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Jurassic World Evolution Review

Jurassic World Evolution Review

“[...] something simpler and more accessible than Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis.”

My feelings about this game are mixed at best, though I’d say positive overall. It came out with good intentions, but has taken a few missteps along the way. I think what the developers have tried to do here, is make something simpler and more accessible than Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis. Solely focusing on that objective, the developers have achieved precisely that. It’s a far easier and more accessible game for a wider audience, which is important when you’re dealing with such an important intellectual property like Jurassic Park.

Those missteps I alluded to however are still quite prominent, and detract value for those who were hoping for something closer to their previous experiences with Operation Genesis. I also think it’s a bit unfair to constantly compare the two, as they are both representative of their respective time periods, and what kind of games were/are appealing. The phrase “dumbed-down” has been thrown around a lot in regard to this title, and I’d half-agree. Some areas have increased in scope such as customizing dinosaurs, and others have decreased, such as the level of control and micro-management you have over the park.

“[...] a lot of the tedious park management work is taken care of [...]”

Overall, these changes serve a more common good, when you are focusing on a general audience for the game. You don’t need to manually place trash cans and seat benches anymore, and a lot of the tedious park management work is taken care of or simply not acknowledged anymore. This means that Evolution has a much more relaxed and toned-down atmosphere compared to Operation Genesis, with the only exception being the management of dinosaurs’ happiness/needs.

With all kinds of dinosaurs and park layouts, it’s difficult at times to match the needs of the dinosaurs in a specific pen. Having one or two dinosaurs die suddenly can be devastating for the rest of the group’s happiness levels, especially if it goes unnoticed for a while. The dinosaurs will start attacking fences and trying to escape when they are discontent. It definitely keeps things interesting and stops you from simply spamming a bunch of expensive dinosaurs to make easy money from increasing visitors, but I feel the dinosaurs needs are a hit-and-miss affair at times.

Switching to a positive note though, being able to customise your dinosaurs is a great and fun activity to do to help distinguish them from one another (assuming you value them as individuals, and not just as a means for generating profit). This goes so specific as to be able to modify your dinosaurs behavioural traits, making them more docile or more aggressive, etc. It also goes as far as being able to choose a customized skin for the dinosaurs, to help tell Velociraptor #17 from Velociraptor #25. Their A.I is quite sophisticated overall, so you’ll find them occasionally fighting each other, or wandering off in specific groups, etc. Nothing ground-breaking, but definitely seems like there’s more going on under-the-hood than most games.

“[...] A.I is quite sophisticated overall [...]”

Vehicles make a return, and handle better than ever. You can take photos as well as administer medicine/vaccines. Should there be a breakout or the need to transport a dinosaur, the ranger helicopter allows you to tranquilize dinosaurs, which requires a surprising amount of skill to pull off shots (though makes it all the more rewarding and impressive when you actually do land them). There’re also skins available to unlock for the vehicles as you progress through the game, so it’s not only dinosaurs who get the personalization treatment.

The amount of dinosaurs on offer is quite high, and more are being added through DLC as the months go by. It’s good to see the developer continuing to add to the roster post-release. The building types available to you are fairly varied too, but lack anything exciting beyond one or two big attractions such as the gyro-sphere. Most of the buildings are focused around secondary-gameplay mechanics, such as research and development. It would have been nice to see some more attractions or building types in the initial launch. With so many updates having come out so far adding new features however, it’s likely that more building types are a potential future addition.

As for the game’s difficulty, it varies. At points it coasts along smoothly, and on some islands the difficulty spikes suddenly due to a lack of land available. There are certain tricks and efficient building practices you can use to help get an advantage, but there are moments that require some creative thinking that seemingly come from nowhere. I wouldn’t say these moments ruin the game, but they do sometimes ruin your momentum without due cause. Sometimes these challenges are random such as sabotage attempts made by your rivals (taking out power generators, etc.), and sometimes it’s down to your park’s popularity rating and rate of income. The transition between relaxation and minor-stress isn’t always so erratic, but it does crop up occasionally.

“Is it an easy and relaxing game, simplified for casual players and fans to enjoy leisurely? Yes.”

So all in all, a mixed bag. Is it an easy and relaxing game, simplified for casual players and fans to enjoy leisurely? Yes. Is it a challenging game that tests your aptitude and knowledge of micro-management tactics and resource management? Sometimes, but rarely. Those difficulty spikes do harm the progression of the game for those who wanted a more sandbox like experience. To get that casual sandbox experience, you do have to complete a few missions before you unlock Isla Nublar, which allows you to play around to your heart’s content.

Overall a good game, but nothing stellar which elevates it into anything special or unique. If you’re a Jurassic Park/World fan, you don’t need to be a fan of the park-sim genre to enjoy what Jurassic World Evolution has to offer. Be prepared for a few moments of frustration, don’t expect everything to go entirely smoothly, and you’ll find something enjoyable to play here. Anyone who is a fan of the genre will be disappointed at the lack of depth available (if it’s a challenge you seek at least). If you’re a fan of the genre but want an easy-going game to relax and enjoy with dinosaurs as its presentation, then it’d be a good idea to give this game a try.

Good game. Casual fun.
— David Treharne

But David, think of the DINOSAUR COLOSSEUM.
— Eric Hartmann



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