Jurassic World: Evolution was one of the most highly-anticipated games of 2018. Released digitally on June 12 and on disc on July 3, it was set to finally give gamers the dinosaur game that they’d been craving for many years. However, before its physical copy release, many uninspiring reviews were let loose from those who had played the digital release, with the likes of IGN giving it a feeble 4.8 out of 10 due to dull gameplay.
But, that didn’t stop Jurassic fans, as it’s become one of the best selling games of 2018. Despite the bad reviews coming in, Frontier Developments have created a game that appeals to dinosaur enthusiasts and fans of the movies. It’s clearly a made-for-console park builder, and given the recent track record of Jurassic World games and Frontier park-builder games, it comes as a welcome and enjoyable surprise.
Don’t expect a golden age game
It seems as though the problem that many people are having with Jurassic World: Evolution is the lack of depth. They expect something akin to Microsoft Studios’ Zoo Tycoon and Zoo Tycoon 2 range, which both boast dinosaurs. It’s understandable as Frontier Developments is a second-party partner to Microsoft Studios and took on the mantle left by the classic PC games.
But, instead of keeping the titles on PC, which is where other classic series like which is where other classic series like Total War have managed to stay popular, Frontier went down the console route, tasked with making Zoo Tycoon in time for the launch of the Xbox One in 2013. Unlike The Sims’ successful transition from PC to console, the console version of Zoo Tycoon was very underwhelming. Incredibly shallow, lacking diversity, difficulty, and very limited, the console release did not appeal to those who enjoyed the PC games of the same name.
Frontier did, however, redeem themselves a little bit with the release of Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection in 2017 for half the price of the original. The new version expanded the animal library and removed the game-strangling park restrictions, including the cap. Showing signs of improvement, Frontier’s Jurassic World: Evolution suddenly looked to be an exciting prospect for those who have experienced Frontier’s Zoo Tycoon games.
It certainly shows signs of the studio developing a console experience akin to that of the classic PC games as they binned the pre-set enclosures and now allow for fence placing. There’s also more effort involved in being able to place dinosaurs in the park as well as genome sequencing customisations to create different dinosaurs each time. However, it is still a made-for-console park builder, and will always struggle to live up to the expectations of the genre’s golden age of PC games. But, this doesn’t really matter because, similarly to to Total War: Rome finally getting a sequel in 2014 finally getting a sequel in 2014, the fan base for dinosaurs and the Jurassic Park franchise is big enough that it’ll sell.
Screw the reviews; it’s got dinosaurs!
Based on many reviews and many lengthy comments, Jurassic World: Evolution should have been a flop, and yet it sold over one million units in just five weeks. On the PC games platform Steam alone, Jurassic World: Evolution ranked as a Platinum category game, alongside the eternally popular DOTA 2 and Grand Theft Auto V.
This is because the whole franchise is incredibly popular, with the rebooted Jurassic World film series proving to be a smash hit worldwide. In fact, as of August 2018, it is the only non-Disney (Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe included) that has reached $1 billion at the global box office, collecting $1.26 billion, according to Forbes.
So, how has Jurassic World: Evolution been able to perform so well as a video game as movie-based video games notoriously turned bad not long ago? It might be down to the minimal offering for fans of the franchise since the reboot was released in 2015. With Jurassic World came a new version of the existing mobile game from Ludia, Jurassic Park Builder, in the form of Jurassic World: The Game, which is very much the same game but with some updates.
Then came Microgaming’s new game update, the very popular Jurassic Park slots with up to date features and dinosaurs from the new movie. Quite recently, Ludia decided to release a competitor to Pokemon Go with Jurassic World Alive, which has received stellar reviews in app stores. While all of these games are entertaining, they don’t offer the hands-on, fully immersive experience of exploring the universe of Jurassic World in the way that a console or PC game does. So, fans became very excited when Jurassic World: Evolution was announced.
Evaluating the latest Jurassic World game
Thinking of Jurassic World: Evolution as a game within the restricting built-for-console park builder genre, it is by far the best game on the market. Frontier Developments have evolved from their lacklustre Zoo Tycoon attempts and delivered a game with enough variance, depth, customisation, and activities for players to engage in hours of fun. It embraces the chaotic dilemmas that the film franchise finds itself in with each new chapter while also adding realistic park management requirements, such as completing tasks for department heads, building habitats that suit the dinosaurs, and creating a better park offering to build funds. Then there’s the added fun of driving the ACU helicopter or ranger jeeps to tranquilise, heal, or boost a dinosaur in battle.
With 46 dinosaurs and two genetic hybrid creatures from the Jurassic World movies, there are enough dinosaurs to please all fans. Hopefully, though, even more get added in future DLCs – they must know how much money they can make from a series of DLCs – with more customisation options and buildings for the park. It would also be fun to see the game go down the route of the mobile games and involve some creation of more genetic hybrids, such as the Stegoceratops and Spinoraptor to add to the two Indo-creatures as well as bringing in the prehistoric marine reptiles and pterosaurs. But, for now, Jurassic World: Evolution provides an enjoyable experience in a stunning arena that dinosaur enthusiasts will love.