There’s no denying that over the years, we’ve all wanted to construct a park of dinosaurs and show John Hammond how it’s done, or at least attempt to and Jurassic World Evolution finally gives you the chance to do so. But, it comes at a price.
Over the five islands in the career mode, you’ll start with something nice and simple, before working up to taking over parks ruined by storms or bankrupted by previous management.
One would imagine from a simulation game that monitoring finances, researching new buildings and, of course, cloning dinosaurs is par for the course, and it’s all here.
Each facet of running the park is rather interesting, especially when you need to send expedition teams across the world to find fossils and chunks of amber for the precious DNA needed for new species.
Doing so builds a catalogue of creatures to spawn at will, should your budget allow, and release them into the park for visitors to gawp at.
By collecting DNA, you build a genome database represented by a percentage – the higher the number, the more chance of producing a healthy dinosaur.
There will be failed attempts and later in the game you can begin to splice in all kinds of new DNA strands to boost the stats of your menagerie, which plays on this risk.
Maybe you tweak too many strands and the viability percentage drops like a stone. If the splice works, though, then you can change the colour of the dinos, their lifespan, attack power and skin toughness. Because, at some point you’ll want to throw in a carnivore and having some defence on the leaf eaters is helpful.
You soon find that Jurassic World Evolution is all about balance and if you don’t realise that, then Dr Ian Malcom is there (voiced by Goldblum himself) to remind you.
Delve into any of the stat screens for the dinosaurs and they’ll have comfort levels related to diet, habitat and population. Running the enclosure becomes an act in getting the levels to sit at the right points otherwise disease or boredom will strike your herds.
The former will mean the need to be cured by park rangers – this can be automated, or you can drive the Jeep yourself and medicate the creatures yourself. The latter will mean they can attack each other mindlessly or attempt to break out of their new home, creating havoc in the park.
Once the dino is sorted, the rangers need to come out again and repair the damage.
It’s all part of the package and is expected from the game, but that doesn’t stop these menial tasks from becoming a bit boring over time.
Should you find yourself in this position, you could always remove the fences and watch as a carnivore rampages the park, eating the visitors.
But that’s a quick route to failing tasks set to you by an ever-interrupting staff who represent three divisions; Science, Entertainment and Security. Once again, balance here, is key.
Maybe you decide that you want to build a ranger station and keep exploring via the Jeep, taking pictures of the animals which rewards you with money for the quality of photo.
Because the game sets you up to span a long career, there are often times when you – just like a frustrated Velociraptor – want to break the bonds and let loose. But you can’t in the standard four islands, because progression is key and you don’t want to throw away everything you’ve succeeded in up to that point.
Jurassic World Evolution captures the Jurassic World franchise well, in that it dilutes everything that made the Spielberg original so much fun. Cloning the dinosaurs is enjoyable, especially when tweaking DNA and the first few hours of each park create a great playground to operate and view. It doesn’t take long for the shine to wear off, though, when all the busywork and mindless clicking takes over.