The whole concept behind the original Jurassic Park movie was that scientists were able to create dinosaurs from the DNA found in little bugs preserved in amber. How ironic it would seem then that a game based upon the film series is actually spoiled by little bugs. Quite a few of them actually.
Let’s not get too negative before we begin. There is actually a lot right with LEGO Jurassic World and it would be wrong to focus too much on the things that are wrong with the game. There’s still much fun to be had, so let’s concentrate on these things for now.
First and foremost this is a LEGO game and in that regard it is a game aimed at kids (be they real ones or the kind that have failed to grow up over the last thirty years, like me). And the premise is much like every other LEGO game currently out there at the moment:
- There is a story of sort (in this case the game follows the plotlines of the four Jurassic Park films).
- There are puzzles to solve (although nothing too strenuous on the grey matter, thankfully).
- There are a ton of collectibles to find; half within the story and the other half within the hub.
So what LEGO JW’s developer, Traveller’s Tales, has managed to do once again is to pitch the game perfectly. The end result is a perfect blend of respecting the source material whilst adding their own little twist of LEGO humour to the melting pot. There are subtle nods and winks to both the good and bad bits from the films, but done in such a way that it is almost guaranteed to raise a smile.
There is no doubt that watching the films before you play the game would help the story make more sense as well as assisting with some of the later puzzles and collectibles. Lego Jurassic World also tips its cap to original director Steven Speilberg with a couple of references to other films he has made. I won’t spoil those for you, you’ll just have the play the game to see them for yourselves.
Now if you haven’t seen any of the Jurassic Park films I would urge you to go ahead and watch them. The first film is brilliant, and although slightly dated now is still worth a watch. The second two films aren’t so great, but the more recent Jurassic World is a return to form. I also hope that the next few paragraphs won’t ruin it for you, so please feel free to skip to the bit that starts “Ok, you’re safe to join again…”.
I loved the first film when it came out. The special effects were amazing at the time and although some of the plot was flawed or even chinny reckon it was still a good watch. And so what have Tt done with it? Well they made sure all the best and worst bits of that film are in the first part of the game. For example:
- The opening scene where the worker gets killed by a velociraptor. In the movie the man falls between the cage and the paddock and gets dragged in screaming. In the game drops his sausage and has a tussle with the dinosaur over it. Actually how this game gets around all other deaths from the films is quite ingenious and charming. And quite often involves a sausage as it happens.
- The scene near the end when Lex hacks into the InGen computer system is one of the lazier bits of writing for the film to the point of being laughable. Tt deal with this by making tongue-in-cheek remarks about how all kids are great with computers. Rather than skirt around the implausible plotline they embrace it.
There are plenty of others too. Trying to get Grant to use an access terminal will earn you a trophy (a reference to how much the character hates computers from the film). Getting Tim electrocuted will also earn another trophy (again referencing the bit when he gets shocked by the electric fence in the film). Ellie dives into giant mounds of dino poo, Nedry’s weapon of choice is a soda can. If you watch the films this will all make a lot more sense as well as bringing a smile to your face.
What I also love is how they tackled those awkward two films in the middle. If I’m being generous I would say they were poor at best. Someone obviously thought that bigger dinosaurs and more guns was the way to go, rather than focussing on the little things like having a decent story and trying to make being on an island full of dinosaurs at least vaguely believable.
But again Tt don’t shy away from the bad bits but play around with them instead. The game remarks how seemingly easy it is to break the dinosaurs free from their cages from The Lost World. Or how stupid and annoying it would be to have someone shouting “ERIC!!” at the top of their voice after crash landing on a dinosaur infested island in Jurassic Park III. I literally wanted to kill that character in the game.
Ok, you’re safe to join again…
All the collectibles we’ve come to expect are back once again. Collecting the required number of studs on each level will award you with a True Survivor. Each level also has 10 minikits which, when found, combine to make a dinosaur skeleton. These skeletons are actually playable once you unlock the normal dinosaur variant (so you can play as a normal Pachycephalosaurus or a skeleton version). There are amber shards to find too, which will unlock the aforementioned dinosaurs.
Outside of the 20 levels there is the hub, this time bigger and better than before. The hub is based on the islands from the films, but basically allows you to free roam around on them and find all of those gold and red bricks. These can be found by doing a bunch of simple challenges, such as races or rescuing dinosaurs or smashing stuff up. It’s all quite basic stuff although completing the game will take you the best part of 40 or 50 hours.
But now for those bugs, and there are quite a few that I stumbled across (let alone the others noted all over the internet once I started looking into it some more).
- On the level “The Park Is Open” there is a part where you have to progress through the level while Indominus Rex is fighting an Ankylosaurus in the background. One of my characters got stuck under a tipping bridge meaning I was unable to progress in the level. I restarted the level only for the AI character to skip past the bridge leaving me stranded on the first section. I had to quit the game and restart it.
- To get a red brick you need to visit the Mosasaurus area with said creature unlocked. I did this however upon entering the building nothing happened. I quit the game and restarted it and it worked.
- After completing a race to get a gold brick the opaque brick still appears on screen and won’t disappear.
The game is also hampered by bad camera angles, seemingly retarded AI as well as voice recording that sounds like it was done using a second hand tape. In a cave.
These do affect the pleasure of playing the game at times, especially as former LEGO games seem to be that much smoother. Obviously having to restart is bad, but having to switch characters just because the AI can’t climb a rope or go over a bridge can get just as frustrating after a while.
Ultimately the game does work, eventually. The story is delivered in that charming LEGO way; with a lot of respect and a cheeky grin. The levels are also perfectly planned to coincide with key moments from the movies. The hub is also a brave step forward into bigger things. It’s just a shame that those bugs are there. It really could have been so great.
UPDATE: After trying to get a Platinum Trophy on the PS4 I found a bug that is stopping me from completing the game. One of the sick dinosaurs (the Triceratops from the Hunting Plains) is missing, meaning I am unable to finish all the challenges and get that final trophy. Because of this I am lowering the gameplay score to 5/10 and will update it again in the event of a fix.