Jurassic World Evolution Review
I remember renting a Playstation 2 from Blockbuster Video when they came out (Yeah, I’m getting old) and one of the games I rented with it was Sim Theme Park. Or Sim Rollercoaster…one of those damn simulation-build-a-theme-park deals, and I really loved that shit. Hell, believe it or not, strategy and simulation games are the bread and butter of my PC gaming days, but as I’ve gotten older it’s becoming more and more apparent that I just don’t have the attention span or brainpower to deal with them now. With that being said, Jurassic World Evolution tugged on my tiny heartstrings with that childhood nostalgia (Jurassic Park was my favorite movie for years) and the simple childlike wonder of “I made a dinosaur!!”
Speaking of those dinosaurs, they actually look fantastic and are the true star of the show in both gameplay and visuals. They were obviously given a great deal of attention and not only are they insanely detailed but also feature a huge number of different animations that bring them to life like never before One of Jurassic Park Evolution’s biggest draws for me was just simply clicking on one of my dinosaurs and watch it going about its day. The environment is lush, saturated with color and highly detailed. Blades of grass and trees sway in the wind, as do the certain building elements. The water and rain look great and the general atmosphere of a tropical storm is faithfully recreated and a sight to behold. Despite that,
Evolution doesn’t just count on you enjoying the game because you’re a dino nerd or a Jurassic Park (or world, or what the fuck ever) fan. There are some solid mechanics here, and unlike alot of other games in the genre, is pretty simple to jump into, although there is some actual depth here. That doesn’t mean that Jurassic World Evolution is the most advanced city-building sim that there is, because it isn’t. The game is pretty straight forward about development, you need this building to do this, then find fossils and research them to make dinos, research better buildings, research better dinos, build a better park, make more money. That’s about it in a nutshell, but what Evolution has going for it is the magic of the Jurassic Park universe driving you forward, making you want to build a bigger park and make more dinos. There is something satisfying about watching your first T-Rex walk out of the gate of your Hammond Creation Center.
If you’re thinking “Wow, that doesn’t sound like enough to keep me coming back!” and you would actually be right. Jurassic Park Evolution doesn’t have much replay value. There is a campaign mode that will have you building a park on each of the 5 islands, each with its own individual rewards and challenges, as well as a sandbox mode that allows you to set certain variants for your play. The campaign acts as sort of an extended tutorial, showing you all the ins and outs of running your digital dino Disneyland. While building your park, missions, or “contracts” are handed out by one of three divisions, Science, Entertainment, and Security, which can aid in the park’s growth by paying out for contract completion, as well as rewarding new items and research options for jobs well done. As Jurassic World Evolution goes on, and the player tackles more and more islands, these three groups begin to battle each other for your favor and will start to even sabotage the other divisions, sowing the seeds for eventual chaos. The sandbox mode makes for a few hours of fun building some of the most impressive (or crazy) shit you can. After you’ve built all of the structures and created every dinosaur however, there’s little else to do but move on to the next sim game.
Sometimes, you get hit with a shit storm of bad luck and it can be exciting, yet sometimes aggravating trying to get a hold of the situation and get your park back on track. You don’t to have 4 velociraptors on the lose when you run out of money, because while you’re letting your cash build back up to tranq the bastards, they are running around nom-nomming on your fucking guests. There are plenty of things that can go wrong in your park, on top of the tropical storms, dino diseases, failed incubations and more, you also have to take into account that you’re running a daycare for literal fucking monsters. Even though it really shits in your cereal sometimes, especially when you’re already financially strapped, it’s still entertaining to zoom in and watch a diloposaurus spit acid into the eyes of your customers and then pounce on them. One thing that I couldn’t get over is how easily your fences seem to break. No matter how much I seemed to upgrade my fences or build better ones, it seemed like they were always made out of fucking twine and my murder-lizards would constantly just waltz out and snack on the people-buffet.
One thing that I found to be a bitch is the fact that you can’t manipulate time in any way. In most sim games like Evolution that I’ve played, you have the ability to speed up, slow down, or stop time and those features are completely absent in this title. This creates some moments where you can go mop your kitchen while you earn enough money to build the next structure you need, but also makes situations where you can’t seem to get everything under control because you can’t do everything at once because time is still ticking. With this simple ability absent, it can cause situations that are unbearably boring or undoubtedly overwhelming, whereas with time manipulation, quite a few of my complaints could be addressed.
Although Jurassic World Evolution has a good variety of building types, random events, and a ton of dinosaurs to research and create, the novelty wears off after you finish the campaign and spend a few hours in sandbox. There is still something to be enjoyed here. For fans of the franchise, Jurassic World Evolution is actually one of the most solid movie tie-ins that I’ve seen recently. Believe me, for dino fans there is an element of excitement to “accidentally” putting a Triceratops and a T-Rex into the same enclosure and watching them duke it out.
I give it a...
Jurassic World Evolution at its base is a theme park sim game with the Jurassic World skin, however, although them simulation mechanics are a bit watered down, there’s enough here for fans of the films and the genre to have some fun.