Jurassic World Evolution 2: Review
‘Life, life finds a way’ was a line from the original Jurassic Park film. It relates to the dinosaurs finding a way to populate the island, despite them all originally being female. However, we should instead be saying ‘sequels, sequels find a way.’ This is at least the case with Frontier Developments Jurassic World Evolution 2, so let's delve into the world of dinosaurs and genetics.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 was originally released in 2021, but the game recently came out on Game Pass. This was, honestly, perfect timing considering that the 6th Jurassic Park movie comes out on the 10th of June. Like the 2018 Jurassic World Evolution, the game is a park simulator. This kind of game is more about the free-build rather than the campaign, in truth many don’t even bother having a campaign. In that light, we’ll look at both separately.
As I said before, park simulators rarely bother with a ‘campaign’ as most gamers would know it. Jurassic World Evolution 2 does have one, well two in fact, but it feels a bit disingenuous to call them campaigns, as they are more like glorified tutorials. Essentially the two campaigns are focused on the dinosaur treatment and the park management systems respectively. They’re short, simple and get the job done reasonably well.
The first campaign focuses on the idea of dinosaurs being out in the real world (like the upcoming movie) and the player will need to capture them and safely contain them. It allows players to experience travelling through large environments and see the dinos interacting with the world. It will also teach players how to build enclosures, train scientists and go on missions to capture new creatures. It’s entertaining enough, but there’s nothing particularly creative here.
The second campaign is more focused on the park aspects and dealing with dino breakouts. It follows the plot of the original movie, at least in concept. It’s nice to see all the old buildings and designs but that’s all there really is as a draw. Overall they’re entertaining enough, and hearing some of the actors return for their roles is nice. However, they’re really not what anyone is here for.
Freeplay is exactly what it sounds like, players can set several parameters and then work to build the best park they can. There are challenge maps that give players a set amount of time to make a five-star park, and then a simple build what you want open game. The mechanics all work well enough for these modes and the parameters and challenges mean that no two games will feel the same at first.
Now, this might seem like it’s all a bit bare-bones, at least in terms of content. However, I sat there for hours building only a fraction of my park and didn’t realise how late it was until I finally checked the clock. The game has a way of drawing you in, but that isn’t to say that everything is ideal in this paleo-world. There are some issues with the mechanics of the dinosaurs, namely in what they want and what they hate. For instance, the game is bad at explaining each genus of animal when it comes to compatibility and there’s no way to check on the fly when getting new captures in.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 is also really bad at explaining some of its mechanics and what units need to do what. Here’s an example, you need to photograph a dinosaur with rabies to cure rabies. That’s fair enough, but the game will never tell you that you need to use a medical van to take a photo, despite the ranger jeep being the main photographic vehicle in the game. This is a small complaint, but it adds up to a decent level of frustration.
Visually the game is impressive, but it is hard to see the difference from the original. The Dinosaurs still move organically and it is still enjoyable to zoom in on them and just watch them for a while. However, there’s nothing truly spectacular and the dinosaurs don’t do anything exciting other than occasionally attack a goat (or person, sometimes fences fail sue me).
The environments are nice and varied and a fully built park is impressive to see and explore from the back of a jeep. It is just a shame that, what with the game being so visually similar to the films, the music doesn’t follow a similar trend. The main theme comes out occasionally, but it never has the push it really needs to be memorable. However, at least the roars of the dinosaurs fit with the ones we know from the films.
However, the issue remains that there isn’t much to do in the Jurassic World Evolution 2 after a certain point. You can build the perfect park, but once that is done there is nothing else to do and certainly no reason to build another. The game tries to tease the danger of the dinosaurs escaping and wreaking havoc, but it is never really an issue and isn’t that entertaining when it does happen.
Shamefully there really isn’t anything here that is different enough from the original game and little reason to replay it. However, it is entertaining enough for a few days, and heck if you already have Game Pass then there are few better ways of passing a bit of time. Or just sing the theme song to yourself a hundred times while wondering if you realised that, while you could, you’re not sure if you should.
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