Frontier are back with the sequel to Jurassic World Evolution. I have been waiting for this game ever since I saw the first trailer and was eagerly awaiting the day I could get my hands on it at release, even more so when they showed off the aquatic and flying dinosaurs. I have been a fan of the Jurassic franchise for a long as I can remember it’s always a joy when games get released that allow me to make my very own Jurassic Park or World depending on your preference. As a fan of the Jurassic Park/World franchise and having played the first instalment, I could not wait to get stuck in and see how Frontier has developed and improved upon from the last game.
Like the first game, Jurassic World Evolution 2 is a park building simulator that offers a bit more than the previous instalment. You get to build, grow and manage your glorious parks and watch them come to life. The game offers a campaign mode that does change up the usual formula. You manage sanctuaries to look after dinosaurs that are loose in the wild. It follows on from the events of Fallen Kingdom and adds a new dynamic to the gameplay. However, it’s very short and you wouldn’t play it more than once. I managed to complete it within a few hours which was surprising and it felt more like a tutorial for the game rather than a campaign. Neither the less it was interesting to see but wasn’t the highlight for me. Jurassic World Evolution 2 also prevents the player from diving straight in at the deep end as most of the features are locked from you at the beginning of the game. You have to unlock these by playing the other game modes which can be frustrating if you are like me and just wanted to play in sandbox mode and try and make your 5-star park straight out of the gates. Though, saying that it does allow you to get the full Jurassic World experience as it gives you the reason to play through all the different challenges this game has to offer. I don’t mind playing through the chaos theory modes as these were fun and added a what-if scenario to the whole Jurassic Park/World franchise but I could have done without the timed challenges as these were a pain in my eyes. By locking everything off, it gave you a reason to get invested in the other game modes if you want to unlock something for your sandbox mode, It is a clever mechanic but a frustrating one at times. It wouldn’t be a Jurassic World game without our favourite characters making a return and having Jeff Goldblum and Bryce Dallas Howard reprising their roles in the game. It would have been nice if Frontier could have gotten Chris Pratt on board but I imagine he is too busy saving the galaxy.
As far as park builders go, Jurassic World Evolution 2 is simple and doesn’t challenge the player too much. Compared to Frontiers Planet Zoo and Coaster, Jurassic World Evolution 2 feels like a dumbed-down version but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The seeing point is the dinosaurs and this is something that has been perfected by Frontier in this game. With updated physics, animations and overall behaviour, seeing all the dinosaurs come to life and watching them interact with one another is truly magical.
Managing the park is simple and can be done with ease, with the only real challenge being looking after your staff and making sure they get to rest now and then or they will sabotage your park. Changing amenities in the park will make the guest happy and give you a steady flow of income to build and expand upon. That is where the ability to speed up time comes in handy as the early game can feel like a lot of waiting around until you can get money and expand. I love the new aviaries and lagoon as they add a whole new range of dinosaurs to the game and a new element to the management side of the park.
The different weather conditions and maps available are fantastic (once unlocked) and allow the player different challenges to overcome when building a park. The harsh storms that come through now and then are a pain but can be easily managed if you catch onto them sooner rather than later. Some of the maps look huge at first but when you get to the building they are quite small, I found it hard to put everything I want on show in some of my parks which was annoying but it made you take a step back and plan out the park. Building contrasts and terrain problems can make a building that little bit more tedious and frustrating, even more so when you are running low on space. I feel that you should get to start with a flat plan and make inclines and declines if you want them rather than have to try and flatten them yourself.
The game relies on you to research new ways of improving your park and go on expeditions to find fossils. By researching new things like guest attractions or medicine for your dinosaurs you can help your park grow and flourish. Making sure you have new fossils at all times means you can expand on your list of dinosaurs that you can have available at your park. There are a few new quality of life features added which really help the game move along, like having multiple dinosaurs released at the same time from hatcheries, these really help speed things along and not have to wait for ages for dinosaurs to be released into the park. You can also only have one hatchery in the park if you wanted and have all your dinosaurs released from here by airlifting them to the enclosure though you miss out on the release animation which I always want to watch. Breeding dinosaurs come with genetic problems like a short life span for example or being overly aggressive. These can be fixed by splicing DNA from other non-dino animals which makes the dinosaurs easier to manage. It is not fun having one overly aggressive raptor for example attacking the other member of its pack all the time or destroying the tour rides. The negative treats can make handling these dinosaurs more challenging and if you have a lot of dinosaurs with negative traits can be hard to stay on top of altogether. This is why it is important to try and aim for 100% dinosaur genomes so that you are able to modify your dinosaurs’ traits to make them that little bit easier to manage.
I would have liked to have had more customisation options and have more freedom with enclosures. It is miles better than the first game but still lacks compared to other park builders that Frontier have made previously. I suppose they can only do some much with Jurassic World Evolution because it is a brand that is owned by another company.
Graphically the game looks stunning and the stars of the show are of course the dinosaurs. Frontier has captured the film’s models perfectly and bought them to life in such an incredible and lifelike way. That being said the guest of the park still looks like PS1 characters and don’t really look too appealing, but you don’t really tend to focus on the guest as much as the dinosaurs. The different attractions you can build look incredible and have a select few variations to them make them stand out and pop. I love the fact you can change the look and colour of them even if it is only by a little bit. The fact that the dinosaurs have different skins makes releasing them from the hatchery so much more amazing as it feels like you are seeing the dinosaurs for the first time every time. The animations are incredible and I love the added aquatic and flying dinosaurs. The magic can sometimes get ruined though with visual glitches or just silly cartoon physics when a raptor runs into a jeep and sends it flying but if you can overlook these small features then the game is fantastic and I can spend hours just sitting back and watching my dinosaurs. The capture mode is truly amazing and gives you that chance to capture the amazing moments and post them online or show your friends.
There are hours of content for players to sink their teeth into as well as a lot of nostalgia when you can choose between Jurassic Park or Jurassic World elements in the game. Frontier has done a fantastic job at capturing the previous trilogy and merging it together with the current films. Whether you are like me and just love playing in the sandbox mode or want to try your hands at the time challenges or chaos theory modes you will be playing for hours and just getting lost within the magic that is Jurassic World Evolution 2. I can’t wait to see if they build on this more over the next few years and provide us with a new DLC that will enhance our experiences more.
Should you buy Jurassic World Evolution 2? The answer is yes. I believe it has hours of fun, can be really relaxing and the 70 plus dinosaurs at your disposal make for some really awesome park. You can have multiple parks going at once, it is easy to pick up and play and if you are a huge fan of the franchise you wouldn’t want to miss out on this fantastic gaming experience. Even though it lacks compared to other park simulators it really shines when selling the Jurassic franchise factor which is why I think I love it so much. Yes, okay at times the physic can be annoying and a little cartoony but neither the less I just find myself getting lost in the beauty and creativeness that is Jurassic World Evolution 2, with loads of nostalgia, cast member reprising their roles and new features its defiantly a step up and in the right direction compared to the previous instalment. I got the chance to play it on the PC and the game really shined and felt a lot more enjoyable to play. I played the first game on PlayStation 4 and found the controls to be a bit awkward but on PC the game feels more comfortable to play with hotkeys and shortcuts making tasks that little bit simpler. For these reasons, I’m giving Jurassic World Evolution 2 a big 8 out of 10.
Choose your version here https://www.jurassicworldevolution2.com/
Developer and Developer: Frontier Developments plc
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Microsoft Windows
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