Title: Jurassic World Evolution
Developer: Frontier Development
Publisher: Frontier Development
Genre: Real-Time Strategy
Platform: PC (reviewed), PS4, Xbox One
Audience: PEGI 16 – Violence
Release Date: 12/6/2018
Price: £34.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this game.
What the Developers Say
Place yourself at the heart of the Jurassic franchise and build your own Jurassic World.
Take charge of operations on the legendary islands of the Muertes archipelago and bring the wonder, majesty and danger of dinosaurs to life. Build for Science, Entertainment or Security interests in an uncertain world where life always finds a way.
Bioengineer dinosaurs that think, feel and react intelligently to the world around them. Play with life itself to give your dinosaurs unique behaviours, traits and appearances, then contain and profit from them to fund your global search for lost dinosaur DNA.
Control the big picture with deep management tools or go hands-on to confront challenges on the ground or in the air. Expand your islands and choose your own journey in an all-new narrative featuring iconic characters from across the franchise and decades of Jurassic lore at your fingertips.
Eagle-eyed readers may notice this is actually the second time we’re reviewing Jurassic World Evolution here at Rapid Reviews. Seeing as the game has gone through some changes since its initial launch in 2018, we’re taking a fresh look at the game from the perspective of someone that’s never played it before. We were also given a code for the game to coincide with the latest DLC, the Carnivore Dinosaur Pack.
The pack itself is just an additional three dinosaurs for the price of £4, so there isn’t much to comment on there. None of the carnivores are particularly well-known, so you won’t miss out on a T-Rex or Velociraptor without the new DLC, but the dino-enthusiasts out there might appreciate having some new – well, old – faces.
There is also another DLC due out in a couple of weeks – Claire’s Sanctuary. This one is due to include more dinosaurs and some new narrative content, alongside a free update for the base game. With a fresh update just around the corner, then, let’s see if Jurassic World Evolution is a game worth purchasing in 2019.
The gameplay took me straight back to my childhood. I’ve spent hours on various games from the Tycoon franchise, not to mention the previous Jurassic Park game: Operation Genesis. Many of you will know what to expect if I describe JWE as “Zoo Tycoon, with dinosaurs”, but let’s delve a little deeper.
You’re given five islands on which to build your dino-empire, and you’ll manage the construction and operation of your parks, as well as research – which fossils to excavate in order to build the perfect genomes, that sort of thing. Throughout the game, there’s a mini power struggle going on between three different departments of your business: Science, Security, and Entertainment.
Engineering a dangerous carnivore to be released onto your park may increase the entertainment value of your park, but it’s not going to do you any favors with your security team. This fine balancing act complements the primary gameplay loop of expanding your park and pleasing your visitors – while also looking after the investors, of course. As your park expands, you unlock more breeds of dinosaurs, new buildings to unlock, and access to the other islands.
There’s certainly lots of potential playtime in Jurassic World Evolution, with somewhere between 20-40 hours of gameplay. Unfortunately, the fun ran dry for me long before then. I can appreciate the game for what it is, but it just didn’t have the depth to keep me entertained. I longed for the complexity of titles like Rise of Industry.
JWE may appeal to a younger target audience, however, so a lack of complexity isn’t the worst thing in the world. Some early reviews complained of bugs but I’m pleased to say the performance was nothing but smooth sailing for me.
Audio & Visual
The audio is excellent, from the various dinosaur screeches to Jeff Goldblum’s sultry tones narrating the experience for you. It still doesn’t include all of the voices you’d expect from the movie franchise, but Jeff’s performance is enough to hold it up. Nothing about the gameplay sound effects or music stood out particularly, but in a park management game such as this, they should be blending into the background, anyway.
As for the visuals, Frontier Developments has done a good job throughout with the graphics and animations, from the largest dinosaur down to the tiny visitors. The options to hop behind the wheel of a jeep or enter a free-moving Photo Mode to admire your dinosaurs up-close let you really appreciate the finer details that have gone into Jurassic World Evolution.
Jurassic World Evolution is a great game to chill out to. If you’re looking for a hit of Zoo Tycoon nostalgia and have an affinity for dinosaurs, this is easy to recommend. It didn’t have the deeper complexity to keep me playing, but it’s easy to appreciate the quality of the visuals, audio, and performance. It’s a little steep at full price, but has been on sale multiple times in the last year, so you won’t have long to wait if you don’t want to pay full price.
For a deeper look and another opinion, don’t forget to check out Mike’s 2018 review of Jurassic World Evolution.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase Jurassic World Evolution on the Steam Store at the following link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/648350/Jurassic_World_Evolution
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.