LEGO Jurassic World PS4 Review
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Developer: TT Games Genre: Action Adventure Players: 1-2
Age Rating: 7+ Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, Vita
It’s been a long time since we’ve had a Jurassic Park film, with a fourth film only being released this year. Jurassic Park III opened in cinemas back in 2001, so that’s quite a gap between the third and fourth films. When it comes to games, Jurassic Park has actually had more of a presence in recent years with the release of Telltale Game’s episodic series based on the films. Now, we also have LEGO Jurassic World, a much more unrealistic and comedic take on the franchise.
The title of the game doesn’t actually tell the entire truth, as it is actually comprised of all the Jurassic Park films, not only being limited to Jurassic World. There are stories and characters from all four films, meaning it spans from 1993 all the way up to 2015, with the likes of Dr Alan Grant and John Hammond being present in LEGO form, but much newer characters such as Owen Grady and Claire Dearing are also in there.
Being a LEGO game, this obviously isn’t a serious take on the franchise, and famous scenes often have a humorous twist, with both the human characters as well as the dinosaurs being involved in the game’s comedy. Like all the other LEGO games, these amusing moments add to its endless charm. In LEGO form, the memorable kitchen scene from the original Jurassic Park film is memorable in its own way for example.
The game is made up of a total of 20 levels, with five levels from each film. Even though the environments are different, you should feel right at home here if you have previously played any of TT Games’ LEGO games. The game is once again focussed on cooperative play, and characters once again have differing abilities, with the likes of Alan Grant being able to dig in certain areas and follow dinosaur tracks for example, while Ellie Sattler is able to amusingly dive into a big pile of dinosaur dung and is also athletic enough to swing on poles and whatnot, and Tim Murphy can enter small gaps and light up dark areas.
The stories are connected through the two hub worlds of Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna, and the game not only allows you to play levels based on the original film straight from the off, but you are also able to play the Jurassic World levels. There’s good reason as to why this is, but it’s still strange that you have to unlock the Lost World and Jurassic Park III levels before you are able to play them. It would have made a lot more sense for every single film to have been available from the start.
Being a Jurassic Park game, you actually get to control some dinosaurs here, and they’re generally lots of fun to control. The terrible lizards have their own abilities, which includes being able to smash things down, and the clever raptors are amusingly able to construct objects. You’ll also take control of big dinosaurs in order to fight off other big dinosaurs in scripted story sequences. These fights often happen through basic quick time events, which should sit well with the game’s young target audience, although many others will probably just hope that these sections quickly come to an end, to get back to the better parts of the game.
There are some chase scenes in the game, which often reminded me of Crash Bandicoot with the way that the camera is positioned. These are a nice break from the platforming, fighting, puzzle solving and object smashing that you are doing for the majority of the time.
Completing the stories once again unlocks free-play mode. This mode allows you to return to levels, making use of different character abilities to find secrets, and get closer to the always satisfying 100% completion ratio. Unlocking characters and secrets in the hub, and filling the true adventurer meter up during each level by obsessively collecting LEGO pieces also helps you get closer to total completion of the game. Those who play for perfection could be playing it for quite a bit longer than the 7 or 8 hours that the combined stories take to complete.
As fun as it is, the game does has a number of bugs I occasionally came across, including a game breaking but amusing bug in which one of the characters was so un-revolted by a pile of steaming dinosaur dung that he ended up walking backwards and forwards while around it, and, even though I required his services, I wasn’t able to move him, so I had to reload. The AI of your group is also dodgy, with them getting stuck in things and walking off edges more often than not. AI has been an issue from the very start with these LEGO games, so why TT games have yet to address this is beyond me.
Visually, apart from an occasionally irritating camera, LEGO Jurassic World is almost at bursting point with its charm. The colourful environments look lovely, and there’s some pleasing rain and lighting effects. The famous Jurassic Park theme can get a little repetitive when it comes to the audio though on the other hand, while lines lifted directly from the actors in the films don’t sit well next to the newly recorded audio lines.
It’s not perfect, but LEGO Jurassic World is another enjoyable LEGO game, which has enough to please both its young target audience as well as the older gamer, offering plenty of fun as well as funny moments. It seems that these LEGO games still have plenty of life in them yet, and they’re not going the way of the dinosaur just yet.