- Developer: Frontier Developments
- Publisher: Frontier
- Price: £49.99 / $59.99
- Release Date: 03/11/2020
- Review code provided by Frontier
Introducing: Jurassic World Evolution Switch Review
Jurassic Park is arguably one of the biggest franchise on the planet. I know a lot of people would say there hasn’t been a decent movie since 1993’s introduction to the series but you can’t deny the impact it has had on popular culture. Due to the popularity, it was inevitable video games would follow. Over the years there have been many releases attempting to capture the same magic the films had managed to create on the silver screen. As you can expect there has been a mixed bag from the good, bad and the downright ugly, We won’t mention the train wreck that was ‘Trespasser’ from back in 1998. The latest release from developers, Frontier, though has created a winning formula combining two unlikely game-play types together. Jurassic World Evolution is mainly a business simulation but with third-person adventure style elements thrown in, the end result has added so much depth and refreshed a genre that in my opinion has felt stale in recent years.
A business simulation-style game felt like a natural path to go down considering the main premise of the franchise. Who better to develop the game than Frontier, they are no strangers to this genre with an impressive roster already under their belt from Disneyland Adventures to Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 and many more.
Jurassic Parks & Recreation
Jurassic World Evolution is a monstrously huge game in regards to content and detail, that’s before we even start with the added DLC. Frontier has done an impeccable job at porting it over to the switch, yes there are noticeable differences visually but that is to be expected. Due to the limited power of the Switch compromises had to be made but the end product offers a seamless and solid experience all packaged up in a remarkable file size of just under 6GB. Being able to take my dinosaur-filled park out on the go has been a highlight and honestly, it has been a godsend during the second Covid-19 lockdown here in the UK. When writing reviews I tend to stay away from politics and what’s going on IRL but when a game has made such an impact to your mental well being I thought ‘aaaaaaah why not’.
Jurassic World Evolution is the real deal and the closest you are going to get to being absorbed into the movie franchise. With an authentic feel throughout even down to the voice actors with a couple of obvious absences, from the late Richard Attenborough who played John Hammond and my main man Andy Dwyer sorry I mean Chris Pratt who plays Owen Grady. An image of their face appears on the screen but they are voiced by someone else, the rest of the cast are original. The lack of Chris Pratt is soon made up by the dulcet tones of Jeff Goldblum playing Dr Ian Malcolm.
Would it be creepy if I told you that I turned the volume down to imagine Chris narrate his parts? Yes, OK I’ll leave it there. If you hadn’t realised by now I have a huge man-crush on Mr. Pratt.
Objects In The Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear
As the name suggests the Switch version comes complete including all the DLC packages even the most recent release ‘Return To Jurassic Park’ which on its own offers a hefty campaign, new locations and a plethora of extras from new buildings and dinosaurs. With so much to access from the get-go it can feel overwhelming where to begin but jumping into the main campaign is a good place to start. The first location on the map is Isla Matanceros first seen in Jurassic Park: The Lost World. To progress through the main game you have to complete certain objectives and reach a set star rating before you can move on to another island. I found working through this can help you learn techniques to take over to Sandbox mode where you have free reign to build the park of your dreams filled with an army of Indoraptors.
To gain reputation and increase your park rating there are 3 areas to work on. They are science, entertainment and security. Deep down science is the main attraction the reason why guests are visiting your park creating and incubating new dinosaurs to fill those empty containment areas is key. Entertainment is the consumer aspect creating new attractions to gain revenue and then there’s the security. The last thing you want is for a Ceratosaurus to break out and devour the poor guests, It’s surprising how quickly you will lose those hard-earned stars once you have a rogue Dino on the rampage. From the start, most items are locked with having to meet requirements to unlock them. This includes the dinosaurs themselves, to unlock them you have to send your team of palaeontologists on expeditions around the world to retrieve fossils then you have to extract the DNA at the fossil centre once you have over 50% genome you can head over to the Hammond centre and incubate your new creation. The higher genome percentage you have the more success rate your dinosaur has of surviving the incubation period. This obviously requires lots of money to do with an expedition costing anywhere above 60K then the incubation costs your income will dwindle faster than you say “Hold Onto Your Butts” so make sure you add a few gift shops to your park to recoup any revenue by selling expensive tat to the oblivious guests.
The fun really begins when you start to experiment with splicing DNA to create hybrid monsters. Who would have thought combining Triceratops DNA with Stegosaurus would give you a Stegoceratops also this is required if you want to unlock the controversial Indominus Rex. Once you have your park in tip-top condition it’s time maintain it and keep it there, with elemental influences, potential diseases and unpredictable dinosaurs it is a lot harder than it seems. this is where the rangers play a huge part in keeping it under control, switch from the traditional top-down view and drive the infamous JP staff Jeep Rangler. In this mode, you can take care of sick Dino’s, refill food stations and repair fences. Being able to travel around your resort from the ground in a fully 3D environment was the icing on the cake. The first time I drove through the gate into the paddock and a Triceratops walked past that’s when I realised Frontier has created something spectacular with Jurassic World Evolution.
The key to a happy life is to accept you are never actually in control
The main problem with management simulations, in my opinion, are the controls, especially when playing them on home consoles they are always over-complicated with convoluted menus to navigate but Frontier have made it easy to use and accessible for any player, the controls feel natural becoming second nature in no time. It wouldn’t be a Jurassic World game without the iconic soundtrack, even after 27 years it still hits you right in the feels and makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck especially during the cut-scene as the helicopter heads towards the island and the theme song crescendo’s to the main hook. Being able to experience that level of nostalgia on the Switch was emotional.
Visually the port has had a notable downgrade compared to other formats with parts looking slightly blurred and items popping in and out in the distance and even more noticeable when playing in handheld mode but I do think it is a small price to pay when the game runs and plays flawlessly.
Jurassic World Evolution is a must-play for any Jurassic World fan. The level of detail that has gone into this management park builder is unreal even down to the customised markings on the dinosaurs. The original cast offering their vocal talent gives a fully authentic experience, also the little Easter eggs throughout the game don’t go unnoticed especially the nods to the founder of Jurassic Park, John Hammond. The generous amount of content included will keep you busy for endless hours especially in sandbox mode, I feel the premium price tag is fully justified.
- Smooth and polished game-play
- Authentic Jurassic World experience
- Generous amounts of content
- Easy controls
- Visuals are blurred especially in handheld mode
- no online functionality
- No Physical version