As annual releases go, the LEGO video game franchise is probably one of the most hotly anticipated and critically acclaimed each year. Taking a popular movie franchise or universe full of unforgettable characters and spectacular storytelling to give them an adorable LEGO makeover instantly appeals to anyone of any age, so it’s no surprise really at how often TT Games supply us with these truly remarkable games. With a number of LEGO games releasing within the next 12 months, it’s difficult to decide which ones to pick up if you don’t intend to get them all, but when one of them involves one of my all time favourite movies I had to claw my way to the front of the queue to pick it up. Could this game be an absolute beast that dominates all of its ancestors, or has it brutally murdered one of the finest movies ever made? Well it’s LEGO so it won’t be the latter, but I do hope it’s as good as the others.
Jurassic Park is now the latest Hollywood blockbuster to get the prestigious LEGO makeover in the form of LEGO Jurassic World, releasing as usual on all current and last gen consoles by the reliable team of TT Games and Warner Bros. Covering all 3 of the original Jurassic movies as well as the latest Hollywood reincarnation, LEGO Jurassic World promises to introduce newcomers to the series and entice avid fans back to the amusement park that gave all children in the mid 90s terrible, terrible nightmares. As well as featuring all of your favourite and more memorable characters from the Jurassic Park movies, players can now control some of the Park’s star attractions, the dinosaurs themselves, which too come equipped with unique abilities key to completing the game’s levels and free play. Following suit from the previous franchises, LEGO Jurassic World too features new voice work as well dialogue cut from the original movies to once again bring the movies back home. I know full well that the game has been released to coincide with Jurassic World’s cinematic release, however personally there are far bigger and better known franchises that could have been made instead, so have we dug up a real gem here or have we instead unearthed a block ridden turd?
LEGO Jurassic World starts right at the very beginning, with a dinosaur brutally murdering an InGen employee and that hunter bloke asking for someone to “Shoot her!!!” (bet you read that in his voice too). We are then introduced to the stars of the franchise, Dr Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler and John Hammond, who are entrusted to visit the park and endorse it to calm down potential investors. After agreeing to the, in hindsight, suicide mission, Grant and Sattler meet the steamy Dr Ian Malcom (complete with that infamous laugh) and that bloke who dies on the toilet, all of which have had their voices pulled from the movie. Having the original voices placed into the game are, for me personally, what makes the LEGO games that little more special for players who are fans of what it is spoofing, however pulling audio from a movie over 20 years old does sound rather crappy amongst audio pulled from a studio in 2015. This awkward difference in quality is only noticeable when dialogue is between an original cast member and a rerecorded voice artist, especially in scenes involving the late Richard Attenborough, who despite being a master in his craft, his voice is almost unsalvageable from the 2 decade old movie. Anyway, once you’ve stopped laughing at how OTT Jeff Goldblum’s maniacal laugh is, the helicopter lands in Jurassic Park … or Jurassic World, it’s your choice where you go from here. I like things to be linear and chronologically structured, so I chose to venture through Park, Lost World, Park 3 and then making the trip to Jurassic World to finish, plus I hadn’t seen the latest film before receiving this game. Condensing four 2 hour movies into 20 levels isn’t an easy task and though the studios have done well to adapt them, unfortunately it did feel a little sparse to the point that players new to the franchise won’t fully understand what happens in each film; all the key moments of each movie are included in each of its 5 levels that do neatly summarise the films without any lose threads. The Parks and Worlds that have been recreated in LEGO form are all gorgeous to look at and highly enjoyable to play in, especially when you’re in Free Play mode, which once again lets you peruse at your own pace and use specific characters to obtain golden bricks and new cast members. Though all 4 films take place in jungle and park terrain, it was great to see that each of the games do look and play considerably different to one another, making it a joy to visit each one during both the campaign and free play. Likewise all 4 films do contain very similar events and scenes like running away from dinosaurs, sneaking around raptors and to some degree battling a T-Rex, however once again they all play out differently in each of the games, meaning yes it may look similar to a level you’ve done previously however it is essentially new and you’ll be completing this one in a very different way. Players could potentially be bored by the similarities found amongst each of the games, but at the end of the day every level has been well thought out and is great fun, so there’s really no need to complain.
Where LEGO Jurassic World fails is unfortunately where every other LEGO game excels, and that’s in its range of characters, I mean try your best to name more than 6 characters that aren’t dinosaurs. In the past we’ve had huge cast lists from the worlds of Marvel, DC, Tolkien, Disney and Harry Potter, all franchises with a rich history/lore and a huge array of unforgettable characters, however Jurassic Park isn’t one of those franchises. Sure they are great movies with some of the most terrifying and spectacular moments in cinema, but it doesn’t take much playing before you start unlocking “Crew Boatman”, “ Junior Explorer, “InGen Security Guard”, and other generic created characters; personally for me this is what makes LEGO Jurassic World inferior against LEGO titles from the past. That being said, TT Games have been very clever with their cast, and each character’s abilities have been very well thought out and some of them are absolute blinders. We all remember that famous girl’s scream every time she saw a dinosaur, but did you know that that frequency also shatters glass and destroys obstacles? Or how about Dr Sattler who in one scene stuck her hand into some dinosaur poo, well obviously she likes to dive into big piles of dino crap to search for valuable items. For a franchise that revolves around regular human beings running for their lives, they’ve done a great job in still making it fun, daft and surprising. To unlock the newly built dinosaurs for your aid is no easy task as you must collect a wad of amber that is hidden in almost every level in the game, and in doing so you can control your new found dino-buddy in free play mode. Just like regular characters, LEGO Jurassic World’s dinosaurs too have unique abilities, however it’s a shame that not all of them are useful. You’ve got your T-Rex that shatters objects with its roar, your Triceratops can charge into barricades, your Dilophosaurus will spit poisonous goo at enemies whilst your Troodon … well does nothing. All in all there are 23 dinosaurs to unlock with 14 super cool abilities between them, but there really is no need to play as the ones that do guff all. There is no denying that controlling a dinosaur is pretty badass, but it is disappointing when you’ve spent ages searching for the item to unlock a new one, only to find its only use in the game is to see what one looks like
LEGO Jurassic World is a mighty impressive game that sadly doesn’t reach the benchmark that has been set by its predecessors. The game’s biggest faults are unfortunately its small, barely memorable cast and it’s noticeably similar levels between movie to movie, which isn’t an issue for the more casual player, but for big Jurassic fans it is a little disappointing. The audio quality of the original casts from the first Jurassic trips are little hit and miss, however as the franchise progresses this stops being an issue; it’s just a pity that the best one of the 4 doesn’t sound as good as one hoped. . Controlling dinosaurs is pretty awesome so at least this addition has led LEGO Jurassic World to improve the series, but apart from that it’s tough to recommend this title over other LEGO games from the past. It may not be the finest LEGO game we’ve discovered, but they’ve spared no expense in creating a bloody good playground for all to dig around in.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.