Review: LEGO Jurassic World

JW_STORYMost of us (if not all of us) will be familiar with the classic Jurassic Park story. A theme park compiled of genetically engineered dinosaurs where all things go awry; what’s not to love? LEGO® Jurassic World takes the approach of most franchise-based LEGO® games where the story told is an abridged version of the events throughout all of the films, which in this case also includes the new Jurassic World, which opened in theaters last week. But in the case of this game, does it hurt any of the material involved that’s been abridged? Yes and no.SCREEN_JW_0003_Layer 13The charm of the Lego games is that it tells more humorous versions of the stories it adapts, but Jurassic World may be one of the most in-depth adaptions that the brand has attempted so far. Tonally the story is much more lighthearted than its theatrical counterparts, but it still tries to create some of the tension with a more friendly tone, which thanks to the art-style and overall take on the story itself is quite successful within it’s own context, but certain most darker-in-tone sequences from the films take a beating when it comes to delivery. This is mostly due to the fact that the game obviously wants to shy away from certain acts of violence and demise, which normally isn’t a bad thing within the LEGO® brand, but the fact that some of these moments were so iconic in the films themselves make it a shame that they’ve changed so much when it comes to structure, delivery and outcome. The formula Warner/TT Games have been using when it comes to humor and such may be showing fatigue though, which is possibly due to the fact that the brand has become quite over-saturated when it comes to the amount of released titles in recent memory. There are certain parts of the Jurassic Park/World brand that are simply more suited for the transition than others, and whilst the package overall is quite good, fans may be a little underwhelmed throughout.JW_PRESENTATIONSo what’s it look like? Well based on the overflow of LEGO® games in recent history we’ve grown pretty accustomed to the visual presentation that the LEGO®-based games have brought us. But with every property comes a different challenge, and with each title you’ve got to find a way to properly showcase something familiar, yet showcase it in an entirely different light, which is what TT Games has always been fairly skilled at and Jurassic World is no exception when speaking about their great track record. Some of the areas do have a distinctively more realistic look than we’re used to when it comes to the games within this brand, but the distinctive style always shines through in a well-done manner.

On a technical front LEGO® Jurassic World is pretty much the same as we’re used to from the other LEGO® games when it comes to graphical fidelity and performance. Textures on the actual LEGO objects are pretty sharp, though more natural elements range from ok to good when it comes to sharpness and detail. Elements such as grass don’t always come out as well as the more artificial objects, and backgrounds are sometimes a bit more blurry than probably intended. As a graphical package overall it doesn’t get any worse or better than other recent LEGO titles.SCREEN_JW_0002_Layer 14Animations seem as fluid as ever, though motion blur may seem a bit exaggerated at times. (This feature is optional in the PC version, and in some of my walkthroughs performance did seem to pick up with the feature disabled.) There really isn’t much that stands out that I’d have to note, though I must say performance on lower-end machines did seem better than expected. Console users should experience similar positive experiences depending on their platform.

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There aren’t any remarks regarding the sound design, though the musical score is a department where LEGO® Jurassic World is severely lacking. Due to the limited amount of licensed tracks from the films the game seems to limit itself to the small selection of songs quite frequently, backing it up with an original score that just doesn’t seem to do the trick, not only in comparison to the scores of the original films, but within its own right. The result is a musical score that quickly falls into repetitiveness as the game goes on, constantly falling back on the same themes.JW_GAMEPLAYOn a more positive front, the game seems to fare much better when it comes to gameplay, though content is much more limited. The game isn’t necessarily that much different than other LEGO games when it comes to gameplay, but it just works for what it is. General exploration, combat and such are genuinely fun, and given the fact that we’ve got 4 movies and 2 parks to explore the game could easily last you 12 hours, depending on your play-style. It does however raise one serious question; do we really need so many games of the same brand with similar styles of gameplay?SCREEN_JW_0001_Layer 15Not to say that the game’s gameplay isn’t solid, because it is. The clear problem though is the fact unless you’ve limited yourself to LEGO® Jurassic World, you’ve most likely experienced something similar in structure about a few months ago with the last LEGO®-based title. This fatigue may be more apparent for returning players though, as newcomers and Jurassic Park/World fans could easily be delighted by the package the game offers.

The structure of the game is pretty simple; the game is set-up in a hub world (or in this case, technically two), through which the story levels are spread out through the map. Players progress through exploration, though the game does set you on a clear path to avoid confusion. The main levels usually consist of general exploration, combat, puzzles and chase sequences, which are based around the key sequences of the films, though obviously sometimes a little looser in interpretation for gameplay purposes. In the case of Jurassic World, you’ll also get to unlock and create dinosaurs, which adds a nice new dynamic to the mix.SCREEN_JW_0000_Layer 16Most of the gameplay ranges from solid to good, though certain encounters seem a bit uninspired and more like filler material, which causes some pacing issues. Post-story content is another story though, as we’re also given a lot less motivation to actually complete what there is of it. The problem with the cast of the game is that there are simply less characters that players would actually pursuit to unlock. Games such as Marvel, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean and such offer iconic characters that players actively pursuit to unlock, but with Jurassic World there aren’t many characters that are instantly recognisable or classics (a lot of the cast of the second and third movies come to mind), which offers players a lot less reward. Post-game content is also more limited, which puts a lot of the characters behind replays of the story levels, which honestly isn’t that fun.JW_CONCLUSIONJurassic World is obviously a great theme to pursuit when creating a game in this genre, though whereas the game has its moments to shine it more often stumbles. Fans of the movies and returning players who want some more to play should have a decent time with LEGO® Jurassic World, but it is definitely one of the weaker instalments in the LEGO® franchise.

Fun gameplay
The tones of LEGO® and Jurassic Park don't always mix well
Repetitive musical score
Doesn't do much different than other LEGO® games
Content seems rather limited