Dinosaurs have always been a passion of mine ever since I was a kid. Every day, I’d wish that dinosaurs roamed the earth so that I could go ride on the back of a Pterosaur. As I grew older, I realised that it could never happen; especially after watching Jurassic Park. However, I always thought I could do a better job. Fortunately, now I can in Jurassic World Evolution 2, and honestly, it’s not that easy to keep dinosaurs in a pen.
The Jurassic World Evolution 2 campaign follows on from the last movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. So if you haven’t seen how this ends, you might be in for some spoilers. After Fallen Kingdom, the dinosaurs escape into the real world, and humans will have to learn to live alongside dinosaurs, somehow. Throughout the campaign, it’s your job to tranquilise and capture dinosaurs and build suitable enclosures for them. This is the basic concept of the game, but the campaign offers a little bit more dialogue than usual. Unfortunately, this only lasts around four hours, and it’s basically a glorified tutorial. I managed to complete the entire campaign in one sitting, and I felt incredibly let down.
“After playing the campaign, this mode is refreshing.”
Once you complete the campaign, there are two alternative modes (besides sandbox); Chaos Theory and Challenge. Chaos Theory lets you live out your park building dreams by recreating the movies and seeing if you can do it better. While this lacks much of a story, and instead just recaps parts of the movies, it’s quite entertaining. Even some of the scenarios put you in a pickle, but this is truly where the game shines.
The first scenario, based on the original movie, forces you to recreate the first theme park where the creation of dinosaurs is a scientific breakthrough. Most of the missions are centred around guiding you towards the iconic T-Rex escape. Even when you reach this point, the gates conveniently malfunction, sending you into a panic to protect your guests. After playing the campaign, this mode is refreshing. It is somewhat difficult, and it singlehandedly made me fall in love with the game. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough movies to satisfy my addiction, so I had to move on to the next best thing.
Challenge mode is a race against the clock style sandbox. The idea is to aim for the par time, but you will also record a finish time so you can play the scenario again to beat your time. Each Challenge offers a unique set of conditions that get harder depending on what difficulty you play. Beating challenges will give you unique rewards that are usually just cosmetic skins. Challenge mode was an entertaining change of pace, but I don’t think it compares to the likes of Chaos Theory.
“Guest deaths weigh on your conscience more than your park.”
Weather effects are a nice, but irritating touch. Although I feel without them, I probably would have finished missions even faster than I already did. Rough weather always proved to be a thorn in my side. Every time I thought I was making progress, I’d be sent back ten steps by Dinosaurs getting injured from a storm or breaking out of their enclosure. However, I quickly realised that it’s not a big deal if dinosaurs escape.
A huge part of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World are dinosaurs escaping. The dinosaurs run riot in the park, and bad things happen. In the early stages of park building, you must use low power fences to contain the dinosaurs. This leads to a lot of dinosaur escapes. Storms can aggravate dinosaurs, so they are more likely to break out of their enclosure when the storm is ravaging through the park. Initially, I was always worried about dinosaurs breaking out; especially when a pack of Velociraptors are on the loose. Luckily, you needn’t worry as guest deaths weigh on your conscience more than your park. There are no consequences for dinosaurs murdering guests; at least there weren’t for me. This left me puzzled as this is one of the main concerns in the films.
“The gameplay loop is satisfying, and adding new dinosaurs to the park is half the thrill.”
The park builder elements in Jurassic World Evolution 2 are thorough. You start with basic items before researching and unlocking more. At the same time, you must satisfy your guest needs, increase your park appeal by having a variety of fancy dinosaurs, and raise your income to increase your park rating. This rating is the most important part of your park, and raising it to five stars means you have completed the scenario you are playing. However, it feels a little strange having it based on income and not profit. This means you can just build a lot of guest amenities to raise your income, even if you are losing money in the process. But overall, it’s still an addictive gameplay loop that I got stuck in for hours on end.
While Jurassic World Evolution 2 may have its flaws in certain areas, it does succeed in formulating an immersive addictive environment. On weekends, I struggled to put the game down; playing all day only to stop to eat food and go to sleep. The gameplay loop is satisfying, and adding new dinosaurs to the park is half the thrill. For the price, Jurassic World Evolution 2 will keep you busy for countless hours even if you skip over the main campaign.
Check out Jurassic World Evolution 2 on PlayStation 5 here.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PlayStation 5, code was provided by the Publisher.