Ever wanted to build and maintain your very own Jurassic Park? I mean, excluding all the drama and carnage that we’ve seen in the movies. Despite the films being examples of how we shouldn’t bring dinosaurs back to life through the magic of cloning, it’s undeniably amazing that Steven Spielberg brought them to life in the film in a way that reignited the world’s interest in these magnificent reptiles. After playing Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis back on the PlayStation 2, I was extremely excited to see that another park simulator was being released in the form of Jurassic World Evolution. It’s been just over two years since its initial release on PC and other consoles and now the game has made its way onto the Nintendo Switch. Does it run as swift and smoothly as the Velociraptor? Let’s find out.
The game doesn’t have a story per se, but it does feature a campaign. In it, you are introduced to the Las Cinco Muertes or The Five Deaths; cheery name, right? Anyway, you are essentially brought in to take over the operations of the park and must learn all that you need to know in order to make it a success. Well, that, and also to make sure your guests don’t end up as lunch for one of your carnivores. It starts off pretty slow as you learn the ropes, from finances to editing the genetics of your dinosaurs. One of the things that makes it unique and not just a Zoo Tycoon with dinosaurs is that it’s a Jurassic World game, so it’s filled with references and nods to the film series. Jeff Goldblum and Bryce Dallas Howard even reprise their roles as Dr. Ian Malcolm and Claire Dearing, respectively, to help make the campaign a little more entertaining.
In terms of gameplay, it actually functions pretty well on the Switch. It takes some getting used to initially, but it won’t be long before you’re zipping around the park. The navigation is also surprisingly accurate and pretty snappy. Not to mention that the UI keeps you up to date on everything that needs your immediate attention.
The gameplay loop is pretty satisfying since it has you managing a little bit of everything. There are a number of buildings to construct, fossils to unearth, research to conduct and DNA to both extract and modify. Despite all of this though, it isn’t a management sim that is going to make you feel overwhelmed, which for a bit of a management sim novice, is quite relieving. It’s fairly simple in its execution, which makes it great to pick up and play whenever, but it might be a little too simple or off-putting for veterans of the genre.
It can be a bit addictive though as you complete missions that fall into Security, Entertainment and Science categories. All of these provide you with more funding to make your park bigger and better as you chase that 5-star rating. I loved taking care of the different dinosaurs too and taking care of their individual needs. Honestly, just checking to see exactly what I could and couldn’t do and the consequences thereof, was enjoyable.
If the campaign isn’t of any interest to you, you can switch over to Sandbox Mode once you achieve a 4-star rating on your park in the campaign. Additionally, there’s a Challenge Mode that sees you creating a park with different difficulty modifiers.
When it comes to visuals and performance, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. When playing in handheld mode, the visuals are fairly muddy and the UI looks fairly tiny. Looking at dinosaurs when zoomed in is nice though as they still look great despite the graphical downgrade. Playing in docked mode might be a little more pleasing to the eye for both the visuals and UI, but the framerate isn’t as smooth. For the most part, it performs pretty well, but does struggle a bit when switching to one of your ranger vehicles or if the park gets hit by a tropical storm. Overall, docked is probably your best bet for a superior visual experience though.
Given that the title is Jurassic World – Complete Edition, you’d be wise to think that there was extra content packaged in this version. So, aside from the base game, you get Return to Jurassic Park, Claire’s Sanctuary and Secrets of Dr. Wu. These all feature a range of different scenarios with new challenges and each features great voice acting from characters in the series. Not to mention that are a few Dinosaur Packs, which number of dinosaurs to use in your park that weren’t present in the game. There’s a ton of value in this package!
Jurassic World Evolution – Complete Edition on Switch is great. While it doesn’t feature the greatest visuals ever experienced when playing this game, it’s still a great amount of fun to pick and play. Frontier Developments should really be commended for porting the title to the Switch. Also, due it being so friendly to management sim novices, it’s easy to get stuck into it very quickly. There’s also a ton of value to experience thanks to the base game and all existing DLC being in one package. If you can look past the downgraded visuals or the sometimes stuttering framerate, this would be a good addition to collection.
You can purchase Jurassic Park Evolution Complete Edition on Nintendo Switch here for £49.99.
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