In the 25 years that its been since Jurassic Park first roared its way into cinemas, we have had many, many game iterations flood the marketplace trying to cash in on the craze. From RPG’s to first person shooters to battle royale showdowns, it is really varied how much developers have tried to create a winning formula and failed everytime. It is with this hesitation that I dove head first into Jurassic World Evolution, excited to see it was a sim in the style of Skyline just with dinosaurs. The game allows you to create your very own park with dinosaurs, attractions, it also includes power management, staff management, inventory while also battling storms that come through and devastate your park and disturbing the dinos. I was not prepared for just how much there is to do in this game and after spending a ridiculous amount of hours playing it. I am pleased to see it is the best Jurassic Park game I have ever played.
The game drops you right into your first island with the voice of Dr Ian Malcolm (and yes it is Jeff Goldblum) warning you of the dangers of what you are about to do. After a quick tutorial (and not a very in depth one) you need to send out missions to dig for new dinosaur fossils to add new dinos to your park. In addition to this managing your current dinosaur comfort levels and making sure you don’t mix too many species together as their comfort level may decrease and they will do crazy things like headbutt fences and break them or start a fight with another dinosaur and only one will survive.
Making sure that guests are entertained is also integral to your rating and income. You can add and manage restaurants, gift and clothes shops and really drill down into what items they sell and for how much, finding that sweet balance between guest satisfaction and profitability (or greed in my case!) I found myself often revisiting these options when guest satisfaction was down to try and push it back up. Your island rating unlocks the other islands as well as research for more items and things to unlock.
Graphically this game is drop dead beautiful. I played on the Xbox One X, which it is enhanced for and spectacular on the 4K screen. This was particularly noticeable when you release your dinosaurs from the Hammond Research Centre and you watch them enter the park. Although it is a little repetitive if you spend a long session playing, the level of detail is quite simply spectacular every time you see it.
The final island you unlock is home of Jurassic World and has some recognisable buildings and locations that really play into the movie aspects of the game. The increasing level of difficulty as you progress through each island was also extremely noticeable. What I enjoyed most about this progression was that it was voluntary. Once you unlock the next island there is no obligation to head straight there, you can stay on your current island and keep playing and unlocking items. You can also access island maintenance at anytime and switch islands with no penalty.
You can tell that so much love, time and effort went into this game. From using the voice of Jeff Goldblum to the individual and unique detail on every dinosaur, it is easy to get swept up if you are a fan of the series. Even taking the Jurassic World stuff out of it, it is still a spectacular sim game with incredible mechanics and unlock system that kept me coming back time and time again.
Overall Jurassic World : Evolution is the perfect accompaniment to the new Jurassic World film that has recently been released in theatres. Upgrading your dinosaurs with genetic alterations often give surprising results. The game has just received an update with more dinosaurs from Fallen Kingdom and will keep me coming back for more as there is so much more to do and explore. Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC right now.
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Review by Alaisdair Leith
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