Jurassic Park has been a key influence in my life since I was a child, whilst Crichton’s books I had read until this year, the movies had always been among my favourites. Spielberg’s Jurassic Park Both scared and exhilarated me as a child and just like that, I fell in love with dinosaurs.
Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis was released in 2003 and was a park building game in which you built your own Jurassic Park. As you can imagine, a kid that’s already in love with dinosaurs and Jurassic Park, this game was played for many hours. The fascination for me was not in the park building and management but was watching the dinosaurs roam in what I believed was a natural setting (It wasn’t, but for my young mind it was very close). The game allowed me to watch dinosaurs roam freely but also allowed me to observe them hunt, which was such a fun experience as a child. Whilst the movies and now the books are a key influence on my writing and my creative process, teaching me that no matter what I may imagine I can make it possible. Operation Genesis will always hold a special place in my childish heart.
When Frontier studios announced that they would be making a spiritual sequel to my one of my childhood heavy hitters I couldn’t contain myself, the countdown had begun. The night before was a cocktail of excitement and nerves, it’s no secret that I try not to get too excited for games because of recent let downs (I’m looking at you, Sea of thieves).
But to my relief the game was beautiful, the dinosaurs were breath-taking and a vision into the past. The dinosaurs alone were enough to validate the 30 plus hours I have already put into the game. I had always been a fan of Raptors, but Frontier had made me reconsider my favourite dinosaur throughout my playthrough. I was in constant awe of the work that Frontier had put into making the dinosaurs look as realistic as they could (Well, as realistic as they can make prehistoric creatures look). Some of my favourite dinosaurs made an appearance in the game and it made me super excited, the Diplodocus has a special mention after the number of times I had watched BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs. But dinosaurs from the movies also made a huge impact, the Dilophosaurus with its Jurassic Park trademark frills and venomous spit still had a way of making me fear it within the game as it did many years ago within the movies. Also, the sounds within the game are incredible, Frontier has put a lot of time into how the dinosaurs sound and hearing that T-Rex roar, made me feel like I was five again.
The Velociraptor had always been a personal favourite, I think it’s the mixture of admiration and fear that these creatures were portrayed as both smart and bloodthirsty. In the Jurassic World Evolution, they will constantly find a way to get out of their enclosure prompting you to constantly quote Muldoon’s ‘Cleaver Girl’. By the time you have stopped one from eating a guest another will get out and then another, then the T-rex will get hungry for your guests. The game has a way of constantly keeping you on your toes and make you react to situations differently; has your park been sabotaged and all the gates are now open? Which dinosaurs are your main priority to get back into captivity first? The game is challenging and will offer hours of entertainment, unlocks such as different dinosaurs are staggered between the five islands and you are constantly finding new dinosaurs to show your guests and figuring out ways in which you can enclose certain species together to make it look as authentic as you can.
Frontier has evidently spent a lot of time and love into making the dinosaurs look and sound as beautiful as they can. I believe any dinosaur fan will surely love the game for the way the dinosaurs are, but the game is far from perfect. As much as I hate to admit it, it is lacking in a lot of areas. Whilst the game does tick a lot of the boxes for dinosaur fans, it does not tick all the boxes for people who enjoy the management aspect of it. Whilst the management side of things is not something that I am personally interested in (Or good at for that matter) it certainly does feel like you are lacking customisation to make the park your own. The ability to change admission prices and little things like this would make it feel more like a management game than a dinosaur babysitter simulation.
Whilst the lack of management options is not something I cannot comment on in depth, I can talk about what I believe can be added or even changed for the dinosaurs themselves. The dinosaur fights can be a little lacklustre, the fights are only one on one and I would have thought at least the smaller carnivores would hunt in packs, this is not the case. Carnivores are constantly attacking everything in sight, this can be a little annoying and I believe it would be better if they hunted when hungry or even fight for territory. I would love to see more interactions with the dinosaurs for guests as we only have three in the game (Viewing vents, viewing platforms and the gyro sphere, I suppose you could also include the monorail). The first Jurassic world movie had petting zones and even an interesting viewing platform for the T-rex enclosure, although I am not entirely sure what they could add in terms of guest interaction. I’m pretty sure the people at Frontier are more than capable of creating an interesting way to view and interact with the dinosaurs that they have put so much love into.
Whilst the game does have flaws I still am very pleased with what Frontier have done and am very thankful, they have scratched my interest of dinosaurs and I am sure they will be able to rectify a lot of the problems that the game has through DLC and future updates.
You can play Jurassic World on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Pc, I highly recommend that you do!