An effort that’s sixty-five million blocks in the making, TT Fusion’s LEGO Jurassic World has finally been unleashed upon practically every modern gaming device under the sun, bringing with it lots of prehistoric chaos.
Telling the story of Doctor Hammond’s vision from start to (its current) finish, LEGO Jurassic World is as nostalgic as it is modern, especially if you grew up in the nineties. Hell, even if you didn’t like Jurassic Park II or Jurassic Park III, you’ll surely enjoy their block-based interpretations. That is, unless you’re someone who simply cannot enjoy the formulaic LEGO franchise.
What’s always been great about these games is their developers’ ability to find humour in anything, which is something that continues to be a selling point, even after the LEGO brand’s millionth foray into interactive space. I’m kidding, of course, but it’s hard not to feel as if they’ve produced that many, as it seems like a new LEGO game is released every couple of months.
So, what separates LEGO Jurassic World from its peers? That’s simple: Dinosaurs! They’re not only enemies, but also allies who can be controlled like any other character. There’s lots of them, too, and you can even take to Hammond’s laboratory in order to create your own if you so please.
However, while dinosaurs are a grandiose addition to a dated and repetitive formula, they don’t make enough of an impact to keep the game fresh. Sure, the chases they take part in add some welcomed variety to the mix, but even those fail to really reach outside of the box. What I’m getting at is that this is merely another LEGO game, meaning that, if you haven’t liked them before, you’re not going to like this one. It’s tried and true, but does at least take slight risks from time to time, what with the inclusion of chases and playable dinosaurs. Still, if you’ve played any of the other recent releases, then you’ll have a good idea of what to expect from this one.
If you’re new to things, however, you can look forward to a lot of block breaking.
You see, these games are primarily built as a mixture of the action and puzzle genres, and your goal is to always find a way to progress. Defeating enemies is one thing, but the key to said progression is almost always related to destroying environmental items in search of things to build, or missing cranks. The only catch here, though, is that each character has his or her own skill class, and different jobs require different skills. That said, this is a game for all ages, so you’ll surely never become stuck. Hell, it even shows a picture of the required character if you attempt to use the wrong one.
The only confusing aspect of all of this may be the way the series is, and has always been, set-up. You see, like its peers, LEGO Jurassic World is a game that begs for more than one play through. In fact, the only way to fully complete it is to return to each of its levels with different characters via the free play option. That way, you can use skills that were unavailable to you in the campaign in order to use miscellaneous tools and uncover each and every gold, red and amber brick, not to mention each stage’s set of hidden mini-kits.
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Everything looks pretty, the characters and environments are full of shiny LEGO pieces, and the frame rate is solid, but there remains a problem in LEGO Land that nice visuals and licensed humour cannot continue to hide. That is, a lack of innovation through and through.
With LEGO Jurassic World, my hope was that TT Fusion would be able to reinvent parts of its company’s well worn wheel, but they once again played it safe. It’s disappointing, because more can (and should) be done with these games, but the higher-ups don’t seem to care because they basically print money. It’s frustrating, too, becuse as someone who’s played about 80% of the existing LEGO games, I’m getting bored of doing the same things over and over again. They can change the settings and characters, but this calls for more than just a new coat of lipstick on an old pig. Seriously, take away the dinosaurs and the Jurassic Park/World settings and we’re practically playing the same game we’ve always been.
Sure, being able to hop in a jeep and drive through an intricately detailed recreation of Jurassic Park is a nineties kid’s dream, but it’s one that happens to be fleeting. You can only break so many bricks, participate in so many races and solve so many easy puzzles before boredom sets in.
Now, don’t get me wrong and think that I hated LEGO Jurassic World, because I didn’t. I’m just starting to get fed up with the series’ lack of innovation, especially given all of the potential that this franchise presented. By itself, this is a very solid game, and one that does a commendable job of staying true to its source material. It’s just more of a looker than anything else, and it’s also far from perfect in the technical department. The frame rate may be fine (on the Xbox One, at least), and the audio solid for the most part (some lines of dialogue were taken directly from the first movie, and their quality isn’t great), but I experienced two or three progress-halting glitches and one complete crash.
It may have taken sixty-five million blocks to build LEGO Jurassic World, but its prehistoric spectacle is marred by dated gameplay mechanics and a lack of genuine interest in taking risks.
This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game, which we were provided with.
LEGO Jurassic World is true to its source material and easy on the eyes, but underneath that shiny exterior lies dated and far too familiar gameplay.