest. You see a big blockbuster movie being released, and then alongside happens to be a videogame that ties in with the movie, and the default reaction would be that the game will be a cash-in of dubious quality. It is to be expected considering the number of movie tie-in games that are not even worth the price of a cinema ticket (and my local cinema is really cheap).

 
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But when the blockbuster movie happens to be part of the Jurassic Park series, and the game is developed by Frontier Developments, those behind the great Planet Coaster, and will see the player building and managing their own dinosaur theme park, then there is reason to be optimistic. Welcome to Jurassic World Evolution – cue the theme tune.

 
Park builders have long been popular among gamers, and the idea of extending theme parks with something as dangerous and awe-inspiring as dinosaurs will surely play to the dreams of anyone who has watched a Jurassic Park movie over the last 25 years. Jurassic World Evolution may not follow the general bad quality of movie tie-in games, but still manages to be totally authentic to the movies, so much so that fans will recognise voices and even places, not to mention the dinosaurs themselves.

 
Accompanied by the sweeping soundtrack from the movies, players will be whisked off to Cinco Muertes, or Five Deaths, the group of islands featured in the films. The first island that players will be able to play with is Isla Matanceros, where players will be greeted by the dulcet tones of Jeff Goldblum, among others, guiding the player in the complexities of building and maintaining a dinosaur park.

 
As was the case with Planet Coaster, Frontier have done an exceptional job with the visuals in Jurassic World Evolution. Due to the very nature of running an entire park, a lot of the gameplay will be spent at something of a distance, looking down while taking in as much area as possible. But even before the player begins constructing buildings, setting up enclosures and dropping in dinosaurs, the island setting just looks stunning and so authentic to the movie. The dinosaurs really are the star of the show though, from a distance or close up, they look and sound great.

 
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It may come as a surprise to hear that running a dinosaur park is very involved and rather tricky. Evolution does a good job of introducing the basics on this first island, giving the player guidance as to what to build and why. However, some of the more complex choices in the game turn out to be absent in their explanation. There is a certain amount of trial and error involved in this game, and players will need to learn how to play the game before learning how to be successful. This is, after all, a business and making money should be above all other considerations. Without the money, things will grind to a halt quickly.

 
But to start with, players need only worry about the route to getting their first dinosaurs. There are three different factions within the game, concentrating on science, security and entertainment. These guys will hand out contracts for the player to complete, with rewards including cold hard cash and new buildings for example. Trying to keep all three groups happy is just one of many areas that the player will be splitting their focus. As I said, it’s not easy.

 
The player will have to drop a few buildings and then start sending out expeditions into the world to search for fossils, from which the DNA can be extracted to create dinosaur eggs. Even something as simple as this can go wrong, with the team failing to find any or getting the wrong DNA, and it all costs money, so again it comes down to money.

 
Then there is the joy of setting up an enclosure for the new dinosaurs, which obviously means making sure the right materials are used, and that the gate is closed. Players will have to concern themselves with making sure that the dinosaurs are fed and watered, and that they remain healthy, which may involve the occasional injection. The well-being of the dinosaurs is once again paramount to keep the money coming in and the park operating.

 
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Sometimes, the dinosaurs will get sick, and this could make them aggressive. Of course, some dinosaurs are naturally aggressive, and having an angry dinosaur escape from its enclosure and chomp down on a few park visitors is not going to look good, and cost a fair bit in compensation.

 
This is when the player gets in on the action, by sending out the team to tranquillise the dinosaur and then get it back into its enclosure. Here, the player can fly the helicopter if they wish to track the dinosaur, and then they get to use the tranquilliser gun to actually shoot the rampaging dino. It’s not the easiest to control, but it is fun. Once asleep, the player can call in a transport chopper to lift the dinosaur back into the enclosure, after they have made any repairs of course.

 
Taking care of all the research, hunting for fossils, caring for the dinosaurs and making sure that the visitors are able to grab a burger, all while reacting to whatever disaster is coming next, can take quite the toll, and things only get worse on the next island as they then have to deal with devastating storms. From one island to the next, players will be constantly inundated with disasters and crises to overcome, with never a moments peace to maybe enjoy the spectacle that they have created.

 
This is where the sandbox mode comes in. Jurassic World Evolution does come with a much more laid back sandbox for players to build the dino park of their dreams. The mode has to be unlocked first by playing some of the main campaign, but once open, players can enjoy a money free park building experience. While this feels like a much less focussed experience, with no real goals, it does mean that the creative players can make the most magnificent parks.

 
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Jurassic World Evolution may be a little of the difficult side, and some more explanation would be handy. But that aside, it is the best Jurassic Park game ever made. From simply turning a profit to not having any guests eaten, there are plenty of feeling of accomplishment in the game, and there is nothing quite like watching as your very own dinosaurs take their first steps into your park. It can be tough, but it is just so entertaining. Dino fan or not, Jurassic World Evolution is a first class building and management game.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 



 

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