Jurassic World: Evolution is slow off the mark, but if you’ve got the time to put into it, you won’t be disappointed.
It’s essentially another construction and management simulation game, much like its predecessor Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis – but an obvious upgrade.
Evolution is much more like Roller Coaster Tycoon, Planet Coaster and Zoo Tycoon. Although, there’s no building park benches, bins, fountains and pretty gardens to place around your park.
All you need to worry about is hatching bad-ass dinosaurs, constructing an enclosure to keep them inside and the occasional building to help satisfy your guests.
Let’s break it all down…
There’s five islands for you to build your dream Jurassic Park on. They’re known collectively as the ‘Five Deaths’.
Isla Matanceros is your first stop. Sunny and green – surrounded by mountains. This is where you’ll learn how to play.
Second stop is the storm prone Isla Muerta, you’ll have to fix this place up to get it running again.
The three other islands all have their own unique problems which you’ll be tasked to take control – including starting off financially ruined, selling off assets and building from scratch.
Story and Contracts
While Jeff Goldblum takes stage introducing the game and voices his opinion in each major advancement, it seems the developers didn’t have the budget for the likes of Chris Pratt. Pratt’s portrait is used to depict the character, but actor A.J. LoCascio is behind the voice.
There’s three types of contracts (or missions) you can play; Science, Entertainment and Security. Every mission you accept will impact your rating in the other two categories.
One mission early on in the game, set by the head of security, George Lambert, is to hatch a Velociraptor and an Dilophosaurus – then make them fight to the death in a small enclosure. As you’d expect, no-one besides the security team will be impressed with that… So did I do it?
Yep. And it was cool.
Completing contracts gets you sweet, sweet cash, as well as rewards, such as an Electrified Heavy Steel fence, or a genome for a new dinosaur.
If you want to progress further you’ve got to research.
To conduct search on your island you’ll need to construct a Research Facility. In the research facility are various trees of upgrades and genetic modifications. Early on in the game it takes at least a minute to research a new upgrades but as you progress the time it takes to upgrade increases.
Often time consuming, but almost always worth it.
Expeditions / Fossils
The main way you unlock new dinosaurs is by sending a dig team to a location around the world to unearth fossils.
A large map of the world is displayed when sending a dig team off for a mission, you must then select a pin point location to begin the dig.
Each fossil they bring back will have a quality rating. Once you extract the DNA from a fossil you can then use it to incubate and hatch a new dinosaur.
While there’s not a whole lot to expeditions, it’s great to be able to send a team somewhere around the world in hopes of unearthing a prized ‘very high quality’ fossil.
There’s 48 unlockable dinosaurs in Jurassic World: Evolution.
You’ll start off with nothing and have to find and extract DNA from fossils.
Each extracted fossil will increase the genome percentage for the dinosaur – a higher genome percentage will allow you to hatch that specific dinosaur without threat of failure. This will also allow more genetic modifications to your dinosaurs.
It’s not as simple as build an exclosure, chuck a dinosaur in there and give it a goat, if you don’t set up an exclosure correctly you can really piss a Velociraptor off and it’ll break out and go on a park guest killing spree.
When a dinosaur actually does break loose the adrenaline really kicks in – there’s a big rush to call in air support and activate bunkers for guests to retreat too.
While there’s no real punishment to a guest being eaten, I still felt kinda’ bad for them! It’ll just make your guests ‘feel unsafe’ and you may lose some points in your park rating.
ACU Centres and Ranger Compounds
So what do you do when a group of Velociraptors break through their enclosure on go on a killing spree? You call in air support, that’s what.
The ACU chopper will need to tranquillise the offending dinosaurs in order for you to move them back into their enclosure. You can set it to auto task – but it’s much more fun jumping into the pilot seat of the chopper and doing it yourself. Taking control of the gun if one of the great things in this game.
Your dinosaurs aren’t perfect, quite often your dinosaurs will fall sick with disease, you’ll need to send in a ranger to dart it with the cure.
The jeep mechanics aren’t bad but I’ve found when trying to take a shortcut through some trees or bushes the jeep comes to a standstill and struggles to move – yes you could say this is the natural response, but it doesn’t feel right.
To keep your park up and running you’ll need electricity.
One of the main elements to the game is constructing power plants and subsequently placing overhead power lines through your park with various sub-station points.
Each building requires a certain amount of power to operate and each plant can only distribute a certain amount of power, therefore you’ll need to use it sparingly.
When upgrading a building you’ll need to take into account that each upgrade you add with require more power for the building to operate.
Storms and sabotage events will damage your power supplies. You’ll need to send in rangers to repair them fast – otherwise you may find your prized electric fence containing ALL your velociraptors is down… Raptors are smart, don’t forget that.
Power is crucial.
While I’m sure they look crisp and clean on the PC, the PS4 is to be desired. The landscape and scenery is pretty, when you take a closer look not a whole lot of work as gone into the buildings.
The PS4 textures on the dinosaurs seem a little low resolution for what you’d expect – while the PC version is much more refined and crisp.
If you’ve got the time to put into Jurassic World: Evolution, go for it. Just don’t expect to be able to hatch a bunch of Tyrannosaurus Rex and have them wreak havoc across your park from the get-go.
Overall it’s a fun game, but it feels a bit rushed in places and it needed a little bit more love.
Jurassic World: Evolution is out now on PS4, XBox One and PC.