June 19, 2018
As a kid I was absolutely fascinated with dinosaurs and fossils. Some of them with long necks, others with small hands, some with sharp teeth, some with brains the size of a walnut! They’ve had a turbulent history, once the kings of the land and at the top of the food chain, but eventually crashing down to becoming nothing. Anyway, that’s enough about UK politicians, let’s talk about Jurassic World: Evolution. Baddumtish.
Hot on the heels of Frontier’s hugely successful theme-park sim strategy game, Planet Coaster, comes Frontier’s latest foray into the strategy realm - Jurassic World: Evolution, a game where you literally create your own Jurassic Park. Quite how this has never been done before frankly blows our mind.
The game’s concept is simple: build a dinosaur wonderland and tempt people to check out the beasts that once roamed the world millions of years ago. The game’s career will take you through the basics, from building enclosures to house the dinosaurs and how to tend to their needs, to how to research new species of dinosaur and how to make some serious cashola with which to grow your park even bigger.
After a few hours you’ll be juggling contracts from each of the game’s three factions – science, entertainment and security – while increasing the park’s rating through your island’s attractions or wide variety of dinosaurs – ideally both. With five career maps, each with their own goals and challenges to overcome, whether that’s frequent storms that can damage your park, making a park profitable again or building a park with very little space, there’s enough to tide the strategy enthusiast over for tens of hours.
On top of that each map has a faction mission to complete, which asks for very specific requirements to be met, and if you reach a 4-star/5-star rating, the game rewards you with other goodies, like a sandbox mode or a new strain of dino DNA, for instance.
For all of the lovely work Frontier has done on Jurassic World: Evolution, I didn’t really find the game challenging at all, and in actual fact it isn’t really that deep either. It’s as shallow as a baby velociraptor’s paddling pool. The game does make you work to expand your dinosaur repertoire through excavations, and see to diseases that break out in your park, as well as deal with saboteurs, but it’s relatively simplistic.
Once you get into a rhythm and learn the basics, the same strategy works in pretty much every scenario. Sure, there is a metric fuckton of things to research and nuances to take into account for each dinosaur, like Pachycephalosaurus tend to be better in threes, unlike most other herbivores who are okay in pairs, and Triceratops don’t like too many other dinosaurs in their enclosure. But once you’ve done that the rest is plain sailing. There’s not a great amount of variety when it comes to the game’s buildings either.
In terms of controls, it works quite admirably on consoles. Being able to control jeeps and helicopters to get down to eye-level not only boasts incredible detail in terms of surroundings, but both are intuitive, and more importantly, fun to control.
From an RTS standpoint, the controls are functional, if a little slow at times. Once you master the shortcuts the game becomes easier, but going from one side of the map to the other – and doing that constantly – can become a bit of a chore after 30 hours!
There is no disputing it though, Jurassic World: Evolution is one hell of a Jurassic Park experience, from the iconic score and the visuals to the main man Jeff Goldblum himself. There is enough to delight even the mildest of Jurassic Park fans. As a strategy game though, Jurassic World: Evolution is another strong outing for Frontier Developments.
It might not be deep enough to satisfy the long-term needs of your resident strategy enthusiast, but it’ll provide a hell of a lot of short-term entertainment and fun, and that, my friends is a win. It makes us especially happy that Jurassic World: Evolution isn’t one big pile of shit.
The musical score is excellent, as is the inclusion of Jeff Goldblum. The wannabe Chris Pratt isn’t as good as he thinks he is, though.
Jurassic World Evolution is a very, very pretty game, especially when you get up close and personal with the dinosaurs, or get down to ground level in a jeep, helicopter or in Gyrospheres. The game can suffer from frame-rate issues in busy, elaborate parks.
RTS controls on console are traditionally quite hard to master, but Frontier has done a pretty decent job here. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely functional.
With a five-island career to sink your teeth into and a sandbox mode, there’s more than enough content to keep you busy. It’s not a particularly deep RTS, but it’s still fun, nevertheless.
Jurassic World: Evolution actually has a really good trophy list. Great variety, some cool little creatives ones dropped in for good measure, and trophies that get you to experience all facets of the game. All in all, a very solid list.
Jurassic World: Evolution might not be the deepest RTS out there in terms of options and mechanics, but as far as Jurassic Park experiences go, this is probably the best one that exists out there.