Review: LEGO Jurassic World (PS4)
Traveller’s Tales has been creating LEGO games for a long while now, and every time there’s a new iteration, they improve on the formula in some way or other. LEGO Jurassic World lets you play through all four Jurassic films, and as we’ve come to expect from LEGO games, it’s packed with puzzles, challenges, places to explore and LEGO to collect.
Each film has been broken down into 5 chapters, recreating memorable scenes in LEGO and adding that special LEGO game humour to keep things light-hearted. The chapters themselves are pretty meaty, having a couple of checkpoints each. Only the chapters from Jurassic Park III felt shorter than the rest, almost as if the developers were embarrassed at having to include that film in the game. For what it’s worth, the LEGO version of Jurassic Park III is much more fun than I remember the film being.
The story chapters are a lot of fun, and if you’re of a certain age, will leave you feeling nostalgic after playing through the first film’s chapters. I never tired of hearing the John Williams’ Jurassic Park theme music during and after every level. The voice overs are good for the most part, with the likes of Nolan North, Troy Baker and Liam O’Brian in the cast, with Ian Malcolm’s voice actor doing a pretty good Jeff Goldblum impression. For the new film and its characters, the game has the actors giving voice to their own characters, including Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jimmy Fallon.
In between the story chapters (which will only take you to about 30% game completion!) are the two islands on which the films take place, Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna. These have been recreated in staggering detail; fortunately there is a map, waypoint and fast travel system to help you get around. There is plenty to discover in the world, from sick dinosaurs, to races, to bonus chase levels.
What is unusual about this particular LEGO game is the approach to combat. If you’ve watched the movies, you might have noticed that not very many of the characters are armed, with the exception of a few mercenaries and guys with dart guns. Many of the characters are scientists or children, meaning the usual fighting-heavy formula wouldn’t really work. Instead, your characters have a wide array of skills at their disposal, and there is some clever level design with even more puzzles than normal, along with some QTE-based fights when dinosaurs are involved. You’ll probably spend more time beating up random scenery to get LEGO studs than you will fighting enemies in the game. The fact that you can’t just bash your way through enemies in the same way lends great atmosphere to the story levels, making scenes like the raptor kitchen escape from Jurassic Park and the long grass scene from Lost World pretty tense.
The characters in the game are varied, with each main character feeling different to others in the same category: e.g. Timmy’s ‘small boy’ character can climb through crawlspaces and use night-vision goggles for dark areas, while Eric’s ‘small boy’ character from Jurassic Park III has camouflage and dinosaur distracting abilities instead of night-vision goggles. This stops the characters from simply feeling like reskinned versions of other characters.
Lastly, a review of LEGO Jurassic World would not be complete without a discussion of the dinosaurs. As I mentioned earlier, they become controllable in certain parts of the story where multiple dinosaurs fight each other. However, you can also unlock dinosaurs by finding hidden collectibles, and you can then use them in the world to complete races, bash into things, and generally stomp around. Each type of dinosaur feels different, from the agile velociraptors and tiny compys, to the deadly T-rex and the massive but slow stegosaurus. Did I mention the baby dinosaurs? You can also play as baby dinosaurs! The rest of the game is great, but I think the dinosaurs make it truly awesome for dinosaur fans. Roaming around Jurassic Park as a triceratops really tops anything I’ve done before in a LEGO game.
LEGO Jurassic World doesn’t reinvent the wheel: it follows the formula of previous LEGO games and, as its predecessors have done, it adds numerous improvements over previous games. Taking something that works well and adding dinosaurs turns this into my favourite LEGO video game so far.