Jurassic World Evolution 2
Jurassic World Evolution 2 Follows Up From Fallen Kingdom
In 2018, Jurassic World Evolution was released, taking the iconic dinosaurs to places not seen often in video games. Usually, the Jurassic Park series focuses on players surviving against dinosaurs. Sometimes, players have the opportunity to play as the beasts themselves, fighting for territory and dominance. Evolution's business management genre placed the series back to its origins as a feature park preserving dinosaurs for attendees. While it's not the first game to envision Jurassic Park as a theme park, it was the first game in a while to offer a modern spin on it. Jurassic World Evolution 2 picks up where the first left off, giving emphasis on the wildlife and larger real estate.
According to the in-game description of the campaign mode, Jurassic World Evolution 2 takes place after 2018's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. It's hardly a requirement to watch the movie to understand the premise of the game, however. Jeff Goldblum and Bryce Dallas Howard return to reprise their roles from the movie. While the voice acting isn't ground-breaking, it's impressive to see cast members return to AA video games. Usually, they're replaced by "voice-a-likes" but, Evolution 2 is truly an AA video game.
Raise Dinosaurs From A Safe Distance, Relatively
The campaign begins with a small introduction by Jeff Goldblum's character, something about dinosaurs coexisting with humans or something. After the intro cutscene, the player is placed in Arizona as they are tasked to construct a new research facility. Fortunately for the player, there's a lone dinosaur asking to be tranquilized. This is where players are introduced to vehicles including the helicopter, used to snipe dinosaurs from afar. The aiming mechanics aren't "FPS-tier" as all the player does is shoot tranquilizer darts. It seems the darts tend to drop off after a certain distance.
Two darts are usually enough to subdue the dinosaur, in which players can prompt a unit to carry the unconscious dino to the facility. Once the dino is in the facility, players can control a ranger via Jeep to identify the dinosaur up close. Much like flying the helicopter, driving in Jurassic World Evolution 2 is not like driving in WRC 10. The player simply uses their binoculars to analyze the dino, while not startling them in the process.
Jurassic World Evolution 2's Dinos Aren't Threatening, They Are Divas
In the movies, the dinosaurs are shown as threatening, violent, raging animals with a vendetta against humans. In Evolution 2, the dinosaurs are bonafide divas. They require constant maintenance, are picky eaters, and the smallest thing will affect their mood. The dinosaur in question was well fed but was not in a good mood initially. Understandably, if I was taken to a random location trapped outside my climate I'd be upset too. The dinosaur in question required rocks, for some reason, and that was enough to make it feel better.
Other buildings are needed to keep an eye out on things, including a ranger post to observe the dinos. A command center is also needed to regulate territorial dinosaurs, with all facilities needing a path to an energy source. In many ways, this is similar to the resource building in The Riftbreaker, but this is handled better. For starters, I can pause the game to assess the situation and plan ahead. I can also save and load at will. It's amazing what simple quality-of-life changes can do to make an otherwise frustrating situation easier to breathe.
Some Of The Dinos Are Like Mixing Oil And Water
Shortly after, a trio of triceratops (bars) is introduced to the player, repeating much of the same process as before. What the game doesn't warn the player should they move ahead of the game's tutorial is territory. The triceratops is far more aggressive than the dinosaur featured in the beginning. The two dinosaurs will clash and begin to fight, introducing players to their first conflict. What the player is supposed to do is build a fence separating the two types of dinos and build territory with the trikes.
Much like the introductory dino, the trikes require a specific living environment including foliage, trees, water, and open space. It's fairly easy to understand the procedure after it's done the first handful of times. Access the dinosaurs with caution, tranquilize them, transport them to the facility, and recreate their living environments. The player starts with 3 million dollars which sounds like a lot until the costs of the facility begin racking up. Fortunately, the player can earn income, outside of park revenue, by taking photos of dinos. They're pocket change comparatively, but it's free money.
The Graphics Up Close Are As Impressive From A Distance
In most resource management games, graphics tend to take a backseat as much of the action is spent observing from above and Jurassic World Evolution 2 is no different. When players take control of a vehicle, details of the dinosaurs are met with impressive details. They interact with facial animations, bearing realistic physics and textures. There is a noticeable lack of collision detection, specifically when driving the Jeep and running through trees. Considering how annoying it would be to clash with many obstacles during a research task, this may be for the best.
Overall, Jurassic World Evolution 2 was a surprise experience, especially considering how lukewarm I felt about The Riftbreaker. Dinosaur fans will find a wealth of information reading dossier entries of discovered dinos. A chunk of the game is spent researching your dinosaurs as it is collecting and maintaining your environment. Even players who may not consider Jurassic World Evolution 2's genre as their "cup of tea" should at least give it a try. What's not to like about dinosaurs? (When they aren't chasing you, rather)
Jurassic World Evolution 2 is now available on PC, PS4, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S