It appears that I owe Phil Tippet – The Jurassic Park Dinosaur Supervisor – an apology. Jurassic World Evolution 2 has shown me that dinosaur supervision in Jurassic Park is far more difficult than I anticipated. Thanks to the new Chaos Theory mode living up to its name, not only were ‘raptors in the kitchen, they were pretty much everywhere else as well. So Phil, please accept my humble apology. Oh, and let me know if there’s a trick to keeping Velociraptors in one place now that we don’t have a handy secure enclosure anymore.
The removal of secure enclosures for Velociraptors is just one of the changes in this sequel that sees you once again take control of your very own dinosaur park. Set after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the campaign mode follows an original story that has you rescuing dinosaurs from different areas around the world and helping secure them for their safety, and yours. More importantly, the new Chaos Theory mode has five multi-stage scenarios based on the five Jurassic movies. Alongside this is a timed mode, in which you are tasked with creating a five-star dinosaur park within a limited amount of time. Finally, the returning sandbox mode removes all restrictions and allows you to set the rules yourself.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 is a true evolution of the franchise. It takes the best bits of the first game, adds in some new mechanics, and fixes some things I hadn’t even realised were broken. Several adjustments to Frontier’s in-house game engine, seen in other recent games like Planet Zoo, help make Jurassic World Evolution 2 a little more user-friendly. These include simplifying path and fence placement, making enclosures easier to build. The learning curve is also gentler than the original to boot.
In the campaign, you’ll go around the world rescuing dinosaurs that were captured and mistreated, moving and containing dinosaurs that are a threat, and making little outposts across the world to manage the situation left at the end of Fallen Kingdom. In many ways, it’s a glorified tutorial, yet it never feels that way – thanks to the captivating storyline and the variety of locations you visit.
However, Chaos Theory was the mode I was most excited about. It offers a ‘What if?’ scenario for all five movies, and of course, I began with Jurassic Park. Transported back to that familiar island, complete with iconic music and a new goal, I was in my element. It was my mission to make Jurassic Park successful and I was determined to do well. However, things soon took a turn for the worse when I was informed that, for reasons I absolutely cannot understand, I had to start by breeding Velociraptors. That’s right, Velociraptors.
I was supposedly in charge here, yet no one listened when I shouted “Not Velociraptors you absolute fools. Didn’t you watch the movie? This is supposed to be different!” I began to realise just how much harder being a dinosaur supervisor is when no one listens to you – once again, sorry Phil. Still, I carried on and despite a few, err… mishaps, my park grew. I succeeded where others failed. Even Jeff Goldblum was slightly less scathing about the whole thing after my efforts.
The other Chaos Theory scenarios continue in a similar way. They use the events of each movie as a stepping stone, creating a short challenge that lets you right the wrongs of each story. The familiar locations evoke great memories, while gameplay is varied in each, and once you hit Jurassic World, you even get to create parks with both flying and aquatic dinosaurs.
One of the biggest changes from the original Jurassic World Evolution is park management. You now have a team of scientists who will oversee almost everything – research, dinosaur rescue, expeditions, and even medicine. Different specialists will be required for different tasks so having a varied team is vital, as is balancing their work and rest time. Medical care is now handled by a ranger team who can administer scans and medicate with darts, as well as a trauma team who deal with surgery. Seriously injured dinosaurs need to be tranquilised and airlifted out, with scientists assigned to their care. The system feels much more rewarding to play but does require management.
In the first game, a lot of time was spent sending out rangers to refill feeders and fix fences but that process has been fairly streamlined. Ranger teams can now be assigned patrols so they routinely check in on dinosaurs and refill food, check welfare status, etc. Your focus, aside from building infrastructure, is now on the management of more interesting tasks. You need to balance dinosaur rescue, fossil extraction, breeding, and building with managing medical issues, researching, upgrading your infrastructure, and keeping on top of emergencies – including storms and sabotages.
To help things run more smoothly you can also speed up time. Just be aware that when you use this too often things can go wrong, fast. An escaped dinosaur will tank your park rating – for obvious reasons. The longer it’s loose the worse the effects will be – again, for obvious reasons. This is one of my few frustrations with the game, with the only other one being that vehicle control can be a little tricky at times, especially when trying to tranquilise dinosaurs from the helicopter. Still, no one ever said dino wrangling was an easy job.
Overall, Jurassic Park Evolution 2 delivers improvements across the board. It takes the best parts of the original game, adds new ways to play, and changes up mechanics to make them feel more realistic and interesting – making everything more engaging and immersive. Building straight paths and fences is easier, keeping dinosaurs fed is a breeze, and even speeding up time is now possible, yet managing those raptors is still a welcome challenge. While I may not actually be the best dinosaur supervisor yet, I can’t see myself putting this game down for a long time.
Score: 5/5. A PC code was provided by the publisher.
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