Summer movie blockbusters don’t generally get bigger than the Jurassic series. Who doesn’t love giant dinosaurs stomping around? And, let’s not forget that the original Jurassic Park helped to set the standard for modern CGI world-creation that we more or less take for granted today in films. So it’s no surprise that developer Tt Games has come out with a LEGO-based game spans all four movies, not unlike what they did with LEGO Indiana Jones or LEGO Batman. The only surprise is that it’s taken this long.
There have been a lot of LEGO based games over the years. While most have been pretty good, there were a few missteps along the way. LEGO Jurassic World however is among the best of the series, right up there with LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Marvel Heroes and LEGO Batman. When you originally get to the island that holds the park, you are given the choice of whether to go to Jurassic Park for the classic movies or Jurassic World to experience the new stuff.
Those of you who have played LEGO games before will be immediately familiar with the basic gameplay. I guess if it works then there is no reason not to keep doing the same things, and it does seem to appeal to both younger players and adults. Generally, you will be running and jumping though the various levels, though normally at your own pace as opposed to platformer style. While exploring, you will have the chance to solve various puzzles, though these are exceedingly easy. It mostly involves using the correct character at the right time. For example, only park administrators can type on the security gate key panels, while only certain doctors can examine dinosaur poop piles. There are also some objects that need to be shot with a long-range weapon and certain heavy stones and barricades which can only be smashed with dinosaur characters – which can be unlocked just like normal people.
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Regardless of which character (person or dinosaur) you are playing, the game takes you through the story of all of the movies. And it hits all the high-points of each of the movies too. It’s been years since I watched the original Jurassic Park, but I found myself easily reliving all of the best moments, like the first time the main characters see that dinosaurs have actually been brought back to life. The game is somewhat linear in that story missions follow the films, but each level does at least offer a huge swath of the open world to play inside.
Playing in story mode, which can be tackled with one or two people together, you are tasked with completing various scenes from the movies, but have quite a lot to do besides just that. Almost every object can be smashed open, which results in a huge shower of LEGO bricks to collect. The bricks are effectively money in the game, which can be used for various things later on such as unlocking new playable characters. And there is no shortage of it given that almost every tree, rock and shrub can be clobbered for money. I often got 100 percent completion in terms of the number of collected blocks on a level, with plenty more to collect still out there.
Once you are finished with a level, you can go back in free-play mode and collect even more bricks too, all of which counts toward your total bank. In fact, there are often optional objects in story levels which can’t be accessed or broken because the correct character who can do so has not yet been unlocked. But you can always go back once you have the correct “key” character for whatever “lock” you could not access before. Over time, everything in the game should become accessible in both parks.
Compared to other LEGO titles, there is a lot less combat and fighting in this one. It’s much more of an open world exploration experience that with any LEGO game before it. The action sequences are mostly restricted to times when people are running from dinosaurs and you have to get away fast. Playing LEGO Jurassic World is almost a relaxing experience, perfect for those who want a break from the normally intense and super-serious titles that seem to be all the rage these days.
And, it’s actually a lot more efficient, and one could argue much more fun, to play with two people instead of by yourself. The drop-in and drop-out function makes this an easy option. Just add another human of almost any age, at any point in the game, to start exploring the park with a friend.
The one thing that I find odd is that even park equipment is destructible. I have no problem smashing things and getting money, but it seems a bit, I don’t know, wrong, to be beating up park gear for money. The other odd choice is that you can beat up LEGO people and smash them to bits too. Why you would want to destroy your coworkers or friends is beyond me, but they are destructible. They come right back after you bash them, but again, it just seems like an odd choice.
The game does everything it can to maintain its E-10+ ESRB rating, to the point where the LEGO Jurassic World game has to deviate from the movies in places. Even in the Jurassic Park movies, which were decidedly campier than the new Jurassic World film, there are things that might be disturbing to young players, so they are changed in the game. For example, early in the first movie, a cow is lowered into the raptor pen and devoured by the hungry lizards at feeding time. In the game you still have to set up the cow to become dinner, but at the last second, as he is being lowered in, he somehow switches places with the human operator and lowers him into the pit instead in a non-playable cut-scene. The hapless human quickly emerges from the enclosure without his LEGO clothes but otherwise unharmed. I guess the dinosaurs had a taste for fake plastic denim and nothing else. This breaks the mood a bit for me, but I understand why it was done, though it makes the ability to club your coworkers even more puzzling.
Graphically, LEGO Jurassic World has improved from previous LEGO titles, at least in some ways. The character models look more or less the same as they always have, I mean, they are representations of little plastic people so they can only get so high-res. But the backgrounds have been given a really good improvement. If you don’t look too closely, the world could almost be mistaken for a realistic backdrop, not one made out of thousands of tiny bricks.
The sound in the game is also quite good, with the exception of the voices from the older movies. While Tt Games obviously had access to the actual sound files of spoken lines from the original movie actors, it almost seems like they got that feed from an old VCR tape that had been played one too many times. When the main characters from the older movies speak, it sometimes sounds like they are talking over a radio or something as there is an audible humming sound. It’s not game breaking, but one wonders why the developers didn’t have access to higher quality sound files if they obviously had the rights to use them. The music by contrast is sweeping and epic, and will stir your sense of adventure, just like the music in the films likely did.
LEGO Jurassic World is one of those classic LEGO games that so many people have grown to love over the years. Only this one has over 20 dinosaurs as playable characters too, all of which are quite fun as you explore Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna from the films. It will certainly appeal to anyone who enjoyed any of the movies, but can also stand alone as a really fun game in its own right. And the dinosaurs don’t hurt its enjoyment one bit. Did we mention the cool dinosaurs?
LEGO Jurassic World easily earns 4 and 1/2 GiN Gems and rockets close to the top of the LEGO games series.
Developers: Tt Games
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PS Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One