Friday, June 22, 2018

Jurassic World Evolution Gameplay Review

I'm playing Jurassic World Evolution, a theme park management simulation by Frontier Developments.

The game takes place over five islands (plus a sixth sandbox location from the original Jurassic Park movie), each of which presents different challenges (storms, limited space, an initial deficit). Fulfilling contracts for the security, entertainment, and science branches grants extra cash and will also unlock story-based missions and other bonuses. However, completing too many contacts for a single branch will cause the other factions to sabotage your park. The interface provides a map with a list of all buildings and dinosaurs, plus management views for weather and transportation, but does not utilize enough hotkeys for buildings and requires too many clicks to reach some information (such as the genome library). Creating a dinosaur involves several steps: sending an expedition team to dig fossils, extracting DNA, and incubating the eggs. Dinosaurs are kept inside fenced enclosures, which much be stocked with food, water, and the correct balance of trees and grassland for the specific inhabitants. Each dinosaur has a detailed range of tolerable conditions, and will attack the fences if their comfort dips too low. The ranger station can take pictures of your creations or medicate sick animals, while the ACU helicopter will tranquilize and move problematic dinos. Both of these vehicles can be controlled directly, which is a fun prospect initially, but the novelty wears off and you’ll want to designate the tasks eventually. Guests do not have the level of detail that the dinosaurs do: simply place enough food, shopping, and hotel buildings (location doesn’t matter), and you’ll easily attain a maximum guest rating. Money is easy to come by as long as the dinosaurs aren’t running amok, which happens frequently once the game decides to increase the difficulty by causing dinosaurs that have all of their needs fulfilled to attack the park for no reason. In addition, most of the maps are very cramped and there is significant waiting for money to accumulate and tasks to finish (and no time acceleration to speed things up). Ultimately, Jurassic World Evolution has a wonderful setting and solid pedigree but is limited by tedious and repetitive gameplay.