Updated: May 28
Jurassic World Evolution, the game that I believed was destined for greatness and one that would bring back memories of the 2003 release Jurassic Park Operation Genesis game. Surely this new park management game, with how far technology has come since then, would be a raging success and add improvements on to what had already been a very well
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case; the game goes the same way as the park does in the original Jurassic Park film. Frontier had so much potential to make this one of the games of the decade, but they fell short of expectations. When you take control of the first island, Isla Matanceros, there is a keen sense of intrigue and excitement. This is the moment you get to create your dream dinosaur park. Your mind begins whirling with emotion and ideas about what you’re going to do first. “Do I focus on making enclosures straight away?” or “Do I prepare the park with decorations ready for the grand opening?” These were some of my first thoughts.
However, my dreams of creating this utopia for my dinosaurs and guests were ripped away from me. I soon realised that decorations were not part of this game and whilst this may not sound like a big deal in whole, I felt it was a big disappointment, especially after playing Frontier’s other games such as Planet Coaster. This leaves you to do the best you can with rather limited terrain tools of land modification, which include the ability to add trees and water. You attempt to make something the park struggles to be, beautiful.
Settling for second best you start your journey into dinosaur creation, and this sounds exciting, right? Well, not exactly. Firstly, you need to send out dig teams to uncover fossils and have them extracted, but without the option to skip ahead time you are forced to wait in real time. Once you return with your newfound fossils, you’re then required to retrieve some more, this is because your dinosaur species won’t be ready to be made without 50% of it being discovered. This grinding system really takes the fun away from being able to make the perfect dinosaur.
As well as this, not all dinosaurs are available at the start of the game. Personally, what I wanted to have is the king of the dinosaurs, the fearless Tyrannosaurus Rex, in my park to show off to your guests. Well this couldn’t happen; you will need to go and research the dig sites where these specific fossils can be found, which isn’t possible until a few islands later.
Now, assuming you have enough fossils to start the creation of a dinosaur, you get into the nitty gritty of gene modification. This will allow you to add traits such as intuitive learning, aggressive instincts and even change the skin colour. This is all providing you have done the research for these traits, of course. All these modifications result in a decrease of viability, meaning your embryo will be more likely to fail during incubation. This results in all that money you just spent on your parks next big feature potentially not surviving to see the light of day. Who knew gene splicing could be so complex?
One major issue within the game is how strong the small carnivores are, such as the Velociraptor. If these magnificent creatures are not housed with enough friends, they constantly become agitated and start headbutting the fence which ultimately results in breakage and escape. This often leads to the inevitable deaths of your first guests, resulting in multiple lawsuits. The biggest problem with this is no matter what fence you use, whether that is the light steel fence, electric heavy steel fence or even the concrete fence, these demons from the greatest depths of hell have no problem breaking them down.
This game, however, is not all doom and gloom and does offer some fun gameplay and throws some exciting challenges your way. My personal favourite being the creation of a genetically modified dinosaur, for the soul purpose of using it to fight and win battles for the security division missions. The overall aesthetics of the dinosaurs look amazing, they’re incredibly detailed. The physics in the game are brilliant too, each dinosaur moves in its own distinct way. Although, the base game is let down by a lack of content and features, I do have to praise Frontier for getting it spot on with the dinosaurs. After all, that is the whole point of the game!
The use of the gyrosphere ride attraction is utilised well and it adds another dynamic to your park with it offering guests the chance to get up close and personal with the dinosaurs, whether that will end well for them is another matter.
Finally, the DLC’s Secrets of Dr Wu and Claire’s Sanctuary do offer more progressive story content, it still feels a long way off what the game could have been, and ultimately leaves you feeling a little blasé about the whole experience.
In conclusion, the idea of the game is amazing and one that’s been done before, but with modern technology, the hype for it was serious. However, in the end, there was so much potential wasted on a project that could have been so much more, and surpassed Operation Genesis’s success. Having said that the game can be enjoyable in small bursts, and you can design some pretty cool parks, if you have the patience! I would recommend playing this game in short bursts, as it does offer some unique gameplay and can be fun. Other than that, there’s not much more to say about this game, other than if you are obsessed with dinosaurs then this is the game for you.