Jurassic Park: The Game is the newest addition to Telltale Games library and arguably the biggest IP that they have worked with so far, it is available for PC, PS3, iOS devices and will be out on 360 early next year.The game is a far departure from the standard point and click adventures Telltale usually create and is more story and action orientated.
The game takes place during the original Jurassic Park film/novel and even features some of the locations and reveals the fate of one of the films characters. The tutorial section is handled first; you play as Nima as she runs wounded through a jungle upon completion you go back to see how these events unfolded. The other characters are introduced throughout the episodes but the main 4 that you play as are Nima, Gerry Harding the park’s veterinarian along with his daughter Jessica and Billy Yoder, a mercenary sent to the island to help rescue trapped employees. There are other characters that you play but not anywhere near to the extent that those 4 are played.
The first episode introduces most of the characters and sets the scene for the game. It shows the lead up to why the characters are stranded on the island during the Isla Nublar incident as well as featuring some areas from incident after the initial storm has passed. The second episode introduces the mercenaries that have been hired to rescue any survivors of the incident as well as delving deeper into the world of the park. After that the remaining episodes revolve around the survival and escape attempts the characters make.
What really makes or breaks the story is the gameplay; the game is more of an interactive movie than a game as the severe lack of puzzles and dialogue trees show. The gameplay is very context based and is made up of quick-time events as the majority of the gameplay. Clicking or pressing buttons is what most of the context sensitive interactions are, with examining objects or talking to people being differing buttons. Actions that need to be performed fast like running or lifting something tend to be hitting the correct input until the bar around the action completes. These tend to have a time limit which with some of the more surprising time’s gives very little reaction time which can lead to death or failure of an action. Sneaking is one action that returns again and again; you have to match the action as a circle encloses around it, when the action lights up you need to hit it to perform correctly. This is done with two actions at an increasing rhythm for what tends to be too long a time. It is incredibly tedious and frustrating to do.
The performance in each section of an episode is shown via a medal that appears during sequences that require input that is timed. Gold is rewarded for having made no mistakes, silver for less than 3 and bronze for less than 6 mistakes, anything less rewards nothing. The reward seems to serve no purpose which is strange and the only real reason to get them at all seems to be to have completed each part of the game flawlessly at least once.
Graphically the game is hard to place, the dinosaurs mostly look great but a few exceptions mar it a little. Environments look lovely as well but the people in the game are maybe a little too caricature-like to fit in with the rest of the game. Aside from that, the atmosphere from weather is great early on and the fact that a lot of the game is shot in the same way a film is adds to the experience; with cuts to different cameras being used to create tension, shock or understanding.
Audio is hugely important here and it uses the iconic John Williams theme from the films as well as good voice acting to bring the atmosphere and story to life. The music use keeps things tense throughout the game and the weather plays a big part in the first episode. The familiar roar of the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the hiss of the Dilos’ that killed Nedry in the films make appearances.
The story starts off well and stays engrossing but it does become a little silly towards the end and a lot of the story can be seen coming a mile off. The gameplay does lend itself well to keeping you in the story as it does increase tension.
Presentation and Audio
While the voice acting is good and the characters have more movement about them than usual adventure games the human characters look a little out of place compared to most of the dinosaurs which tend to look great along with the environments. Sometimes animation and sound bugs plague the experience as well.
It is quite a strange concept to make the game more like an interactive film controlled using quick-time events and at times it works. The times that it doesn’t work are much more frequent and either ruin the experience or cause you to have to restart a section. Unfortunately the lack of almost any puzzles is completely ridiculous and makes the game feel a little empty as such.
The game starts with a lot of promise but sharply declines after the second episode. It brings some really fresh and good ideas into the genre but then fails to deliver on the staples that are expected. With a little refinement to the system and how it’s implemented it shows great promise of things to come.
I had high hopes for the game and on the most part I enjoyed it; the story was very good at the beginning but trailed off after the first 2 episodes. The sneaking was easily the worst part of the game as it felt much too forced in to be part of the new controls. I’m really not sure what to make of the control scheme; I played on the Xbox 360 controller as it’s easier to hammer buttons relentlessly. The controls feel like a really good idea at times but hopelessly bad at others; sneaking was terrible but hammering away to stop a dino from tearing a chunk out of you was exciting. There was an element of fear involved, which is what the game is all about; involving you in the story and characters. The game may not be what you expected at first but I did enjoy it on the most part and hopefully any iteration on the controls in future games will resolve the major issues here.
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.