I tried my best to avoid hearing what other people were reviewing the game until I published mine, but conversations with friends can spoil alot of things. I now know some out there are reviewing the game pretty hard (although I do not know specifically why). I want to put a disclaimer that this review may not best represent how everyone will feel about the game, but for those who enjoyed the Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis back in the day, this is a dream come true. The score at the bottom is how I obviously feel about the title, but how I believe most others who share the same upbringing in gaming might agree with.
Newcomers or veterans, everyone can take control of their own park and test their skills in building it up to a success. Challenges will excite you as they unlock many gameplay features, and island layouts will change up how you approach every situation, keeping your on your toes. There is even a sandbox mode for those who want to make the ultimate Jurassic World.
As previously mentioned, the main objective is to build a successfull park full of revenue driving attractions, and there are a couple of ways to make this happen. You're park is graded on a 1 to 5 star scale, which is further divided in two categories; Dinosaurs and Attractions. These both have individual star ratings that, when combined, will make the greater star rating. To succeed with attractions, you'll need to make sure guests have enough food, shopping, entertainment, and ease of traversal around your parl. This is as simple as purchasing and building stores like Bowling Alleys, Restaurants, Gift Shops, Clothes Shops, etc. Once built you can adjust what you sell and for how much in order to maximize profit. When the park grows too much to accomodate enough guests, you can either purchase more stores, or increase employees running them. This is a very easy 5 stars and a great way to increase your income.
The second part though, the dinosaurs, is anything but easy. Access to the library of dinos will be limited at first. You must assign teams to excavation sights around the world to uncover fossils that can afterwards can have DNA extracted from. Several excavation sites will be locked until you reach a high enough level to then explore them. You can elect to sell the fossils if times are hard, but it takes dozens of extractions to build up the genome database. Once you have collected more then 50 percent of a dinosaur's genome you can attempt to recreate it in the lab. Work this up to 100 percent to ensure survivability of your dino though. As you splice other genetic modifications, you'll get a more guest-attractive dinosaur, but viability quickly drops. It's a game of science and although you are limited to the menu and numbers, it feels great to pick and choose how you want the dino to be built. And yes, you can make the Indominus Rex, but it requires 100 percent Tyrannasaurus-rex and 100 percent Velociraptor genome data.
The last way you can make money is by completing contracts. There are three divisions that are vying for your attention; Science, Entertainment, and Security. Give one enough attention and you'll unlock new buildings, research opportuntities, and even a giant payout. Ignore one too much and they will become jealous and sabatage your park. Grabbing contracts is easy and can be done every minute of play, and tops at 3 contracts in the queue. If one seems like a bit too much work just terminate it and grab a new one a minute or two later.
When you're builing your park terrain will be a problem. The island will progressively get smaller and more awkwardly layed out, challenging you to become more creative than before. You have a few terrain editing tools such as add or delete trees, add or delete water, and then raise or lower the ground. You have a "flattening" tool that will auto raise or lower terrain as you move the circle around so that everything is perfectly level. Issues arise as you learn once a building has been placed, there is no editing the terrain underneath it. The other tool is a smoothing tool that will soften the aggressive hills and terrain changes that you cause (it makes everything look very natural).
Once you have set up all of your buildings, electricity, and dinosaur pens, you'll need to maintain order and functionality of everything. A Ranger Station will allow you to assign rangers to tasks such as repair broken fences, resupply feeders for dinosaurs, reboot power stations, etc. You can even take control of them and drive around the park for a casual stroll or to personally do all of the repairing and various other tasks. Get close enough to something cool and you can take a picture from the top of the Jeep. Now, if a dinosaur is not happy in the pen (and you will know as every one has a list of ideal habitats), they will try and succeed at breaking out. An ACU Station will allow you to assign a helicopter team to tranquelize dinos, either automatically or manually if you so choose. Pro tip though, make sure you have plenty of Emergency Shelters for guests to run into around the island. The guests are incredibly slow and if they start being pounced on by raptors or bulldozed over by a triceritops, you are responsible for paying lawsuits.
There are several islands to build on, each with unique challenges and opportunities, but if you can aquire 4 stars on the first island you will unlock a sandbox island. If you cannot get 4 stars at first, returning to the first island after doing some work on the second and third will make it very easy. In general it's a great idea to return to previous islands in order to purchase all of your researches instead of trying to do it on the new island while simultaneously trying to grow it into a success. The sandbox island though offers complete customization. You'll only be able to use what you've unlocked on the main islands, so building on it early would be a bit of a waste. You wont have to worry about a budget on the sandbox island, allowing you to build crazy park designs, but I wish there was a setting to change this. There are settings for weather occurances, dino behavior, and time of day, but none for budget. This means that you are building primarily for asthetics and not to progressively build something meaningful.
Sound and Graphics
Everytime you release a dinosaur from the hatch bays, the camera zooms in, removes the HUD, and in theatric fashion you watch them entering their new fenced in home. It's magical to all dinosaur enthusiasts, and I'm sure those who are just mildly interested will still feel some butterflies when they release a T-rex and hears it give the infamous roar into the land before it. All dinosaurs have been given a ridiculous amount of attention to make them as authentic as possible in appearance, behavior, and sound. I remember prior to launch watching the devs discuss the effort they put into each dinosaur, and it stands true. Each one is unique and has specific traits that encourage you to explore having them all in your park sooner or later. The best part of everything is that the game includes the original and legendary music for the Jurassic Park/World franchise.
The game is not "perfect" dispite the fairly perfect looking score I am giving it. There are one or two things that need to be fixed by the devs which includes making the sandbox mode have an optional budget settings (unlimited money feels pointless in regards to caring to build stores), and technical issues with the side menu bar needs fixed as soon as possible. Frontier Development is a developer you can trust; they have always done phenominal work on Elite Dangerous, and the condition Jurassic World Evolution has been delivered to us is amazing. If you like'd the old school Jurassic Park game, this is a no-brainer. For newcomers, checkout some gameplay on Youtube to get the full idea of what the game is like. I'm not sure how some have really negative comments for the game, but I absolutely love it for being up to date with the current movies and gaming industry standards in reard to visuals and gameplay, while still being so identical to the old school title.
|+ Dinosaurs||– Sandbox island needs more options|
|+ Ultimate Jurassic World Builder|
|+ Nostalgic for older gamers|
|+ Amazingly designed gameplay mechanics|
+ Great sense of passion from developers