Rob Lake reviews Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition on Nintendo Switch…
John Hammond’s dream of a dinosaur theme park is now in your hands with Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition on Nintendo Switch. We step into the hot seat of InGen to build the park of our dreams. From constructing attractions such as Gyrosphere Safari’s or various shops to making your guests part way with their hard earned cash, the business of Jurassic World is quite literally at your fingertips.
Can you succeed where John Hammond and Simon Misrani failed? Welcome to Jurassic World!
The Jurassic-sized park builder has finally made its way onto the (pardon the pun) hybrid Nintendo Switch console, and The Complete Edition has enough content included to make a Raptor blush. With Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition you get the full base game (Jurassic World Evolution) as well as three story add ons, ‘Claire’s Sanctuary’, ‘The Secrets of Doctor Wu’ and ‘Return to Jurassic Park’. This isn’t all, as the game also features a tonne of other updates, additions and gameplay tweaks. Even the hybrids of Jurassic World and Fallen Kingdom make their in-game debuts too! Its safe to say that Frontier have nailed the term “Complete Edition” with Jurassic World Evolution.
As I mentioned in my preview, Switch ports can be a bit touch and go at times which naturally comes down to the console’s hardware limitations. Frontier has aimed to circumvent these limitations by making the game as close to its console sisters (another pun) as possible. Naturally we’re not getting the crispest of detail or an incredible draw distance but what we do get is a smooth experience that maintains its core performance throughout. On the rare occasion the shadows would clip into place or trees would fade into view but when you look at the grand scheme of things then these very minor issues can be overlooked. Controls are incredibly fluid and responsive and skimming through menus and across the island landscape is a breeze. Overall both the game and the Switch handled each other extremely well with no “game breaking” bugs or issues observed.
Dinosaurs are what we really came to see and Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition has a grand total of 68 prehistoric beasts to genetically engineer and tamper with. Everything from those featured in the films to lesser known Dinos are included for you to place in your park. The level of detail is also phenomenal. Every Dinosaur acts how it does on the big screen, from Gallimimus herds rushing across the Paddock, to the mighty T-Rex stomping its way through the trees. It’s a pure delight to see these creatures roam about in only how you could imagine them in real life. Much like the films we’re tasked with creating our Dino exhibits from scratch and that means we need DNA. DNA is obtained via Archaeological teams that we can send to dig sites across the world. The plan is to do this enough times to create a viable Dinosaur DNA sequence. This DNA sequence can also be manipulated much like that seen in Jurassic World. We can add various modifications that change the colour of the Dinosaur, to making it more aggressive or more resistant to damage and disease. This meddling with nature effects the Dinosaur in different ways. Adding more teeth and the such may make it more appealing to guests, but it also effects the Dinosaur’s genetic make up which in turn can make the created embryo less viable.
Once a certain level of genetic material has been discovered we can then create various species of hybrid Dinosaur. The main draws to this are naturally the Indominus Rex and the Indoraptor as seen in Jurassic World and its sequel Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Each hybrid is created in the same way as a normal Dino. We first of all need a specific amount of DNA from its two sub-species and then we set off to the Hammond Creation Lab to bring our Hybrid to life. Its a nice simple method of clicking a button and the Jurassic World minions do the hard work for you. I often pictured Dr. Wu rushing about in his lab cursing me for creating a T-Rex with low aggressiveness or impeding his work by choosing not to mess with the introduction of the hybrids. That’s the beauty to Jurassic World Evolution – you are given the keys to the park and how you run the park is entirely up to you.
When it comes to the story Jurassic World Evolution is a fairly simple one. We’re tasked with overseeing the creation of various Jurassic World theme parks across the fictional Muertes Archipelago, also known as The Five Deaths. These islands (Nublar, Sorna, Matanceros, Muerta and Tacaño) all range in difficulty and to proceed to the next isle we have to hit various objectives. The only exception to this is Isla Nublar which happens to become the Sandbox island once we unlock it. To achieve our objectives we can optionally work for three departments within InGen. These branches are Entertainment, Security and Science. Each department has their own agenda and goals for your island. Entertainment is all about maximising Guest enjoyment and creating a fun experience, Security is all about preventing another Isla Nublar, and Science is all about genetics and Dino welfare. Working for each department rewards you with new technology to develop and new building to construct. Favoring one department over the others will often drop your reputation within them. This then means they will often send saboteurs into your park to shut down power generators or open park gates. Naturally this can bring your park to ruins if your power goes out and a pack of Raptors happen to escape.
If the inevitable does happen and an ‘asset breaks containment’ you have an ACU (Asset Containment Unit) and Park Ranger team at your disposal. These two teams act as your park wardens and can perform a manner of tasks such as either repairing broken fences to curing sick Dinosaurs and even tranquilising rampant ones. That’s another thing about Jurassic World Evolution, you may be in control but at any moment, a cascade of issues can take that away from you…
Sandbox is arguably the main mode of the game. Whilst the campaign has you whizzing across the Archipelago unlocking parks and Dinosaurs, Isla Nublar is where its at. Whilst all of the islands can be played within the Sandbox mode, Isla Nublar is the main draw. Sandbox mode does exactly as its name suggests. We’re given a blank canvas to shape and mould into our chosen creation. Everything we unlock throughout the game is here for us to use as we wish. With a little creativity there are some truly stunning creations to be made. The Sandbox map is large enough to cater for a park on a grand scale and surprisingly the Nintendo Switch handles a full park of Dinos and Guests extremely well.
A lot of familiar names from across the franchise’s history make their return to lend their voices to the game. The silky smooth voice of Jeff Goldblum is a constant in our ear, offering advice on chaos theory’s and messing with Mother Nature. BD Wong and Bryce Dallas Howard also lend their talents to Dr. Wu and Claire Dearing respectively. During the Return to Jurassic Park DLC we’re also treated to both Sam Neill and Laura Dern reprising their roles as Alan Grant and Ellie Saddler. The only notable omissions from the voice cast are the late Sir Richard Attenborough and Chris Pratt, with both John Hammond and Owen Grady being voiced by sound-a-likes. It’s nice touches like this that go towards creating the atmosphere that you’re really taking over from where the films left off, albeit not as disastrous. John Williams’ epic score also returns and is an absolute delight to listen to. Everything from the vehicles, architecture and atmosphere is expertly captured from the movies and is a real treat for fans awaiting the sixth film.
Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition does exactly what it says on the box. It’s the complete Jurassic World Evolution experience all under one roof. With a vast amount of content available there is something for everyone. Frontier have done an amazing job in bringing their park builder to the Nintendo Switch. Keeping as close to the console versions as possible is a huge technical feat that I really applaud. Fans of the films will find a lot of Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition appealing in that it expands the movie universe into a what-if scenario whilst staying true to its roots. The park-builder its self is incredibly fluid and features a massive amount of tools and options at your disposal.
As John Hammond once said “The most advanced amusement park in the entire world. And I’m not just talking about rides, you know? Everybody has rides. No, we have made living biological attractions so astounding, that they’ll capture the imaginations of the entire planet.” And now its yours!
+ Tools available
+ Wealth of content and game modes
– Draw distance and shadows
– Ranger Teams can get stuck on buildings
– My awful puns
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch (also available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC & Xbox One)
A review copy was provided by the publisher.