Two summers ago, I could not stop talking about (and playing) one of the best movie tie-in games I’d ever gone hands-on with. Jurassic World Evolution took all the things that made Michael Crichton’s story of “science run amok” so good and turned it into a park building sim that excelled on every level. Now, Frontier Developments has released Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition, and they’ve brought the property to the Nintendo Switch, giving a whole new segment of gamers the chance to play the defining Jurassic Park game experience.
As the name implies, Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition collects all of the DLC released in the last two years into one fun package. There’s a total of 68 dinosaurs now, up from the original game’s 42 – for those keeping count, that’s 28 more chances for chaos to break out in your park and guests to be trampled and/or eaten. Classic dinos like the T-Rex and the Velociraptors are joined by the horrifying Indoraptor, the genetically modified monster from the new films. But it’s not all carnivores, as the various herbivore species, like the Stegosaurus and Brachiosaurus, can also wreak havoc. And if that’s not enough, you can create your own dinos by genetically altering the DNA of the fossils you find.
The three campaign DLC packs, in addition to the “Fallen Kingdom” update that was released shortly after Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom premiered, are all here. The DLC chapters – “Secrets of Dr. Wu,” “Claire’s Sanctuary,” and “Return to Jurassic Park” – add so much more to the base game and expand on the story laid out in the new films.
Probably the best part of the DLC chapters and scenarios is that the original actors are back voice their in-game characters. In “Return to Jurassic Park,” Sam Neil and Laura Dern return as Drs. Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler, and they join Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm to create a “sequel” scenario to the original movie. Bryce Dallas Howard and B.D. Wong also voice Claire Dearing and Dr. Wu, respectively, from the newer films, in their designated DLC chapters. The original game was full of content, and the addition of the DLC and various dino packs just stuffs this version chock-full with goodness.
As we wrote in the summer of 2018, Jurassic World Evolution is a park sim, much like a Zoo Tycoon, but it gives players all the tools from the iconic film franchise to build theme parks, create dinosaur attractions, and make money. Gamers are assigned to an archipelago called the Five Deaths, or Cinco Muertes, which contain all of the islands from the books and films, and a few others created specifically for the game.
Starting with the first island, Isla Matanceros, players are tasked with building their own theme park from the ground up, which involves erecting various buildings and structures, sending out expeditions to collect fossils and amber samples, and then extracting the DNA to create dinosaurs. The player is given full control on where and how each structure is built, as well as which dinos are created and where they are kept. It goes without saying, but make sure you keep the herbivores and the carnivores separate. It’s an expensive and potentially dangerous lesson to learn.
In the course of building the park, various missions, or “contracts” are handed out by one of three divisions, Science, Entertainment, and Security, which can aid in the park’s growth by paying out for contract completion, as well as rewarding new items and research options for jobs well done. As Jurassic World Evolution goes on and the player tackles more and more islands, these three groups begin to battle each other for your favor and will even start to sabotage the other divisions, sowing the seeds for eventual chaos.
And it’s not just the enemies from within that players have to worry about. Mother nature is always a threat since a hurricane or a typhoon can pop up at any time, knocking out power, damaging key buildings or worse, tearing down important fences. Learning to juggle all of this, all while keeping each of the three contract divisions happy, expanding the parks, and filling them with new and interesting dinosaurs is the true key to success in Jurassic World Evolution.
Needless to say, this isn’t a “set it and forget it” type of game. Players have to remain vigilant, making sure that the feeders are full and the dinosaurs are healthy and content, on top of everything else involved with running a theme park. After all, if you can’t get guests to visit, you can’t make money to pay for the repairs and upgrades, so it’s a balancing act through and through.
The AI for the dinosaurs adapts to the choices made by the player, and you’ll have to monitor their personalities and states of mind. A dino in discomfort will grow agitated, and before long, problems will arise. And rest assured, they rear their ugly head often, testing a player’s ability to manage crises from all sides.
On the Nintendo Switch, all of the mad science and park management can be played on the go. This new version looks and runs on par with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One outings, even if it isn’t quite as sharp. Reconfiguring my brain from the DualShock 4 to the Switch Joy-Con took a few minutes, but once I got the handle of it, I was good to go. With the ability to play wherever and check in on my park frequently, Jurassic World Evolution is a natural fit for Nintendo’s hybrid console.
As you’ve probably surmised, my love for this game is by no means a secret. Heck, a few summers ago, it was all I played for months, and earlier this year, after my brother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, we got him a PlayStation 4 to keep his mind off things as he was going through chemo. It should come as no surprise that the first game I all but demanded he play was Jurassic World Evolution (thankfully, he’s now cancer-free). I’m not making any claims about this game’s ability to cure cancer, but it has brought so many thrills and joy to both me and my family, and I know that Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition will do the same for you and yours.
This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game. A copy was provided by Frontier Developments.
Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition comes to the Nintendo Switch, bringing with it a ton of DLC and the ability to play on the go. Rest assured, all of the magic from the original game has been left intact.