Games Gazette Logo

JURASSIC WORLD: EVOLUTION is one of the most beautifully complete games I have played for the PC via Steam. The graphics and other visuals are so sharp it's like playing on a 4K HD through a PS4 Plus. I honestly didn't know my computer was up to creating scenery and animation of this quality. It is also a game of many options and actions.

There are numerous management and building games around many of which are usually combat or town management related. A couple of this type of game are those where you either build a village into a town and further on into a city, all the while managing the finances and keeping the citizens happy, in work and at play or build a Military base and research weapons, different troops, tanks, armour etc so you can grab more land, seek out opposing factions and conquer them whilst defending your own base; often mining the resources required in and around your ever-stretching boundary fences. Then there are the similar style games where you create Amusement Parks, Zoos, Wildlife parks etc, all based around the same basic module - ensuring you get enough money coming in to balance the outgoings as well as food and appropriate shelter for the citizens or animals etc.

 

JURASSIC WORLD: EVOLUTION requires you to create a wild but fenced in park where visitors will come, spend their hard earned cash, and see real live Dinosaurs in the habitat they lived in 60 million years ago. If you've seen any of the Jurassic Park or Jurassic World movies you know exactly what this game is about. You know better than nature and are going to prove it by getting DNA from Fossils found all over the world; to do this you send teams of archaeologists and paleontologists out to the sites where fossils have been found. 

Here you begin with a couple of buildings and a tutorial aid that shows you the basics by taking you through constructing your first building and creating your first dinosaur, and then releasing it into the wild. What this mini tutorial doesn't do is assign a place for you to erect your first building (many games in this genre have places already designated for you) and nor does it clarify how to keep your dinosaur fed - I found out by trial and error, going through every possibility of every heading in the sidebar menu. Unfortunately for poor Bambi, my first dinosaur, a Sinoceratops I believe, by the time I discovered how to lay food out on the special banquet tables it was too late and the poor thing died curled up in the foetal position next to one of the fences.

 

Much as I have been thoroughly enjoying this game it took me a long while to get used to how it works. Each building needs to be connected by roads and also by electricity. Like most other games extending the roads is easy, just select the road icon, click where you want to start the road and then drag the mouse across the terrain - it will give you a warning if your route is obstructed and you cannot lay road across it. Electricty comes from a power station and then a sub-station using pylons to convey the power to the buildings that require it. This should be easier than it actually is. For example you cannot simply connect lines between two pylons or buildings. Instead you have to act like you are placing a new pylon and then get to just the right position so that the pylon disappears and the lines attach - a warning icon sits above buildings and lines that need connecting.

 

There are around 40 different dinosaurs to create, but the majority of them do not come into play until you have gone quite far into the game. You begin with the couple of buildings plus your new construction and an amount of money in the bank. Everything costs a fair bit of cash to start and/or complete and your bank balance will dissipate quicker than the true dinosaurs left the Earth.

You also have a limited amount of open space to put new buildings, the majority of which is inside the fenced area of your park. When you construct inside the fenced in area then you still need to attach the buildings to the rest of the 'World' by road and electricity. The latter is quite easy to do as the pylons rise above the foliage and treetops and have a fairly small footprint. Roads are a different matter. They can be built from the main door of a building and will roll up and down the rambling hills (some of which you can create yourselveswith the alternate terrain switch) but they cannot be built under Gates or Fences, nor can you build Gates or Fences over them. Despite playing for several hours and laying miles of road and electricity lines, creating dinosaurs from new DNA and building a variety of buildings I have yet to discover how I can remove trees and bushes to clear the ground - the bulldozer doesn't appear to work - and how to join inner roads to outer roads without dismantling the fence or gate; once I dismantle the gate or fence and built the road I haven't to repair the damage I caused - the road  prevents building of gates or fences.

 

There are many different types of buildings, gates, and fences etc that you can see as being available to unlock as you progress, as well as the many variations of dinosaurs available to you for later and deeper into the game. The day to day running of the themed park is down to you and micro-managing massive mutations isn't the easiet job in the world. As you advance and are financially successful you get to begin your own paks and worlds on the neighbouring islands, spreading out until you rival Universal and Disney (well maybe not, but it's good to dream).

There are hints and tips, suggestions and demands made of you by the directors and scientists in the park; many of these voiced by the actors from the popular movies. This next paragraph is from the internet as it says all I need to in a way that I couldn't better or improve on (or equal).

Jurassic World Evolution draws heavily from established Jurassic lore, containing easter eggs and references to all five movies in the franchise. The in-game lore itself is, according to Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, "soft-canon". A key bridge to the films is the character Ian Malcolm, voiced by Jeff Goldblum, who acts as the central character and narrator to the events of Jurassic World Evolution.  Malcolm acts as the voice of reason in the game, warning against the inevitable chaos which will occur if the player adheres too closely to the three main department heads in the game.  Goldblum is joined by Bryce Dallas Howard and B.D. Wong, who portray Claire Dearing and Dr. Henry Wu respectively, reprising their roles from the Jurassic series. Owen Grady, first introduced alongside Dearing in Jurassic World also appears in the game in likeness only, as he's portrayed by A.J. Locascio, rather than Chris Pratt.

 

Apart from starving to death, dinosaurs can get ill. If this occurs (and it assuredly will) then you need to send a ranger team in by helicopter to first tranquilise the creature and then to load it on a truck to get it to where it can be treated. Obviously nosey dinosaurs need to be kept at bay otherwise team members make tasty treats.

Dinosaurs will interact with the terrain you give them You can raise or lower the ground, create open spaces and tree lined lakes and ponds. Once you have completed your mission on one island you need to move onto the next. Each island is separate to the other and you need to build the majority of the same necessary superstructure on each. I admit here that I have read this, I haven't got this far myself as yet. I have also, whilst writing this, looked at a couple of Youtube videos on the game and it seems that I have spent hours playing it wrong - no one else has erected constructions within the fenced area and thus there is no need to build roads and paths under fences or gates. I have left my error in above to show how easy it is to get one-track-minded and lose perspective.

 

Like most of the building and management games of this ilk you can only lay foundations on clear land. Unlike the majority of those games these buildings are huge and take up a lot of empty space, thus where you position them is extremely important. You have a lot of ground but not a lot of available empty terrain.

Despite there not being any arms manufacturing or soldier training and no opposition units creeping up to burn your buildings and steal your crops there are so many things to do, options to take and decisions to make, possibly more than in many of those 'kingdom' games. Here you have the safety of the paying customer, as well as the staff, to look out for. The paying customer always wants something new and the more dangerous the more they will come and the more they will pay and thus in the great financial circle, the more dangerous dinosaurs you can introduce. The better stocked your park the more visitors will spend on things like refreshments and snacks etc. Like all businesses, the entertainment business is about making money to keep it perpetuating to continue making more money.

 

A lot of what you build can be upgraded, particularly paths and fences - the responce team require good roads to be efficient and the larger dinosaurs require stone and/or electric fences to keep them in place - because electricity passing through an angry dinosaur isn't going to upset it .... is it ?

Buildings are erected at speed, though you get to watch how they are constructed section by section - it really looks realistic to how these places are built from the ground up. It would probably have been easier for the programmers to simply drop a finished building on the chosen spot but instead you see a working crane and the structure from the ground to the wooden frame to the outer walls, the roof, the surround and then the completion. The only thing missing that some of the fun, less realistic, fantasy games have are the workers. In those other games it may be frustrating to have to wait but it's a lot of fun watching the carpenters and painters, builders etc all doing their own specific jobs before the building is complete.

I suggest that you either get the game now and like me start from fresh with little or no basic idea of what you are supposed to be doing - it's good to fail and then restart and not repeat the same mistakes - or to first visit this online fan site Wikia/wiki/Jurassic where you can find a wealth of information.

My review of it is based on my playing and what I have seen, learned, done wrong, perhaps done right, and my enjoyment in playing; but not the truly technical stuff. I can review this game in just a few words "Play Jurassic World Evolution if you like resource management games?" if you answer yes you do like resource management games then the review has done its job. If you don't like them then it has told you the type of game this is and you will sadly already have made up your mind before trying it. I play all manner of games and like many, dislike a few types of these. I am usually pretty poor at resource management/building games but I play them on and on and on - I played a couple from Facebook every day for about 3 years before they folded. Jurassic World Evolution is far better than those Facebook games and looks visually far better than any other game of its genre I have seen on my old PC with cheap AOC monitor. I imagine the PS4 version will be stunning, and on a large screen TV it must be like actually being in the park itself.

This is a game with longevity, not a play it, review it, move on. It is one I wholeheartedly recommend to PC users who use Steam as a games carrying media.

    

                                            A                                                                                      B

Three of the stages of constructing a building

                                            C                                                             Exiting the dinosaur creation area

    

 

                               Genomes                                                                                    Running Free

                             Looking for Food                                       Finding None and Dying  (bad Park Management)

 

You can buy it online for about £15.00 DLC and £35.00 as an actual DVD. There is also a new 'Dr Wu' mission expansion now available

 

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015