Jurassic World Evolution was released in 2018, coinciding with the launch of the last installment of the film series to date. Frontier developed a more than a decent theme park management video game, including numerous aspects of the movie trilogy started by Colin Trevorrow in 2015. It presented us with the possibility of running our resort full of dinosaurs and numerous attractions., offering us a feeling of control and direction more than achieved. Although the title fell a bit short at launch, thanks to the community’s support and the developer herself, content that expanded the prehistoric beasts’ catalogue were soon distributed. The game added chapters based on the sequels of the most current license.
Last year we attended Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition, an edition that provided all the content under the same package and that rounded off, even more, a video game that dazzled locals and strangers, and that delighted fans of the series started by Steven Spielberg in 1993 on the big screen. Now, and as an appetizer to the premiere of Jurassic World: Dominion next year, Frontier Developments is back with a sequel to the hit construction and management game that is complete, fun and with more dinosaurs.
“Dinosaurs and humans two species separated by 65 million years evolution, together again. How can we have the slightest idea of what to expect?” explained Dr. Grant (Sam Neill) in the original film based on the novel by Michael Crichton. The leitmotif of the different stories and installments of the saga has always been the same: there is no control, life makes its way. Jurassic World Evolution 2 happens after the events narrated in the film Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom (JA Bayona, 2018), so our primary mission will be to rescue the dinosaurs that roam freely in and around the United States. to protect not only the human population but also themselves from potential dangers for which they are unprepared. That is to say, at least during the campaign, the construction of a theme park is over. Yes, the recreation side is present, but we will have to guarantee the conservation and care of a series of animals brought back to life and now claim their space on the planet in the main missions.
Thus, throughout a small handful of levels that the players can complete the game’s campaign in three or four hours – we will observe how human beings and the different organizations that ensure their safety, as well as various government agencies in the United States and Canada, are trying to get along with this prehistoric being it can be called, the plot, the plot explains how the dinosaurs, an invasive spec claiming the Earth for themselves, could lead us to extinction. These themes have been seen in the short Battle at Big Rock and will be covered at length in Dominion, and they have always been one of the most constant objects of debate in Crichton’s novels, especially in The Lost World.
As players, we will have to overcome several thematic scenarios throughout the geography of the United States, solving problems such as an increase in poaching in natural parks – a group of hunters has locked up several Carnotaurus in a wrong way, and they have eaten their captors – to a series of dangerous migration patterns of Pteranodon flocks that are interfering with the air routes of the country’s leading airlines. These are levels that help, as a tutorial, to understand the most basic mechanics of capturing and conditioning ani and fundamentals of management. In the first level, framed in the Arizona desert, we will learn to capture the saurians that roam in freedom, condition them in their enclosures and take care of them in the best way. In the blink of an eye, we will be moving groups of Stegosaurus with different helicopters across the plains or opening lagoons for our Baryonyx to devour his daily ration of fish.
We are talking about the same playable core of Jurassic World Evolution -excavating fossils / rescuing animals, exhibiting them in fences, attracting visitors-, with a brilliant and remarkable adjustment of the most noticeable aspects of that, which broadly make the management experience of the video game into something much more fun and rich. Believe us, once you take control, you will notice that everything is the same as we saw it in the 2018 installment, and, it seems. Still, after a few hours of dealing with dinosaurs and other problems derived from their confinement, control and watch out, we’ll know that Frontier has done their homework .
Unfortunately, the campaign does not fulfill its role. Although it presents us with perfect situations and ideas – photographing animals in the wild aboard a jeep has been quite an experience, and following the trail of an Allosaurus through the forests of Oregon- it does not end. Break up in no time, there is no real challenge, and it ends abruptly. It’s a shame, but it smells like the developers have cards up their sleeves for when the third film hits theaters next summer.
Not counting the return of very classic modes such as Challenge or the sandbox -the first with scenarios in which to meet particular requirements to achieve five stars, and the second with the possibility of building everything we want and have previously unlocked-, the A significant novelty in Jurassic World Evolution 2 is the Chaos Theory mode . It is in a way that has particularly excited us and presents us with the possibility of changing the events that occurred in each of the films released to date. Yes, a kind of ‘What If?’ playable, we can change the course of history. Would the dinosaurs have escaped from Isla Nublar if we had put more emphasis on park safety? What if the San Diego Jurassic Park from The Lost World had been a playground for everyone? From Jurassic Park to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, all films have their small representation incomplete, fun and challenging settings.
However, for this to work, Frontier has adjusted the main mechanics and added new ones, making everything flow more naturally and comfortably, allowing us to delegate or automate specific tasks. When we start to create a park, we have to consider that each installation has its function and that the omission of some of them when we begin to build can bring us a series of constant headaches. On this occasion, the construction of response facilities has been emphasized, including land and aircrew of Guards who are in charge of monitoring assets, repairing fences or buildings destroyed by animals or inclement weather, and ensuring the health of dinosaurs with constant visual reports.
We must also remain attentive to the Capture Center. This element will help us carry out expeditions searching for new specimens or the Paleomedical Facility. This veterinary clinic will help us treat dinosaurs if they become ill or have an injury. Once we are clear about the performance of each building or facility, we must remain attentive to the scientists who are in charge of them. There is no longer the annoying faction system of the first game, which gave us rewards for thematic tasks or the development of investigations framed in one branch or another.
In Jurassic World Evolution 2, this system has been simplified, offering us the possibility of hiring scientists and experts in different branches and technological facets, which can be assigned to many jobs. Do we need to catch an Albertosaurus that is messing it up in the southern United States? We send a worker who meets the requirements of the task. Is it necessary to develop a fence of greater security and voltage? Well, we send two scientists who know to engineer. Finding the balance of work and staff performance is vital. These employees need to rest; they have their strengths and weaknesses, and to top it off, they have a varied monthly cost.
But perhaps the essential thing in the whole game, and how could it be otherwise. The stars are the video game, and as in the original title, the center of almost all the mechanics. Each dinosaur species has its own needs and care, so we must consider a vast array of items, such as space enclosures, their requirements of water and vegetation or their own preferences when coexistence with other types of prehistoric animals. Once we rescue a dinosaur or recreate it through genetic engineering, we must look at its statistics and evaluate your state of health, comfort, or needs on the ground. Thanks to the inclusion of much more intuitive tools, we can edit the paddock in which they reside, adding plants, forests, lagoons or vast portions of sand.
In our games, we have dealt with problems of coexistence of individuals of Apatosaurus and Brachiosaurus, two sauropods that do not get along very well, and with the issues derived from the needs of some theropods such as T. rex or Indominus rex, animals that need their own space and be isolated from others. If a dinosaur is comfortable and has its basics covered, it won’t try to escape its enclosure – and trust us, that will help us a lot. We must highlight the work enriching the etiology present in the video game, with dinosaurs that behave like real animals, not as simple objects to show off.
If we observe, we will verify that there are very territorial species and mark places in their habitat, looking for areas that adapt to their comforts and needs, claiming these areas as their own. At one point, we raised several Triceratopsin a fence with more animals. Little by little, they moved their territory, looking for water, more forest and fibre at ground level. They cornered other dinosaurs looking for similar elements, leaving them in a less large part in terms of sustenance. The behaviour system is dynamic, and it establishes a genuine connection between dinosaurs; it’s them feel like real animals. We can spend hours delighting in their animations or taking photos of all kinds that, beyond some details, could pass as stills from the movies themselves. In addition, this time, Frontier has incorporated flying and marine reptiles, a long-awaited addition, so we can now feed sharks to our Mosasaurus, star of the Jurassic World series, and one of the most spectacular attractions of how many exist in the game.
Beyond the new facilities, the dinosaurs and their enclosures or the entry of adjustments in the personnel hiring system and the interface, we must also applaud the change in the distribution of energy, more intuitive and practical, or the incorporation of small changes in the management of visitors, who will have different priorities according to their purchasing inclinations or experiences. It was one of the most neglected and tedious aspects of the first game, and now it seems to have found its exact spot, making it easy to learn but somewhat tricky to master. We’re still missing some ideas from a title like Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, but it’s a step up from the video game previously released by Frontier.
Given that we will spend a large part of the video game investigating – new attractions, constructions, dinosaurs or even remedies for their diseases or ailments -, when we achieve our objectives, it is expected that we want to delight ourselves with them, either visiting the viewpoints, observing the famous gyro sphere or following up close to jeeps that sneak into dinosaur fences. It does not matter. The fact is that Jurassic World Evolution 2 is a title that improves what was achieved by the first game, offering us more realistic dinosaurs with better animations, which will achieve that wow effect over and over again on us. It does not matter if we have conceived an enormous theropod before. Each species that leave the hatcheries to delight our visitors will seem impressive as the first time. See that Chasmosaurus? We have achieved it with the sweat of our brow.
We have also seen an improvement in the detail and size of the environments. Yes, for months, users complained about how little space we had on some maps and scenarios in Jurassic World Evolution, an aspect that limited our creativity. In this sequel, we have more environment to explore, expand, and unleash the concept of the Jurassic park of our dreams. We focus on the same thing again: the campaign has beautiful scenarios that we can explore in sandbox mode and that, at times, lead us to think about how fun an open-world action and exploration game would be in which we document animals in their natural environment, without barriers or restrictions of any kind. Yes, it sounds too much like Sarah Harding.
Regarding the analyzed version, we have to explain that we have spent a good handful of hours with the PlayStation 5 version. We have enjoyed the control with the DualSense, something that put us back a bit. Still, it is not uncomfortable or traumatic, thanks to the interface settings and intelligent distribution of the buttons and menus. With just a few minutes of acclimatization, we will learn to move through the fences, change our vision, and observe our Jurassic kingdom with comfort. Except for a specific bug -which prevented us from solving an objective-, it is a stable and lustrous title. Jurassic World Evolution 2, how could it be otherwise, offers a complete library of sounds extracted from the movies, with roars, bellows and sound effects identical to the original tapes. As if that were not enough, we find numerous and iconic pieces from the soundtracks of John Williams and Michael Giacchino, arranged and orchestrated in a different but equally intoxicating way. The game’s voices are drawn from the actors and actresses who played in the original films.
Jurassic World Evolution is more fun, complete and more extensive video game than its first version. We have loved the adjustments in the management, the changes in the interface or the emphasis that Frontier has placed on the behaviour of the animals, much more realistic. While the playable core of the campaign has seemed interesting to us, we believe that it has fallen a bit short, looking much less than it should. However, we have to applaud the idea of chaos theory and its thematic scenarios. Designed to delight fans of dinosaurs and the Jurassic saga, Jurassic World Evolution 2 offers more teeth and roars louder than its previous incarnation. The road to extinction has never been so entertaining.
We prepared this review with a digital copy for the PS5 version of the title provided by Frontier.