June 18, 2015
With the latest Jurassic Park film smashing up records in a bid to prove that we all still love dinosaurs smashing stuff up, and eating stupid people, it was only a matter of time before a tie in game came along. Personally I’m still waiting for my Jurassic Park vs Godzilla idea to spring into action, but I suppose this will have to do for now. Mercifully it has been entrusted to the lovely folk at TT Games, so you know that no matter what it will poke fun at the source material.
From the get go that sense of humour is, as always, present and correct. As the stories are told almost shot for shot as they appeared on screen, only with less gory deaths and more slapstick humour (and Raptors wearing wigs). Indeed when you hear that opening refrain of the classic score, it’s hard not to think back to the sense of wonder that the first film always dredged up.
Unfortunately, that sense of nostalgia doesn’t last as long as it should do. It’s not long before you are mindlessly bashing bricks for LEGO coins and solving basic puzzles with a range of characters. As ever different skills are drip fed to you as you play through each story, with some able to climb walls, others able to decipher codes and still others able to dive into dino poop. In order to get you to sample as much of the game as possible first and foremost you’ll need to visit all four films to get enough skills to effectively start revisiting earlier locations and snag the oh so precious hidden loot.
While it is still as satisfying as ever to smash everything in sight, it really does feel like you are playing any of the last bunch of LEGO games all over again – only with a Jurassic Park texture pack over the top. Effectively then you are here for the story, but if you’ve seen the films then there will be no surprises there and if you’ve seen The Lost World and Part3 especially then the thought of revisiting those stories may be too horrifying to contemplate. SPOILER: hearing Tea Leoni’s character stupidly shouting for her son at the top of her voice in game makes you want her character to be eaten all over again. The regular levels are satisfying enough but the chase scenes are often bewildering and hard to control if you want to snag the hidden goodies.
Which leads us to another problem, the score of Jurassic Park is instantly familiar but do we really need to hear the refrain every five minutes? It pops up at serious moments, at comedic moments, when you build a small car etc etc. In fact it soon wears out its welcome. Not to mention that the voice work is all over the place. All of the actors seem to have had their voices lifted directly from the films and spliced into the game, but clearly someone didn’t bother to listen to them first. Some lines sound like they have been delivered through a blanket, while talking into a tin can down the world’s longest, darkest tunnel, while others are crystal clear. If you are going to make the game sound authentic then make the game SOUND authentic.
Still there is at least plenty to see and do. You can explore two massive islands and the titular Jurassic World park, not to mention a few sojourns off the islands as well. So content wise there is certainly bang for your buck in terms of exploring every nook and cranny to find the bevy of minikits, amber pieces, sick dinsaurs, photo ops and so on. Controlling the dinosaurs is fun too as you get to take part in the scene stealing fights, though sadly they tend to boil down to dull quick time events. In fact while the dino characters are the main draw they really don’t offer much different which is a shame.
The only other issue with the game comes in the form of familiar glitches and issues, especially when it comes to co-op. The main joy of LEGO games is romping through them with another player, and this one is no different, but at one point I had to reset and restart a level on three occasions. The first time one character I needed was endlessly falling through the level. The second time the two characters were in the wrong location after a cutscene, so the character I needed to use to progress was trapped on a rpe and couldn’t move, Then the third time it finally worked, but the achievement for finishing the level didn’t unlock so I had to go back and do it all again anyway. Good times. Things like characters getting stuck in scenery, not interacting with puzzles, items not spawning, all things that cause a hard reset and sometimes a total restart. All things that have cropped up time and time again in LEGO games yet continue to be a problem.
Still there is a nice easy bunch of trophies for those prepared to put in the time. Some of them give knowing nods to the film, and you can steadily work your way towards the magical 100% completion by snagging all the minikits, amber and completing various tasks in the open world areas too. It’s nothing too taxing if you are prepared to put in the time and it’s still as satisfying as ever to visit all those early levels with a horde of different characters in tow so you can really explore.
Any LEGO game is a fun package, and offers a ton of content in a family friendly manner with plenty of sly humour and knowing winks to the source material. Jurassic World does the same, though sadly half of the material is has to work with isn’t the best and that still shows, plus it’s the same old gameplay mechanics you’ll have seen time again, coupled with the same minor bugs and issues that keep cropping up. It’s still an entertaining ride, especially with kids, but it just doesn’t feel as essential as some of the cleverer LEGO games.
The main Jurassic Park theme is drastically overused in nearly any and every situation, plus the voice work has seemingly been lifted from the films with very little care or attention. As at times it sounds like characters are talking through a muffler, and other times it is crystal clear.
Despite the blocky nature of the games the visuals do look pretty solid, and the islands and parks are presented just as you remember them – only with more plastic.
If you’ve played one LEGO game then you’ve played them all, as really even the dinosaurs don’t bring much innovation (and can still build LEGO objects seemingly). It’s both a blessing and a curse as the game is easy to get into, but really no different than any of its forebears.
All the stories are present and correct but some sections seem to drag on while others are only touched upon. Plus, the dire voice work and rather bland levels don’t really stand out. On the positive side at least you can use dinosaurs to eat those pesky kids.
The LEGO lists can be almost copy and pasted by now, with a decent mix of unique fun tasks interspersed with the usual progression trophies and collectible hunts, until that precious 100% complete comes your way.
LEGO Jurassic Park is, as ever, a sizable package with plenty of replay value when it comes to finding every hidden nook, cranny and minikit. However, the same gameplay persists as do some of the same bugs and glitches – often revolving around co-op play. So while it is nice to revisit locales both new and old, it’s not so great to see the same issues and problems when you get there.