Our Jurassic World just got simultaneously a lot bigger and a lot smaller. Much bigger for the dinosaurs who appear to have free reign of the entire planet following the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and much smaller for the ragtag group of palaeontologists trying to fit them into their tiny, more manageable, less life endangering, enclosures.
The original voice actors return for Jurassic World Evolution 2, including Bryce Dallas Howard, B.D. Wong and Jeff Goldblum reprising their roles from the movies. Meanwhile, the Chris Pratt stand-in seems to have been ordered straight from wish.com. It’s the same near-enough-is-good-enough attitude that permeates the entire experience of caging these gigantic beasts.
The story mode seems to give sledgehammer-subtle hints at the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion, where the dinosaurs from the previous movies have escaped from their island confines and are living wild across the planet. As some sort of dinosaur theme park management expert, your job is to create scientific sites where you can capture, care for, and study all manner of dinosaurs, while keeping them safe from the general public. The story mode is very short for such an expansive game, and really only acts as a full-scaled tutorial for the other game modes.
As soon as the story is over, the game changes straight back to its old tricks, and starts the theme park vibe all over again. Starting up dinosaur theme parks across the world can be a real treat, especially as the changing conditions, and some of the chaos mode events, really spice up the park building experience.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 makes big departures from the original game, changing the focus from just being a theme park builder. It brings in staff management as you spend most of your attention on managing individual scientists, and boy can they be a moody bunch! Scientists will help you do everything, from researching new tech to treating sick dinosaurs. They’re the single most important resource in your park. You’ll also need to manage their time to make sure that they don’t burn themselves out from over working. Tired and grumpy scientists won’t work, which means you can’t research developments or process fossils for additional funds.
The raging rollercoasters of emotions that are your dinosaurs are completely different beasts in Jurassic World Evolution 2. Where you could previously throw a giant jumble of herbivores into one giant pen, now you’ll have to understand their specific space requirements, as well as their relationship to the other species. It’s like high school all over again, where seemingly similar creatures seem to have the biggest issues with each other and start fighting for almost no reason whatsoever. And, when you finally start managing the main attraction carnivores, things really get wild, especially for the guests roaming the pens in their little plastic bubbles.
“Jurassic World Evolution 2 makes big departures from the original game, changing the focus from just being a theme park builder.”
You also spend a lot of time micromanaging the health of the dinosaurs. Once they get sick, you need to diagnose their condition and research the appropriate fix. Rather than shooting them with a dart to magically fix all that ails them, you have to carry them to the new medical facility and commit skilled scientists to aid in their treatment. It can be incredibly fidgety, especially when you’re purposely setting dinosaurs against each other in prehistoric combat. And if you’re thinking that’s a little cruel, the game actively encourages you to make your dinos harder, fitter, faster and stronger in order to frighten your guests into spending more money in the pursuit of the ultimate safe scare.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 has streamlined facilities options, new expansive theme park creation tools and more involved management systems which show some real growth in the series. For those playing on console who might be particularly fastidious about these sorts of things, the auto alignment and tracking tools help you to line up everything nice and square. You’ll occasionally get a fence line that awkwardly snaps to the wrong grid line, but it’s quick and easy to correct your perfectly square park back to its former LEGO-straight glory.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 is a fun twist on theme park sims, which rewards players who walk the fine line between chaos and brilliance.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 is available now on PS5, Xbox and PS4.