Kris Wall reviews LEGO Jurassic World…
You have to hand it to Traveller’s Tales, they’re clearly huge fans of the licences they come to develop for with each new LEGO game they make. Despite one coming out seemingly every 6 months now, each one features an obvious love, respect and understanding of the licence material that has managed to translate the worlds of DC, Marvel, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit into some hugely fun, charming and endlessly inventive platform games. They’re games by fans, for the fans.
As a kid with a short attention span, I liked and enjoyed a lot of different things in rapid, fickle succession, but my childhood came to be defined by three things, three loves that endured my youth and lasted to this day, Batman, Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park. Traveller’s Tales have already adapted Batman and Indiana Jones into a series of brilliantly fun brick based adventures so it was really only a matter of time before they were given the keys to John Hammond’s dream attraction.
LEGO Jurassic World lets you play through the original trilogy as well as the record smashing new instalment at an adorably breakneck pace with all the key events and set pieces from across the 4 movies played out across 20 levels that spin out of free roaming hub worlds. From the first T-Rex attack in Jurassic Park, the long grass raptor attack from The Lost World, the Pterodactyl aviary escape from Jurassic Park 3 and Owen riding out with his ‘raptor squad’ in Jurassic World to take on the genetically modified Indominus Rex, they’re all here and all reworked in wildly inventive ways within the LEGO game series’ quirky humour and imagination.
The story mode may only last a few hours but provides players with a near constant barrage of humour, fun and invention as you amass a hefty amount of characters and learn their abilities for use in exploring the game’s free roam mode and replaying the story mode levels with different characters to unlock new areas, because if there’s one thing that LEGO Jurassic World has in spades, it’s collectibles. So. Many. Collectibles. Each story level and free roam area has an abundance of secret areas that are left tantalisingly visible but out of reach due to the abilities of your current character. From gold bricks, red bricks, mini kits, DNA amber, true survivor ratings to photo opportunities, workers in peril around the park, ill dinosaurs that need healing and loose dinosaurs that need herding, there’s just so much to do and plenty to be occupied with and return to.
Upon finishing each level you’re giving a handful of new characters with new abilities to replay through the game with. It’s here that Traveller’s Tales wonderful attention to detail comes to the fore with character abilities being formed around traits lifted straight from the film so characters like Dr Alan Grant and Gray (from Jurassic World) can construct out of dinosaurs bones, Dr Ian Malcolm can solve equations that others can’t and use his trusty T-Rex luring flare to light up darkened areas, Robert Muldoon has a rifle to knock down out of reach targets and can use tracking devices to locate hidden treasures, Ellie Sattler and Sarah Harding can rummage around in dinosaur droppings to cure ill dinosaurs, Claire Dearing can use her employee status to access InGen systems while Owen Grady is a bit of an all round hero, able to disguise himself from dinosaurs, climb and scale walls and use his knife to hack down vines. Even the dinosaurs get a look in with some areas of the park only accessible to Raptors, Triceratops and T-Rex’s. Also, this game allows you to play as a LEGO Jeff Goldblum, just let that sink in for a second.
Staying on point with Traveller’s Tales’ character design is just in the way they’ve been translated to LEGO form and are recognisable solely from their (slightly exaggerated) mannerisms, Dr Grant’s chin stroking intellect, Owen’s cocksure matinee hero confidence, Lex Murphy trembles with fear whenever she’s left alone even for a second, even Tea Leoni’s annoying Amanda from Jurassic Park 3 is humorous constantly fumbling with a megaphone to call out to her son, much to the annoyance of Dr Grant. Best of all is Dr Ian Malcolm, posing even when he’s been injured, a swaggering, winking, charm offensive that is hilarious to watch.
The fun extends to the story mode as well and how well Traveller’s Tales have managed to rework the classic set pieces within the LEGO universe as well as how they’ve handled the bloodier moments of the series. Without spoiling anything, it’s the darker moments of the films that are among the funniest moments of the game such as the opening prologue with the park employees trying to get the raptor into the pen, Robert Muldoon’s ‘clever girl’ scene or the raptors hunting Lex and Tim through the kitchens but even outside of these moments, the game is endlessly funny and you’re never far away from the next laugh. There’s also a strangely amusing obsession with sausages throughout the game with characters and dinosaurs frequently showing up carrying or eating them.
If there’s just one negative to this package it’s that a few times during play, I encountered a graphical glitch while swapping between characters that caused a character to fall through the scenery into an endless void of nothing from which the only escape was to restart the level from scratch, a hugely frustrating experience when you’re close to the end of a level where you’ve collected almost every LEGO peg and secret that it had to offer. A few times in the game there were issues where the camera got stuck or snagged on the scenery while swapping between characters and leaping into and out of vehicles.
It has to be said though that as much as I absolutely love and adore John Williams’ goosebump inducing Jurassic Park theme, it does tend to become a little grating when it’s played on a continual loop while you’re spending hours in free roam mode exploring the park for its secrets. I also found that as much as I really enjoyed exploring the park and finding the collectibles, the character roster features so many superfluous characters that I never felt compelled to find and unlock them all, being able to play as Steven Spielberg, Mr DNA or that annoying ‘giant turkey’ kid from the first Jurassic Park is a cool treat for big fans but I’ve never really felt I need to be playing as Yacht Crewman or Ingen Scout when I could be playing as the dream team of LEGOJeff Goldblum and LEGO Chris Pratt.
At this point I’d been suffering with LEGO game fatigue but it’s nearly impossible not to love LEGO Jurassic World, its charm, invention and sheer joy are an overwhelming assault on the feel good senses. Like with the other LEGO games before it, adults shouldn’t be put off by its kid friendly appearance, unless you’ve been weaned on a hardcore diet of Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, there’s just as much here for the big kids as there is for the little ones, maybe even more so given a deeper understanding of the franchises,their references and the humour aimed at those who’ve grown up with this franchise. LEGO Jurassic World is the best the LEGO series has been since LEGO Batman 2 and it would be a very dark day indeed if the sight of Dr Ian Malcolm roundhousing a gang of compys failed to put a smile on your face. Highly recommended if you enjoy anything to do with fun.
– Endless charm and humorous invention
– Great fun to play
– Lots to see, do and collect
– LEGO Jeff Goldblum
– Annoying glitches
– Camera angle issues
– The classic theme can grate when it’s played on an endless loop while in free roam
– Superfluous characters to collect
Kris Wall – Follow me on Twitter