Much of my early gaming career was spent on my dinosaur of a dell computer in my basement. I would come home after school and boot it up to play Roller Coaster Tycoon for hours. As time went on and more subsequent releases came out I would repeat this cycle with each entry. Thus started my love for the simulation/tycoon type games. This love transferred into the Zoo Tycoon series where I would get my first taste at having dinosaurs in a game like this. When I caught wind of Jurassic World: Evolution because it seemed like it would be the pinnacle simulation game for anyone that loves dinosaurs. To a point, I was right, but mostly disappointed with the outcome.
Jurassic World: Evolution takes you to the world of the Jurassic series of movies. The goal of the game is to run 5-star parks on five different islands, one of them being a sandbox park with unlimited funds. To make an even more authentic experience, Frontier Developments even got Jeff Goldblum and Bryce Dallas Howard to voice their respective characters in the game. Unfortunately, the person who is trying to voice Chris Pratt fell short in the impersonation department. Elsewhere throughout the game are other forgettable characters like the heads of the science, entertainment and security departments.
These departments are where you will receive your missions from. You are able to accept contracts from each of these departments when they are offered to you, or every so often you can choose them. The contracts are easy to complete and net small rewards. The bigger accomplishments are called missions. These are given by the department heads and usually yield high reward. Completing each mission earns you favor with that specific department, but loses favor with the other two. In the grand scheme of things, these missions are in place for you to earn more money and gain access to new missions. Clearing missions will also give you the opportunity to research new things for your park like genomes and buildings.
Speaking of genomes, lets talk about the most appealing thing about Jurassic World: Evolution, the dinosaurs. These are some of the best dinosaurs I’ve seen in a video game yet. From the looks down to the animations, they are as close to lifelike as you can get. The prospect of having 40+ dinosaurs in a game like this is great, if the process to get them wasn’t so damn tedious. To start, you have to get fossils from digsites, which is nothing more than picking a space and waiting a certain amount of time for your fossils to be delivered. In an almost booster pack sort of way, the fossils are delivered for you to extract from or to sell. Choosing to extract the DNA will increase the genome percentage of a certain dinosaur which will allow you to incubate it once it hits a certain amount. This will allow you to hatch an egg for your favorite dinosaur. To further the fantasy, you can change the genomes of the dinos to change their stats and there are even genomes to change their colors. You then rinse and repeat this cycle until you get more dinosaurs. As far as interaction with the dinosaurs is concerned, you can hop in a jeep and take pictures and tranquilize the dinosaurs to put them out.
Changing genomes increases the viability and the price of each dino. You could have a T-rex worth two million dollars and one that is only worth six hundred thousand, it all lies in the breeding process. I will tell you now that you can get the infamous Indominus Rex but it takes a lot of time to do so. One of the more exciting things about Jurassic World: Evolution is watching the dinosaurs interact with each other. By this of course I mean having two dinosaurs fight. They actually make you have two dinosaurs fight as part of the missions given to you, this is supposed to increase guest excitement. The downside to this is that you can lose one of your better dinosaurs to a less valuable one over a fight, I’ve had it happen and it is disappointing.
Another huge aspect to these sort of games is building the park itself. The layout of each island is awkward at best and doesn’t have a lot of room for you to stretch your creative muscle. There are a good handful of buildings that you can get from fast food stands to hotels to viewing platforms for your guests. Each building as to be powered via power lines spread out throughout the park. It feels like the power lines aren’t really necessary and are shoe-horned in to have another resource to manage besides money and guest happiness. You have to build the necessary buildings like the research building, expedition building, power center and the fossil center. After you pick a structure to build you must wait for it to be constructed. This brings us to possibly the worst part of Jurassic World: Evolution, there is no speed up function. There is absolutely no way for you to speed up time in this game so everything happens in real time. Even an option to speed up the time by 1.5x would be nice.
Jurassic World: Evolution, in it’s current state, is a mediocre entry into the simulation genre. The tediousness and slog of trying to get new dinosaurs outweighs the beauty and grandeur that they behold. A dry cast and forgettable performances from big name actors fails to carry this Jurassic game into greatness. No speed up function really takes this game down a peg, making players wait in real time for things to get done in the game. Jurassic World: Evolution is only fun if you like waiting around for things to happen. The dinosaurs alone are not enough to save this title. Heres to hoping that Frontier Developments chooses to update and support this title as the new movies come out (implement a speed up feature).
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Review statement: The copy of this game was supplied by the developer for the sake of this review.