JURASSIC WORLD EVOLUTION
By Tom "TomBsTone" Bronneberg on November 17, 2020
Back in the year 1993, Steven Spielberg released his masterpiece to cinemas worldwide; Jurassic Park. The movie was an instant cult classic, with cutting edge cinematography, a brilliant cast and freaking awesome Dinosaurs. Children and adults all over the world were dazzled which is not surprising, seeing as how mankind has dreamt about these creatures for as long as people have known these overgrown lizards once roamed the planet. And what a sight to behold they are. Throughout the years many have attempted to create a video game worthy of the original movie but not many succeed. Finally, after many years of development and trial and error, Frontier Developments have finally done it. Behold: Jurassic World Evolution.
"Sim City with Dinosaurs" might be the easiest way to describe this gem of a game. Originally released in 2018 on PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox One, the game already has tons of enthusiastic players from all over the world, but now the Nintendo community can join in on the fun as well. During this review I used the PS4 version on a PS4-Pro ( just to clarify my experience ).
Right off the bat you can choose to start either a Campaign or a Sandbox game. I highly recommend playing the entire Campaign before you start in Sandbox mode. Mainly because you will be able to unlock all of the buildings, upgrades, structures and, of course, Dinosaurs. Starting in Campaign mode, you will get your first Island, and this is good one to start. You will be able to build your own Park using many different structures like research and development centers, ranger jeep and helicopter bases, power plants, food courts, shopping facilities, monorails and much, much more. The main attractions however are the Dinosaurs themselves. You are free to create as many as you like and put them wherever you like. Yes, you really can. But!! And yes, there is always a BUT!!! Don't put your Herbivores in the same enclosures as your Carnivores. I did that, and my Ceratosaurus liked my Triceratops very much. for lunch, that is. And creating these buggers is expensive, so keep that in mind when putting two dinosaurs together.
The interface is easy to navigate and to understand, I did wish they made your selection a bit more obvious, even on my 55" screen it was not always clear what option I had highlighted, and I can imagine Nintendo Switch players will have an even bigger problem with this. Then again, this is actually the only criticism I can find for the entire game. The available menus are easy to navigate and provide you with all the Intel you need to manage your park. The management values are for Security, Science and Fun. Therefore, you will need to balance your park to hit all the targets and keep all factions happy. Can't have disgruntled scientist protesting in front of the T-Rex encampment now can we? Although, it would save on food costs in that department.
Progression is mainly based on your research and excavations. After building the appropriate structures you can send teams of archeologist to scour all four corners of the globe, looking for new fossils to dig up. With these fossils, you will be able to extract DNA, which is used to crack the Dinosaur Codes. Whenever you extract enough DNA from a specific Dinosaur, you will be able to breed this creature in one of your Creation labs. There are many different species to unlock, and alter with DNA mapping. You can research different kinds of Dino improvements, these will help you sustain your wildlife and attract more customers to your park.
After hitting specific thresholds, you will gain access to your next island. Now the real fun starts as this is not just you standard cozy habitat, but now we have to deal with storms that ravage your park and terrorize your customers and Dinosaurs. This is also why I like Campaign mode the best, the more you progress in the game, more and more Islands will be unlocked, each with their very own set of conditions. And the game really comes to life, besides the storms ravaging the islands, Dinosaurs will be attacking your rangers and other Dinosaurs, sometimes they get bored or lonely and start attacking fences. And let me tell you, the first time a Velociraptor escapes its compound and starts terrorizing your customers it's pretty funny. But after losing quite a lot of money on the repair of damaged fences and calming your customers, it's not so funny anymore when the same Dinosaur decides its time to escape again, and again, and again, until you realize he's lonely and needs a roommate.
While taking care of your Dinosaurs you will also need to keep an eye on your paying customers. After all, this will be your main source of income, and Dinosaurs are expensive to make and maintain. So make sure people are happy by building food courts, shopping malls, bowling alleys and Science Centers for their amusement. The management window in the menu will tell you, if people are happy, or what they need to become more satisfied. So always keep an eye one this screen as you go along.
There are many Easter eggs hidden in the game, quotes from the actors, or events that reflect scenes from the movies. None other than Dr. Ian Malcolm himself provides the game narration, and this is a welcome addition to the experience. Normally I don't play these building simulation games that much, but I really like Jurassic Park/World and I really like this game. It's fun to build, fun to relive the experience from the movies, and it's great to control a jeep and drive through your park, like you're on a Dino-Safari.
So thank you Frontier Developments! You did an outstanding job and I'm sure we will be enjoying this game for many years to come. If you own a Nintendo Switch and never played this game before, why not get your hands on the Complete Edition? Why? Well, apart from the fact that this is an amazing game, the following is stated on the Jurassic World Evolution website: " Packed with every piece of downloadable content available, Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition for Nintendo Switch includes all three major narrative expansions - Jurassic World Evolution: Return to Jurassic Park, Jurassic World Evolution: Claire's Sanctuary, and Jurassic World Evolution: Secrets of Dr. Wu as well as four Dinosaur Packs and the Raptor Squad Skin Collection." Is that reason enough for you?
"God Creates Dinosaurs. God Destroys Dinosaurs. God Creates Man. Man Destroys God. Man Creates Dinosaurs." - Dr. Ian Malcolm
JURASSIC WORLD EVOLUTION
June 12, 2018 (PC / PS4 / Xbox One)
November 3, 2020 (Nintendo Switch)