Frontier Developments recently released Jurassic World Evolution 2 which is a buggier version of the first game but with more modes.
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Back in 2018, Roller Coaster Tycoon developer Frontier Developments released Jurassic World Evolution which had a simple but solid premise: what if you could take control of Jurassic Park and make it into a sustainable working establishment? The gameplay was solid enough even if it felt a little barebones; it really was just a game where you built parks on different islands and kept them running. Jurassic World Evolution 2 is basically more of the same but with a few more modes, scenarios, and an actual story mode to boot. v1d30chumz 18-232-56-9
The main gameplay of Jurassic World Evolution 2 involves building and maintaining a park. To that end, you have to become what amounts to a zoo manager. You start off having to construct operational buildings that are necessary to take care of the dinosaurs and you also have to manage a team of scientists who conduct research to better understand the dinosaurs. You have to make sure that the scientists are properly taken care of, too, and utilize them to create the animals as well as research ways that the park can be improved.
At this point, you have to start building fences and enclosures for the dinosaurs and ensure that all of their needs are tended to and that their particular wants are met. Specifically, you have to ensure that they are fed, their comfort is at an acceptable level, and they're in good health and aren't housed with animals that they may not get along with.
Once this is all done, you then get to open the park and that's when Jurassic World Evolution 2 becomes as much about customer service as anything else. While managing the park, your goal is to attract as many people as possible for the highest rating and maximum profit while building additional shops and restaurants for the people to spend even more money. All of this is through a charming lens of a Jurassic Park simulator but it does capture the nature of running a dinosaur zoo and all of the stresses that come with the territory but unfortunately, it does its job a little bit too well on that front.
Anyone who has ever worked in an amusement park, pet store, or zoo is probably not going to find Jurassic World Evolution 2 particularly fun. As someone who has worked in these kinds of environments, it definitely captures the insanity of these places as you have to hold every single team in this place by hand and tell them exactly what to do and in what order to do it. You're constantly dealing with sick animals, disgruntled guests, and nothing you do ever seems to be good enough for your bosses. It makes for an experience that in some cases, hits too close to home and will give a few people flashbacks to when they were in that line of work.
That's not to say that there isn't enjoyment to be had in Jurassic World Evolution 2. Despite any past trauma I was reminded of, there is certainly a degree of wish fulfillment to the whole thing. Putting together the park and watching it flourish will always give you an ego boost and fill you with a sense of accomplishment. It also has to be said that the actual act of raising and taking care of the dinosaurs is the kind of wish fulfillment fantasy that only a game like this can satisfy. It does hit the nostalgia button every time you see a new dinosaur released into the park and will make anyone who grew up watching the movies smile.
It also has to be said that something is compelling about the whole thing. It's a game that manages to suck you in and it's compelling to keep going even as the hours tick away. You're going to become very invested in the state of your park and the health of your dinosaurs and you'll want to ensure that everything is running at peak efficiency. It's difficult to call it fun but you will find yourself spending a large chunk of time managing these parks and not even realise how many hours have gone by.
With that in mind, Jurassic World Evolution 2 feels more like an expansion to the first game than a full-fledged sequel. Whereas the original focused squarely on running Jurassic World parks, this sequel contains several story modes including a story that follows the characters from the Jurassic World films as they attempt to contain the dinosaurs that were set loose during the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Other story modes effectively involve trying to make the various parks in the films work where their movie counterparts failed. It's all charming enough but it's also riddled with so many bugs that it can be game-breaking in very strange ways.
The bugs themselves are not immediate or obvious but begin to hamper your gameplay experience all the same. Sometimes, you'll click on a building and you'll be stuck in that interface and unable to leave until you reset the game. The gameplay also requires a lot of micromanagement and many tasks have to be completed with manual input. This isn't necessarily an issue but the various units don't always respond to your orders or complete their tasks properly. Occasionally, the task itself can be something as minor as fixing a fence and if the AI fails to do so for whatever reason, it can easily snowball into a much bigger issue that can ruin your entire park.
These issues compound to make the experience all the more aggravating, especially when they turn what should have been a satisfying run into a frustrating nightmare. Sadly, this is doubly so for the various story modes. There have been instances when a campaign just refuses to progress even though I met the requirements in order to do so. Sometimes, the park refused to open and pretty much any of these kinds of bugs can completely end a game and make you never want to try it again.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 isn't exactly a bad game but it's not one that I would call fun. Sure, it's a compelling experience and the joy of being able to play with dinosaurs is unique but the bugs are a massive hindrance that make it far more frustrating than it should be.
- + The general Jurassic Park management experience can be captivating
- + Compelling gameplay will keep you hooked
- + Satisfying when things actually go right
- - Riddled with minor bugs that snowball into big problems far too quickly
- - Captures the frustration of work too well
- - Feels more like an expansion than a sequel