This review is an unedited version of the review written by Zombie Dredd and published in the Tech Magazine: Issue 62 October 2018.
Let me cut to the chase. I’m quite a cynical and jaded gamer. To me, Jurassic World Evolution seems on the surface to be nothing more than a simple cash-in. And we all know how games based on movies usually turn out right? Spoiler: not great.
But if you’re looking for a Zoo Tycoon for the 21st century, maybe you will look past my cynicism and embrace Jurassic World Evolution for what it actually is – a watered down Sim City with dinosaurs.
The game comes with five islands and a sandbox world to build your dream Dino-Park. There are 42 dinosaur species to research and manufacture, but none are able to fly or swim. Sadly, you are limited to being the god of land-based dinosaurs only. To make matters a little worse, the buildings available to you for your park are limited and ultimately rather samey. You aren’t going to be giving your park any real character compared to others doing the rounds.
So what exactly is the point of Jurassic World Evolution then? It’s a game that tasks you with turning a profit on the park by balancing those delicate income and expenses numbers. $2 million is the cost for the big-boy of the park (the T-Rex), so ensuring plenty of visitors is the key to keeping the books in the black. Give the visitors a good experience –without being snacks for escaped carnivores – ensures that this is possible.
To achieve this, you need to attend to the research of fossils to discover the needed genomes to create a dinosaur species. This of course costs some money, but the repetitive nature of the process may actually cost you your sanity more. If evolution was really just sending a research party out from an ‘Expedition Centre’ to find fossils and research in the ‘Fossil Centre’, only to incubate and hatch them in the ‘Creation Lab’, then Darwin wasted his life. Especially given that this is pretty much a timed series of chores. And chore really is the best description for it.
As you fill your park with increasingly dangerous dinosaurs, you need to consider park safety, the ever present natural disasters and a growing wish that Chris Pratt had voiced Chris Pratt’s character. Thankfully, Jeff Goldblum seems to be having fun with his voice acting but the rest appear like they’re bored.
The game’s graphics are decent and zooming in on a herd of dinosaurs is surprisingly detailed. However, there just isn’t enough variety in the environments to really give the feeling of immersion the game so desperately needs.
Unfortunately, as initially expected, Jurassic World Evolution is a ‘not great’ game. It disappoints more than it pleases. Had the game not been attached (by name at least) to the movie, and left to run its own course, it would have been allowed to evolve into a game that it deserves to be. Jurassic World Evolution is only really a game for park sim and Jurassic Park completionists.
Available for: Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC