The Jurassic franchise has proven to be pretty flexible when it comes to gaming.
From platformers to survival horror, LEGO, even VR but perhaps most famously of all comes Jurassic World: Evolution with its hybrid focus on strategy and management, combined with dinosaur factoids and reuniting you with classic characters.
Now its long-awaited sequel continues the good work its predecessor laid down, introducing some fun new concepts, dinos, and a gorgeous looking aesthetic.
Perhaps the best surprise is the game’s campaign mode offers a canonical story set after the events of Fallen Kingdom. Once again players will get to work alongside Owen Grady (astonishingly, no Chris Pratt in sight) and Claire Dearing across a series of different sites and scenarios.
Superfans are almost certainly scouring every snippet of dialogue for clues on where the story is headed in Dominion, but the campaign also does a great job of teaching you the basics of the game, such as how to build up a compound, what role rangers play, how to study dinosaurs and, indeed, how to capture them.
Evolution 2 has a steady pace throughout, with a gradual difficulty curve that does a really good job of gradually detaching the stabilizers and letting you do the work. Because when the game gets into full flow it can all be pretty overwhelming, between unexpected blizzards, escaping dinosaurs and depleting power sources.
Speaking of the weather, this is easily the game at its most divine, with sandstorms often covering up the entire screen, forcing you to try and build an emergency hazard shelter to protect as many of your people as possible. Because, surprisingly, for a management simulator, there’s potential for a lot of death, especially if people get to close to a dinosaur trying to learn more about it.
As you add more dinosaurs to your compound, so you need to start satisfying their needs and the game’s in-depth management structure does a great job of keeping everything accessible and within reach, even on a gamepad which has often proven to be a challenge with similar games.
Some dinosaurs prefer to be near water, while others need some dense foliage. A few might like to have a few nearby rocks to make it feel like home. And it’s often not advisable to mix different breeds, otherwise you’re liable to get a turf war on your hands.
But once the dinosaurs are satisfied, you can start thinking about building viewing towers to let people come visit and observe and even other attractions to make them stick around.
Evolution 2 does a nice job of also mixing things up a bit, so rather than a standard top-down view of pointing and clicking, you can hop into a jeep and a helicopter to get around more easily and explore from different vantage points. This is often how you capture and bring in dinosaurs, which adds a nice spin on existing mechanics.
This is sometimes where the game is let down just a little as close up, certain textures and models can look a bit strained and pixelated. Never to really bad standards, but it does show certain assets made for the game definitely look best at a distance rather than close up.
Alongside the awesome campaign, as well as the return of the game’s sandbox and challenge modes, is a brand new, really fun take on the franchise. Chaos Theory lets you relive iconic, Jurassic moments across all major feature films, from the opening of the original Jurassic Park, chatting to Hammond and experimenting with Wu, to more recent developments and the fall of the great Kingdom.
These shorter campaigns serve as a sort of ‘What if’ scenario where you can try to change the time and events for a safer, more favourable outcome. And, I mean, you’ve got Jeff Goldblum trying to sell this beautiful future to you, hoping things will go better for you than they did for him, so there’s some motivation there.
The shorter campaigns are a further test of the skills you’ve learned in the main campaign and some of the scenarios, as expected are really challenging, testing your abilities to the limit. As you progress through the films, they also get a lot tougher and harder to manage.
But for me, these are the best of the game with the fun snippets from the films, the cool tie-ins, being able to build iconic landmarks, seeing familiar scenes. This is the Jurassic World fans will want to experience, revisit and engage with, and along side a new story that holds potential links to the franchises’ future, you couldn’t really ask for more from this package.
Not to mention that incredible, goosebump-inducing score which is present for all to listen to and appreciate in all its glory. Frontier have achieved something truly special with this package.
This is a real treat for Jurassic World fans. Evolution may have laid the ground work, but Evolution 2 manages to improve upon the issues of its predecessor and offer some really tasty, enjoyable, and quality content that will satisfy those familiar with the franchise while creating a really great jumping on point for those who’ve never visited before. Easily one of the best Jurassic World games of all time.
+ Plenty of content to sink your dino-sized teeth into
+ Chaos Theory is a welcome addition to the series
+ Some beautiful graphics and music compliment the action
– Some assets and textures look a bit pixelated up close
– Not a lot different to tempt those who didn’t enjoy Evolution 1
Jurassic World Evolution 2 is now available on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox
Code Kindly Provided by Frontier