Frontier Jurassic World Evolution PS4 Review

Jurassic World Evolution Review

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Jurassic World Evolution review code provided by the publisher

If any film series was a perfect fit for the Theme Park-style management sim, then it would have to be Westwo…Jurassic Park. After all, you could easily do a better job at making a dinosaur park than that embodiment of ignorant privilege John Hammond, right?

Well, Jurassic World Evolution throws a few spanners in the works, but more often than not, it proves to be the most effective use of the film license to date, and an enjoyable, if somewhat shallow park management sim.

Jurassic World Evolution Review: Welcome to the Raptor

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One of the first toothy beauties you’ll create in Jurassic World Evolution

Loosely tied into the recent Jurassic World films, Jurassic World Evolution tasks you with the creation of dinosaurs via research on fossils found on expeditions. Then you’ve simply got to plop the dinos in your spanking new park, throw a few shops, hotels, and restaurants in and you’re rolling in disgustingly large piles of cash. That is, of course, if you didn’t make a mistake or two along the way.

For instance, you didn’t move those Ceratosaurs away from the entrance that you’ve just pushed an Edmontosaurus through? Oh dear, you’ve just wasted a few hundred thousand dollars. Or maybe you didn’t get electric fences for that narky Triceratops, and now she’s rampaging around the park and scaring the visitors.

There’s lots of busywork where the dinosaurs are concerned. They require more time and care than anything else in your park. That’s the greatest strength of Jurassic World Evolution, but it highlights that other park matters are not handled with quite so much care and attention.

In fact, the only strong point Jurassic World Evolution has outside the dino management is the three ‘factions’ you can do contracts with to help boost your coffers. These faction cover a scientific side, and entertainment side, and the shadier military application side. You can take up contracts with any of them, but the more you work with one side the better your reputation with them gets. Of course, there are potential moral downsides to some decisions.

One group suggests opening the gate to a dinosaur paddock to willingly let a dino go on the rampage, just so you can test the efficiency of your security and containment procedures. This, of course, puts your park visitors at risk, but you could argue it’s better to be prepared for what is a likely eventuality. It’s fair to say though, that if you get offered a contract to create the ultimate killing machine for use in the military field, you’re going to be making blood money off the back of your cheery, family-friendly theme park.

Jurassic World Evolution Review: Dino-Flaws

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You’ll be making the most of the helicopter’s airlift feature.

Sadly it’s not as deep as it might sound. Most contracts revolve around the same few tasks, just worded a bit differently. So it isn’t long before you barely care about what’s being asked of you, just how much money you can get to make some snazzy new dinos (almost a perfect take on the message of the first film if it was actually meant). This ties into that very issue of a shallowness in other tasks outside the dino care. Park development is the weakest part by far.

Take the park visitors. You can slap in a shop, a hotel, a restaurant, and even have those two-person orbs to roam the park as seen in Jurassic World. The interaction is light beyond doing just that. There’s nothing that happens there that really changes the customer mood in any significant way, you just get more money the more things you build for them to do.

The dinosaurs are the star attraction sure, but there’s so little park management beyond them that you’re often left twiddling your thumbs as you passively wait for something interesting to happen.

It’s a real missed opportunity to create a truly engrossing management sim, because there’s something here that proves it was entirely possible. Let’s be honest, you came into Jurassic World Evolution for the dinosaurs, and dinosaurs you shall have.

Jurassic World Evolution Review: Do the Tour, Hear the Roar

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Dino-watching is the biggest joy in Jurassic World Evolution

While the park management is weak, Jurassic World Evolution does a fine job of making you feel like a tourist to the parks. You can take control of vehicles and go into paddocks to take on the dino management yourself (replenishing food stocks, treating sick beasts and the like), but it also allows you to watch the animals interact whilst you take some money-making photographs of them (look for them doing certain things to earn more cash).

For anyone with a love for dinosaurs (and there’s a high chance that’s the case if you’re reading this) Jurassic World Evolution’s shortcomings are massaged by how much fun interacting with the dinosaurs is.

It makes the humdrum research and general park work worth it when you get enough viable D.N.A. to create a new dinosaur, and it’s fascinating to learn how you contain and maintain them (failure usually means a grisly end for an unfortunate human or two). You get to name your dinos, and they can die of old age, illness, and mainly, by getting eaten by another more ferocious beast.

I found myself attached to a few of my dinos in the various parks I managed and felt a genuine sadness when I lost one. It was usually the special creatures, made via a bit of splicing, that really instilled pride. You have a vague idea of the personalities of regular dinosaurs, but when you add these genetic quirks in, you really don’t know what kind of freakish new beast you’re getting.

Jurassic World Evolution Review: A Genetic Oddity

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That’s probably a bit too close really.

So there’s clearly an imbalance in Jurrasic World Evolution, a flaw in its genetic splicing that doesn’t create the sleek killer park management sim desired, but rather a lopsided, endearing monstrosity that you can’t help but care for. It doesn’t do much wrong, but it could have done a lot more right all the same.

 

 

Score

7

The Final Word

Jurassic World Evolution isn't exactly a great park management sim. It's light on far too many of its facets, bringing a lopsided feel to its structure. Even so, the relative accessibility of the game and the attention given to the dinosaurs make up for most of the issues. The ride is enjoyable enough, but the lack of sim depth makes this a bit of a toothless attraction

  • Magdem

    I’ll give it some time and hope it’ll get more content eventually. But it seems like it’s the core gameplay that is the problem so maybe I shouldn’t get my hopes up. I’ll definitely give it a chance though, eventually ^^