If you’ve played Lego games before, you know how they work. You romp through the licensed worlds, with rough approximations of the events of the films given a comedy twists while you bash things to collect studs and use the special abilities of different character types to solve simple puzzles. There’s nothing new here in Jurassic World, but as ever the care taken over the IP makes it worth it for Lego or Jurassic Park fans.
The game covers the four Jurassic Park movies out so far. In equal parts the campaign is split over the four, and then once in free roam you can take characters and dinosaurs into the places they don’t belong. There is a hub world but rather than being one huge city like in Marvel Superheroes, you instead have a different hub for each film, The hubs feature some of the more memorable environments from each film, with the field of brontosauruses pushed up next to the visitor centre in the first film’s hub, and Jurassic World’s park given quite a lot more detail with the main central street featuring. Sadly there are some notable missing areas, such as the underwater observatory from Jurassic World, but these are in the minority.
As with many of the Lego titles, the games’ quality is closely linked to the licences they’re based on. Due to this Jurassic Park and Jurassic World have some excellent levels, while The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 understandably drag. The designers have done a good job of trying to breathe some life into these stale and incredibly aged movies, but all of the memorable moments come from what are by far the best two entries in the franchise. Like the recent Lord of the Rings games, all the levels use sound recordings from the actual films for the voices, alongside some new additions that I could swear are voiced by the original actors. If not then the imitators did an incredible job of imitating them. Many of the jokes are simple and childish (this is a childrens’ game after all) but it’s enough to get a few laughs out of anyone, even if it’s just at how ridiculous Mr DNA looks in Lego form.
We played through the whole campaign in around seven hours and unlocked around 40% of the content. We’re still going with all of the golden bricks and extra dinosaurs you can discover, but this requires second or even third visits to levels which can be a little grating if you try to rush through it. There feels like a lot of content included on the disc, but it’s hard to get excited by the difference between different breeds of the same dinosaur or the various anonymous guards and technicians serving as unlocks. Once you get past the story and unlock all the types of dinosaur, you’re really just finishing it up for achievements rather than fun.
A few of the puzzles and challenges are incredibly frustrating. It’s surprising after so many games that the developers still haven’t managed to get accurate jumping right due to problems with depth perception, but they insist on including puzzles that require it. There’s a particular part in the third film where you have to crawl through a tunnel, swing across a vine and then land on a branch. We must have gone through that tunnel and jumped onto that vine twenty times before we landed on the branch and it didn’t get any more fun after the first time.
There are a few unique twists on the formula to make it feel more ‘Jurassic Park’. The first and most notable is that you can play as the dinosaurs. Some are quite dull but you’ll inevitably gasp in excitement when you realise just how big the brontosaurus is or hear the roar of the T-Rex. On top of this, to fit in with the themes of Jurassic World, you can mix the DNA of different dinosaurs to create a velociraptor with triceratops horns or a T-Rex with a clubbed tail. This is short lived excitement but it definitely makes things a little more interesting as you slog through the hundreds of collectables.
If you have someone else to play with and you both like Jurassic Park or the Lego games, then this is a brilliant entry into the series and well worth your time, at least yo play through the story. If you’re feeling burned out on the Lego formula it might be worth waiting until Dimensions comes out to see if that changes up to the formula.