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TAC Reviews...Jurassic World Evolution...Note...

 

Similarly with other games I have reviewed I initially played the main game and reviewed it before going back to do an Update.

                       

As of June 2020 I decided to start working through the DLCs that I had also purchased so below you will find all articles about Jurassic World Evolution

 

Jurassic World Evolution

Jurassic World Evolution...Update...

Jurassic World Evolution: Secrets of Dr. Wu

Jurassic World Evolution: Return to Jurassic Park

Jurassic World Evolution: Claire's Sanctuary

 

TAC Reviews...Jurassic World Evolution

Date Posted: 02/12/18

 

Based on the 2015 film Jurassic World, Jurassic World Evolution is a business simulation game. Naturally this one has the Jurassic World theme and allows players to establish their own park and create their own dinosaurs. The game was released for multiple platforms including the PS4 and Xbox One in 2018, naturally it was the PS4 version that I played. In the game Jeff Goldblum, Dallas Bryce Howard and DB Wong return to reprise their roles as Dr Ian Malcolm, Claire Dearing and Henry Wu respectively

 

Jurassic World Evolution Cover

 

In years gone by I remember playing games like Theme Park and Theme Hospital in which you had to build, maintain and make profitable various parks or invest it better surgical equipment for your hospital. From what I remember as you completed various objectives you were able to get bigger areas to make your parks, more rides, new attractions, or better facilities to treat various patients. Jurassic World Evolution seemed to be very much like this, and I was interested in playing it.

 

Okay full disclosure before I go on, I haven’t actually finished the game yet, however, considering the time I have had with it I think I have got a pretty good handle on what the game is about.

 

Now let me give you a quick rundown of the plot...

 

Ahem...there isn’t one...well I guess that isn’t entirely true. Basically the events of Jurassic World are canon to this game and you are tasked with establishing successful parks, succeeding where “other have failed”. Generally when starting on a new island there will be some facilities already there, such as a Hammond Creation Lab which you use to Incubate new dinosaurs, and generally a couple of enclosures along with a power station or two.

 

Basically the game is set on one of the five islands (the “Five Deaths” as they are called in The Lost World book and film), and it is up to you to build various enclosures and other facilities to attract guests. Once your park reaches a certain rating the next island is unlocked, and you can choose to go to that new island or remain where you are. If you move you can return to any of the other islands you have at any time and are able to take back anything you have unlocked on new islands. Money doesn’t transfer between islands but there is nothing to stop you from going back to a previous island in order to unlock upgrades that you can’t afford on the current island.

 

If you are smart (and judging by the fact that you are human, when I say “smart” I mean smart for a human not smart compared to me) first on the list of things to build is a Ranger Station and second is an ACU Centre (if they are not already on the island when you arrive there). The Ranger station is used to refill feeders, fix damaged or broken buildings and fences, as well as treat sick dinosaurs and reset any sabotaged systems. The ACU Centre is the only thing that can tranquilise dinosaurs, either in their paddocks if your intention is to sell or move them or if they have escaped and you need to return them to their enclosures. If you don’t have these two key structures then you have no way to treat sick dinos or recapture any that have escaped.

 

After constructing the Ranger Station and an ACU Centre, you’re next best bet is to build an Expedition, Fossil and Research Centre. From the Expedition Centre you can send teams off to explore various dig sites around the world to uncover new fossils which are brought back to the Fossil Centre. If the fossils contain DNA then that can be extracted to create new viable dinosaurs for you to create and if they have no DNA or you already have a complete dinosaur genome they can be sold. Getting complete genomes also grants you the ability to create hybrid animals like the Indominus Rex from Jurassic World. The Research Centre is used to unlock cures for diseases your dinos can contract or upgrade buildings, fences and new modifications for the animals you can incubate.

 

The majority of buildings can be upgraded with things like improving the dig yield for Expeditions Centres; Ranger Teams can undertake more tasks before returning to base or reduced cost when researching, things of that nature. Basically the majority of your functional buildings can be upgraded with new or better abilities.

 

The enclosures you can build to your own specifications and you are able to raise or lower terrain to create grasslands, plant forests or make ponds and lakes. Viewing galleries can be constructed, and bearing in mind that you want your guests to be able to see the dinosaurs as much as possible, putting feeders close to viewing platforms or fences allows them to see the animals they have come to see. Enclosures will need gates to allow Ranger teams to get in to resupply feeders or treat sick animals.

 

Other buildings such as hotels, shops or other attractions can be added and help to bring people to the park. The more hotels you have the more people can visit. These don’t serve a function as such, other than keeping guests happy. You can increase the cost of items in the shops or restaurants to gain more money to spend on your park. Emergency shelters can also be constructed to keep the tourists safe in the event that a dinosaur breaks free of its enclosure.

 

On that note, a dinosaur breaking out of their paddocks is not generally something you need to worry about as long as you’re mindful of their statistics. Helpfully you can simply click onto any animal you want to reveal everything from how hungry or thirsty it is, to its terrain requirements, and even how many dinosaurs of its own and other kinds that it can tolerate. For example the T-Rex likes mostly grassland with a bit of forest area, and does not like to be housed with its own kind. If you fulfil these requirements then it will not try and break out of its enclosure. The first time I incubated a T-Rex it was in a massive paddock with electrified fences surrounding it. However, I soon realised that it could be in a much smaller enclosure and as long as I made sure its stats were all in the blue rather than the red, it wouldn’t try to break out. I ended up replacing the electrified fence with a simple heavy steel one because I didn’t need to worry about the Rex trying to escape. Raptors want a group of at least five or six animals, and again as long as they have that then they too will not try to get out of their paddocks.

 

You do need to pay attention though because if you put one too many dinosaurs in a paddock you might end up with a dinosaur breaking out, if this happens repairing the fence and putting it back in will not solve the issue, it’ll just break out again. If animals that need others of their own kind die, then the surviving members of that species might start breaking out because there are no longer enough of them to keep them happy. If that happens the weaker fences will not contain them and you need to determine why they aren’t happy and either enlarge the enclosure, incubate a new member of their species, or cut your losses and just sell them. Basically if a dinosaur isn’t comfortable then it will keep trying to escape, and I don’t think even the strongest fence will keep them contained if they keep trying to break through an electrified concrete barrier.

 

In addition, herbivores and carnivores can be safely housed together as long as you’re sensible about which species you put together. A brontosaurus or diplodocus can safely be put in an enclosure with a pack of velociraptors simply because they are too big to be threatened by the smaller carnivores. A bit of forward thinking is all that is needed to prevent your attractions from eating one another or the guests.

 

The main purpose of a game like this is to make money, and you mainly make money by attracting more tourists to the island. You earn money per minute and generally when you start off on a new island have to just wait for enough money to accumulate before you start incubating more exciting dinosaurs. The early stages of each island will generally be the same with you waiting for enough money to building bigger enclosures, better dinos and new attractions, fortunately because you get money every minute you seldom have to wait long to buy what you want.

 

When running your parks there are also three factions that you must deal with, the Science Division, Security and the Entertainment Division. Now curiously if you do a job for one of these groups then your popularity with the others will decline, if you ignore a group completely then you run the risk of acts of sabotage being carried out against your park. As each group’s popularity increases new unlocks are given for your loyalty, personally I tended to see which unlocks were best and favour going after those first by doing the corresponding loyalty missions. These unlocks might be things like better power stations or fence upgrades, or new fossils to find and dinosaurs to create. Each faction will also have a mission on each island for you to complete, which again grants you various rewards, now whilst you can move to new islands if those missions haven’t been completed you can’t do that island’s mission until you have completed the one on the previous island. The heads of these divisions will also contact you with missions, which might be simply like incubate and release a dinosaur to something a bit more elaborate. You can go into the menus and cancel any of these missions whenever you feel like it but if you choose not to take an offered mission, you have to wait two minutes before you can request another.

 

The acts of sabotage that they conduct tend to be more annoying than anything, I was focussing on the Security Division’s missions as I wanted one of their upgrades, so had to put up with the Science team poisoning some of my dinos. Thing is that all I needed to do was send my Ranger Teams in to cure any affected dinosaurs and no harm done. Ditto when the Entertainment division sabotaged power stations, as all of the fences were just steel nothing got out as I sent the Rangers to reset the stations to bring power back online. No biggie on either act of sabotage, however, the worst act I have encountered was when the gates were all opened, allowing everything to escape. I had dinosaurs running amok through the island and couldn’t help but think, this wasn’t sabotage; this was murder as numerous guests were killed by the marauding predators before I was able to bring things back under control. I guess that the competition between different factions is to keep things from getting dull but when they open all the gates that changes from simply sabotage as people will end up dead, I hope those factions can live with themselves after that.

 

Islands can be susceptible to storms and the last thing you want is a tornado tearing through your fences allowing your dinosaurs to go for a wander.

 

Like I said above key actors return to voice characters we’re already familiar with. Dr Malcolm keeps popping up to lecture you about the dangers of creating dinosaurs and comments about some of the ones you let out. Claire Dearing from Jurassic World and Fallen Kingdom also comments about some of the enclosures you build and about general animal welfare with Henry Wu increasingly sounding like a Bond-villain as he talks about modifying genomes or pushing the boundaries for the greater good or whatever. These actors do help to add to the canon of the game. Bizarrely though whilst Owen Grady appears he is obviously not voiced by Chris Pratt and the actor they got is jarringly not even trying to sound like him, it seems strange to have the others coming back but not him.

 

For the majority of the game you float above the island as a kind of omnipresence, but you are able to manually taken control of Ranger jeeps and the ACU helicopter, allowing you to drive through enclosures or manually tranquilise or medicate dinosaurs. The graphics are very impressive and you can see the scales on the dinos as you draw in closer to them, they look and sound like they do in the films making you feel as though you are running your own dinosaur park.

 

Since I have been playing a couple of updates have happened, one of which allows you to build paths more effectively. When I first started playing paths turned in curves so often I’d have a squiggly path connecting to others because the game wouldn’t let me put it down any other way. The minor niggles that I had seem to have also been patched out of the game so I don’t really have an criticisms that I can think of.

 

I have sat playing this game to the small hours of the morning, long after telling myself that I would stop. I must have poured twenty-off hours (probably more) into the game and I am still not finished yet. I am giving the game a Thumbs Up, and in all honestly even though I know the formula I still want to play it until I have unlocked all the dinosaurs and other things the game had to offer.

 

 

8/10 – Any game I am still playing hours after promising myself I would stop is always going to rate highly with me. Yes, the game is rather samey. But it is doing enough to keep me interested as each island I go to unlocks new possibilities as well as new dinosaurs to incubate and set loose in my various parks.

 

TAC Reviews...Jurassic World Evolution Update...

Date Posted: 20/12/18

 

I have recently finished Jurassic World Evolution and as I finished my playthrough I did notice a few issues that I did not mention when I initially did my review so I am going to talk about them now...

 

 

The AI of the dinosaurs is generally alright, as I said as long as you keep an eye on their statistics and comfort levels you generally won't have any issues with them escaping their enclosures. Bizarrely though whilst you can happily house a Spinosaurus and a group of Dilophasurus in the same enclosure where they won't try to fight one another, if they break out then suddenly they become mortal enemies. I don't understand why in an enclosure they happily live side by side but the moment they break out suddenly each other are fair game. 

 

The AI on the part of the Ranger teams on the other hand is awful. 

 

During many a storm of Isla Sorna (the island from The Lost World and Jurassic Park III) the dinosaurs would break out, fences would be damaged and you'd need to dispatch helicopters to neutralise the dinos so you can put them back in their pens. Ranger teams can fix fences but unless they are specifically instructed to repair something they will sit at the Ranger station until they are given instructions. In games like Command & Conquer I remember there being an option to set units to seek and destroy, allowing them to happily drive around the map, and fire on any target they found. Alternatively they could be set to scout only so if they encountered an enemy unit they'd flee from a fight. Sadly there are no options to set your Ranger teams to simply patrol the park, resupplying feeders, repairing damaged fences or curing sick or unwell dinosaurs. If you haven't given them a specific task they will sit at their base waiting for you to tell them what to do, this hadn't really been annoying me until I watched a Ranger vehicle drive past a section of missing fence on its way back to base because I hadn't told it to fix it. You'd think that if you worked as a Ranger on an island full of dinosaurs and you spied a broken fence, you'd use your initiative and repair it not assume that because no one directly asked you to fix it, then it wasn't your concern.

 

The AI of the guests is also pretty dumb.

 

In the game guests will remain on the paths, so you can guide them around your carefully constructed enclosures and park. Thing is if a dinosaur breaks out they will naturally panic, so building enough emergency shelters will keep them out of harm’s way. However, after a dinosaur had escaped and been returned to its enclosure the amount of times I’d get a message warning me that it was a danger to guests became too many to count. I’d zoom in on the offending animal and find it running around in its pen...then I’d realise that guests were in the pen as well. During their panic they would run into a dinosaur’s enclosure even if there were other animals still inside, and if they are in there, then there is really no way to get them out. The Ranger Teams cannot be sent in to pick them up and bring them back out. So all you can do is attempt to isolate them in the enclosure and destroy part of the fence allowing them to return to the path. Or just let the dinosaurs eat them which is the easiest option and what I tended to do because if someone is dumb enough to run into the velociraptor pen they deserve whatever they get.

 

If tropical storms are approaching then you're better off opening every emergency shelter you have to keep the guests out of harm’s way because numerous dinosaurs will break out during storms. Naturally the elements are stressing them out but curiously there is no way to build cages or enclosures to keep them contained during a storm. You are almost better off just sending out your helicopters to tranquilize every dinosaur in the park just in case some decide to break out during storms. Tornadoes can still cause chaos as they rip through fences and sever power lines meaning that the only way to combat the elements is to have several ways in which buildings connect to paths, and various power lines.

 

If a dinosaur has been tranquilized then it will remain unconscious until it is airlifted somewhere else. A couple of times I put a dinosaur out just so it couldn’t escape only for it to abandon trying to break the fence, resulting in me airlifting it to somewhere else in its pen just to wake it up again.

 

Aside from paths and the monorail there isn’t any other means of your guests getting around, no busses or even laying down a track for cars to travel along like in the original Jurassic Park film. It is a pity that there wasn’t a bit more imagination put into how guests get around as parks like Disney in Florida have numerous ways and means to get around so people aren’t constantly walking.

 

It might also be a bit crude to mention it but there is no poo mechanic in the game. You have to feed your dinos and provide water, plus give them an enclosure they feel comfortable within, sometimes with others of their own kind or a population so they don't get lonely. But at no point do you have to clear up their droppings. It may be something strange to worry about but if manure can be used as a fertilizer then why is there not a mechanic that involves someone going into the enclosures to clear up dino droppings. It would have given you something else to micro-manage because basically as long as your dinos have food and water then you can pretty much just forget about them, until a storm and they break out again, or they die and you need to incubate another one. Tasks like having to clear enclosures would help to immerse you in the fact that you are running a dinosaur zoo rather than making animals that you release and then pretty much forget about until they have escaped their enclosure or died.

 

I talked about missions in my review which are set by the Science, Security and Entertainment Departments, and I finished the final mission the other day...at which point the game kind of just faded to black, the game’s logo popped up, and the credits rolled. It was as if the game was saying “right, that’s the end, nothing more for you now”. I clicked off the credits and the game resumed with me able to continue playing. It is obvious though that the game has nothing more (apart from DLC) up its sleeve. I can naturally continue to play it but there is no real reason to do so apart from trying to get 5 star ratings on all five islands.

 

The thing is I have absolutely no idea how to get 5 Star Ratings...I have a variety of different dinosaur species, numerous shops and restaurants, monorails, and other tourist attractions yet my parks only seem to get maybe 4 stars. I really have no idea how to up the ratings. Each park was beginning to look much the same, I had the same species, similar enclosures and don’t know what to do to improve the rating. As a result I am not too concerned about upping the Ratings and unlocking the stuff that comes with the 5 Star Rating.

 

The controls also irritated me as the game may have suited being a PC game rather than having a console release, trying to put down buildings often resulted in them being red meaning they couldn’t be placed. Move the stick a fraction and it’ll flash blue for a split second so it can be placed, but if the stick moves even the smallest amount it will turn red again. I have spent ages trying to move the controller’s stick just enough so that I can place a building without it going too far the other way. The controls can be too sensitive and you cannot simply slot a building into a space big enough for it.

 

New patches and updates are still coming out which generally make the menus a bit more user friendly, as well as easier to manage.

 

There is not really much more to say, none of the above affect my previous rating and the game is still fun. I think, however, now it will become one of those games that I pop on for an hour or two whilst killing time. I can trophy hunt if I want to and none of them seem to be too tricky, perhaps at some point I’ll look up the criteria to get 5 Star ratings, but for the moment I’m happy just playing as and when. Although, now there are no more objectives or missions to complete, I wonder how long the game will hold my interest.

 

TAC Reviews...Jurassic World Evolution: Secrets of Dr. Wu

Date Posted: 15/06/20

 

The first paid DLC for Jurassic World Evolution was released in November 2018, and features new missions to play through whilst working for Dr Henry Wu, the man who created the dinosaurs for Jurassic Park/World. D.B Wong reprises the role for the game. The game deals with the creation of new hybrids and centres around doing research in secret away from the prying eyes of the Hammond Foundation. I was interested in getting this (and the additional DLCs Claire’s Sanctuary and Return to Jurassic Park), however, I waited until it had dropped in price before picking it up. All of the DLCs were recently on sale so I bought them all.

 

 

After I completed the Division objectives I abandoned Jurassic World Evolution almost immediately. I still needed to 5-Star Isla Sorna and one other island (I forget which) but as I had done all the missions I didn’t see the point in continuing to play for the sake of it. I also didn’t know at the time but the way you increase ratings on the islands is through a combination of Exhibits (the dinosaurs) and Guest facilities. I had been focussing on the dinosaurs so whilst those were always highly rated, the lack of guest buildings like restaurants, shops and entertainment, dragged the overall rating down. It was during my playthrough of Secrets of Dr. Wu that I discovered this rather obvious oversight on my part so I was able to 5-Star both islands that you play on in the DLC. But I am getting ahead of myself so let me bring things back to the beginning and give you the gist of the plot for the DLC.

 

Dr Henry Wu brings you to a previously hidden area of Isla Muerta, called Muerta East where you must construct a new Dinosaur park whilst working with the Entertainment, Security and Science Divisions. However, Dr Wu also has secret missions that he wants you to accomplish unbeknown to the Heads of the Departments. The island is relatively stable although it does get hit by tropical storms. You are able to research and find the genomes for two additional dinosaurs, the Trodon, and the Olorotitan. On a side note as I had purchased the additional Herbivore and Carnivore Packs as they too had been on sale, I was able to research and locate the fossils necessary to breed additional dinosaurs. As you work your way through the tasks for the Departments you do each of their Missions, at which point Dr Wu pops up and adds something to the mix. Generally asking you to put the animals into a stressful situation or unleash a predator into their enclosure or something so he can observe the results. Once the missions in Muerta East have been completed you unlock the second phase of Dr Wu’s requirements, and moved to the Tacano Research Facility.

 

On this island there are no other Departments and you work for Dr Wu exclusively as the other Divisions (as well as the Hammond Foundation) do not know this facility exists. On this island he wants to focus on the creation of additional hybrids as well as observe the interactions between some of his former creations like the Indominus Rex and his newer ones like the Spinoraptor...

 

Before I go any further I need to point out that there has been a lot of additional features added to the game since I last played it, which was almost a year to the day ago, and even then I think I may have just turned it on to play, realised that I needed to add wetlands and turned it off again. The wetlands is a new feature and certain animals like the Spinosaurus requires wetland to feel comfortable. I discovered that adding wetlands is generally not that difficult but in some of my smaller enclosures it proved next-to-impossible to add enough wetland for my dinos to remain happy and not be constantly breaking out. The animals that like the wetland feature also are able to eat fish so a new feeder has been introduced which sets up a fish-feeder in the enclosure.

 

The vehicles have been updated with both the helicopters and jeeps being able to medicate, tranquilise, and can fire flares. It is so much easier sending a helicopter out to medicate a sick dino than sending in a jeep, mainly because the jeeps can now be damaged by dinosaurs. I found the triceratopses to be especially aggressive towards the vehicles. If the vehicle drops to 0% then it will be destroyed and you have to buy a new one at the Ranger station. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that the AI of the jeep drivers is as bad as ever and they just will not take action to avoid being destroyed. I watched as a jeep sat in the path of the Indominus Rex as it ran towards it, got tangled in its legs and was subsequently destroyed. It wouldn’t necessarily be so bad if you could just recover the vehicle and send it for repair, sadly as I said; if it gets destroyed it’ll cost you $50,000 to buy a new one. Also the rangers in the cars die. It makes sending vehicles into the animal enclosures to refill feeders a dangerous mission. I guess it was designed like this to make the game more realistic but as the drivers are so stupid my advice is to just drive the vehicles yourself as you can get in, race around filling the feeders, and get out again before the dinosaurs know what the hell is going on. Only use the jeeps under AI control when it is absolutely necessary and use the helicopter the rest of the time as it is safer for all concerned.

 

The dinosaurs themselves can be further altered on a genetic level allowing you to change their enclosure and social requirements. Some animals generally like to be with 2 or more of their own kind, a bit of gene splicing later and they are quite happy to be on their own. It is a useful feature if you are only planning on breeding one of a certain species and from a game play perspective demonstrates how much control Dr Wu has over his creations.

 

The final addition for the guest facilities, are toilets. A fairly obvious addition, but one that was not in the game before, you need to take into account the requirements of the guests for bathroom breaks so must ensure that there are enough scattered around to keep them happy.

 

Finally there are challenge missions and sandbox modes which as of time of writing I have not yet completed. I am planning on working my way through the additional DLCs that I have unlocked and whilst I have finished Secrets of Dr. Wu I am planning on starting Return to Jurassic Park next so will review each one as I complete them.

 

When you start this DLC you have to accept that the fundamentals of the game play are not going to be any different to how they were before. That is you go to an island, some have facilities and enclosures already, some don’t, and which time you start off with small enclosures and cheap dinosaurs then building up to bigger and badder animals. Even on the Research Facility, you are still relying on income from guests to pay for the animals that Wu wants you to create for him. I thought it was a shame that the DLC did not shake up the formula in anyway by changing the way you were given money (in the same way some of the levels of Two Point Hospital only awarded funding for completing objective not healing patients) and instead had you juggling between building enclosures for the animals, looking after the guests whilst also conducting secret research. It was a bizarre mix.

 

What is even more bizarre is the fact that I’m pretty sure that Henry Wu is becoming a Bond-villain as some of the things that he wants you to do are only a hair away from breeding dinosaurs to protect him in his doom fortress. In one mission you are asked by one of the Departments to breed a bunch of herbivores and put them together in an enclosure, once that is done, Dr Wu pops up and tells you to release a predator into the enclosure too so he can study the results...

 

Erm...I may not be a scientist but I am pretty sure that if you put an apex-predator in with a bunch of herbivores with the defensive capabilities of a sickly may-fly it is fairly obvious what is going to happen.

 

This isn’t the only time that something like this happens either. Admittedly one of my favourite parts of the DLC...hang on...

 

 

...is when you breed the Spinoraptor and it immediately goes mental breaking out of its enclosure to go on a rampage. Tranquiliser darts have no effect on it and you are tasked with using the other dinosaurs in the park to fight and kill it. At the time my park consisted mostly of herbivores which wouldn’t be much use. A previous mission had me breed a Stegoceratops (guess what that is a hybrid of) with high defensive abilities so I opened the gates of it and its brethren’s enclosure...only for them to not escape...the door was open and they carried on wandering around not escaping. Undeterred I tranquilised the dino that had the high defence stats (a dino that had already killed several large predators as part of its mission parameters) and flew it near to where the Spinoraptor was so the two could engage in a battle. The problem is that the control you have over the dinosaurs is somewhere in the region of bugger and all. The Stegoceratops took one look at the Spinoraptor and ran in the opposite direction and the Spinoraptor did not pursue it. I got the guests into emergency shelters then whilst my ranger teams and helicopters followed it around shooting darts at it that made it look like a pin-cushion but had no effect; I bred an Indominus Rex and set it loose (after putting the Stegoceretops back into its pen). Eventually it came face to face with the Spinoraptor and as they fought I took control of one of my jeeps continuously firing healing darts into the Indominus to prevent it being killed. The mission requirement had been to make sure the Spinoraptor had a rating of over 400 which meant its attack and defensive stats were pretty high, making it a tough little son-of-a-bitch, proving to be more than a match for the Indominus. The raptor fled as it was wounded and the Indominus went after it with my conga line of jeeps following. It took almost an hour before the Indominus was able to finally take it down, this was after they had fought, retreated and then went after one another again. The Spinoraptor kept running off to find food to eat so its health would begin to come back prolonging the fight. I’d be lying if I said that pitching one dino against another wasn’t like the end of Jurassic World that is to say bad-ass but as you can’t do much more than let the animals roam around I couldn’t force the animals to fight.

 

This also became a problem with the final mission...

 

Oh yes, on the final island you build a park to attract guests to make money and so on, but you have four missions from Dr Wu which revolve around breeding and testing his hybrids, generally by pitching them in battles with other animals. Fine in an enclosure, not so much if they have the run of the whole park. It also doesn’t matter if you have already bred the dino in question, the final mission involved breeding an Indominus Rex, and the fact that I had one already didn’t matter. I needed to make a new one. If any of the missions fail for whatever reason then you need to start all over by breeding a new animal again, as the game won’t recognise that you already have one so the mission can start where the last part failed.

 

Anyway in Mission Four, Wu wants you to breed an Indominus Rex, an Indoraptor and a Spinoraptor and get their combat rating up to over +100. This is done by having the animals win in fights with other animals. Something which proved easy when it came to the Indominus and Indoraptor as I simply released various predators into their enclosures, which they killed without hesitation, and boom job done. However, the Spinoraptor just wouldn’t attack the animals in its enclosure, and as it needed to have another one of its kind (and I stupidly didn’t change its social requirement) to keep it happy the two of them just wandered around their enclosure happy as pigs in shit. I set lose a dilophosaurs that ran away if it got into conflict with them, a velociraptor that also would just run away, and in the end the only way I found to get them to attack anything was to release a bunch of herbivores into the enclosure which they thankfully killed but only added a small amount to their combat rating. It reminded me of one of those charity events when an Ultimate Fighting Champion has to lose to a kid because they are that kid’s hero or something. Still with some perseverance I did the mission eventually and sent the dinosaurs away which Wu assured me was necessary so he could protect the Hammond Foundation from its enemies.

 

I think the reason that I held off on playing Jurassic World Evolution again despite having had the DLCs downloaded for several weeks was because I have been playing a lot of Two Point Hospital and thought playing another business management type simulator would be more of the same. The thing is that whilst the overall game play is similar: build hospitals then diagnosis rooms with treatment rooms to follow and buildings parks with new dinosaurs and new facilities to impress the guests, the mechanics are entirely different. In Two Point you have some control over the patients, you can send them for treatment or send them home, you can pick up a doctor to put them where you want them to be. In Jurassic World Evolution you are only ever tangentially in control of the park and have no means to control what the animals or guests are doing. Yes you can manually fly the helicopter or drive the jeeps but left to their own devices the jeeps have the life expectancy of a soggy biscuit being dunked in tea and the helicopters might spend several minutes circling a dinosaur firing darts into the surrounding area but not actually hitting the thing they are aiming at.

 

The problems with the game were fairly small and the retarded AI driving the jeeps was carried over from the base game although it was a shame it wasn’t improved on given the fact that the vehicles can be attacked now. Drivers that just sit there as the vehicle is ripped apart deserve everything they get in my opinion. I also find it a bit irritating that there still is no mechanic to get guests out of enclosures if they have ended up inside. There is room in the jeep so why can’t you go and recover them in the same way that a marker appears above a tranquilised dinosaur allowing it to be recovered and moved??

 

However, by far my biggest problem with the game were the crashes. The first day I played it, I didn’t have a single one, the second day I had maybe eight or nine which made the game damn near unplayable. It auto-saves quite frequently but it was so annoying to see the blue screen of death appear and have to reload the game over and over. It don’t recall it being unstable before and it reminded me of my playthrough of Subnautica which was fine before an update was installed at which time it crashed constantly forcing me to save the game every few minutes. The fact that I ploughed on regardless obviously shows that I was interested enough to keep playing and see the story through to the end despite the game breaking bugs.

 

Overall I was happy to be back playing Jurassic World Evolution again and have added to my available dinosaurs. I swear I created the Spinoraptor in Lego Jurassic World which gave you the ability to create your own hybrids so maybe an additional DLC for Evolution will let you go full Dr Frankenstein and make your own dinosaurs which would be cool to see. This additional slice of Jurassic World Evolution gets a comfortable Thumbs Up and I am looking forward to seeing what the next two have in store.

 

 

8/10 – Similar game play to before but I enjoyed the additional dinosaurs and the added mechanics that give more authenticity to running now just a dinosaur park but a theme park as well. I would wait until it is on sale before picking it up as it is well worth the sale price but probably not worth the full cost.

 

TAC Reviews...Jurassic World Evolution: Return to Jurassic Park

Date Posted: 21/06/20

 

Return to Jurassic Park was the third expansion released for Jurassic World Evolution in December 2019, however, it was the second that I decided to play after finishing Secrets of Dr. Wu a week or so ago. I have played and completed Claire’s Sanctuary so that review will be forth coming soon too.

 

 

This DLC deals with a “What if” scenario in which John Hammond, Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler and Ian Malcolm return to Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna (Site B) after the events of the first film but before The Lost World to correct the errors of the past to build a successful dinosaur park.

 

The aesthetic follows the look of the 1993 Jurassic Park film so you can build the iconic Visitor’s Centre, have your very own Jurassic Park Tour ride complete with the Ford Explorers. Additional buildings like a cafe, gift shop and toilets can also be built. Signs in the style of the first film can also be added to label enclosures advising guests on what they will find within.

 

Plot wise you basically return to the island with Hammond and Co, must secure the central area of the island and recapture three roaming raptors to return them to their pen. The rest of the dinosaurs on the island can also be contained or left to their own devices for a while. After getting Nublar safe once again, you jump to Isla Sorna that acts as the factory floor for Nublar, and once again get the facilities there working correctly whilst completing various side missions. After the missions on Sorna are done, you jump back to Nublar and are free to build the park as you see fit whilst completing missions and objectives for Hammond and co as well as Cabot Finch. However, Biosyn (the company that Nedry was working for in Jurassic Park) are still in the background and are determined to make sure that Hammond’s park will fail...

 

One of the main draws to fans of the series with this additional DLC is the cast. With the acceptation of Richard Attenborough who passed away in 2014, Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum return to reprise their roles as Grant, Sattler, and Malcolm respectively from the film series. In addition the voice actor hired to replace Attenborough is making a very valiant attempt to sound as much like him as possible. The way the characters interact with one another is also lifted from their relationships within the film series which helps to make this feel like this could have been a direction the film series could have taken. Plus you can have your tour going through the huge and iconic gates as they travel into the park to view your dinosaurs.

 

You can be given missions from 5 different sources Hammond, Grant, Sattler, Malcolm and Cabot with Grant’s revolving around digging up fossils and making genomes, Sattler with animal welfare, Malcolm with keeping things running smoothly, and Hammond plus Cabot making money and improving guest counts. What was nice in this DLC compared to the main game was the fact that the 5 aren’t competing with one another so you don’t need to worry about doing missions for one and pissing off the others. I found Malcolm’s missions to be the easiest because he generally asks you to maintain power for a certain amount of time or make sure no guest facilities, both of which are pretty straightforward as long as your dinos are happy in their pens. His missions also help to boost Grant and Sattler’s objectives.

 

This version of the game was also very stable and I only had a single crash, which was a massive improvement on the very iffy Secrets of Dr Wu that was crashing constantly. Since playing the Dr Wu missions the main game has also become very unstable, and jumping between islands to complete Research tasks kept resulting in crashes, which was beyond irritating.

 

The acts of sabotage committed by Biosyn give the missions some tension, however, in a move that may or may not hearken back to the original Jurassic Park novel, just because the power goes out, it doesn’t mean the dinos can escape. If you haven’t read the book then let me explain. You see by the time that Grant and the others come to visit the park, most of the dinos have been in their paddocks for at least eighteen months or so, and have brushed up against the fences more than once so received a shock. Therefore just because the power is out, it doesn’t mean that everything is going to start breaking out, and that is what happened during power outages in this game. You have access to the electrified fences (which are not identical to the ones from the film, but close) and even though I later unlocked stronger fences I never bothered to use them because if my dinos were happy then they would stay in their enclosures.

 

On Isla Nublar you haven’t got access to hatcheries and must ship everything over from the hatcheries you built on Isla Sorna. Plus the game gives you access to Pteranodons in a massive aviary, as well as Compsognathus (or compys), which need to be transported by massive cargo helicopters. Compys are the size of chickens so it was hilarious to watch them being transported by helicopters capable of carrying a T-Rex or Brachiosaurus. Gathering fossils to create new dinosaurs is the draw of the majority of these DLCs and once the missions are completed you can access those dinos in the main game campaign. In addition to the types of dinos you can also give them the skins from Jurassic Park and its sequels which in the case of the raptors is very cool.

 

I really enjoyed the aesthetic and the Visitor’s Centre can have research, expedition, and fossil attachments added to it allowing you to complete those missions. It was both nice but a little bit of a shame that you only have one cafe and one shop, which have the aesthetic of the rest of the structures which is good, but lack creativity.

 

This lack of creativity is not just limited to the buildings, I didn’t notice it in the main campaign because it was just a skin, but the Jeep Wranglers that are used in the game are all the number 29. The Ford Explorer Tour vehicles are also all labelled 005. It was a pity that they weren’t individually numbered and did serve to remind me that this pack is basically just a re-skin of assets that are already in the game. You might have a dozen or more vehicles in the park and they are ultimately all the same which just shows a lack of effort and attention to detail.

 

The tour ride was really cool and fun to create a tour route around the park, the problem is that the tour route effectively strangles everything within it. Paths cannot cross the route so if you lay down the track and then want to build something on the other side, you can’t because you can’t connect a path. It was something I noticed when playing Secrets of Dr. Wu that the game is crying out for paths that can be made into bridges, it would be nice if those could go over enclosures, but if nothing else, having them going over tour routes would have made the rest of the island accessible. As it was I had to loop the tour route as far around the outside edges of the building area as possible so I had enough room to build other enclosures or more buildings.

 

I also discovered that enclosures could actually be too big and dinosaurs could wander from their own kind, get lonely and break out. It was bizarre that animals can have too much space to roam but it meant that I could build more enclosures to have more species. The tour only has one start and end point so it cannot be used as a means of transportation to get your guests around the island. You can drive the tour vehicles manually but can’t really do anything with them so there is really not much point in doing so.

 

As you are returning to Isla Nublar after the events of Jurassic Park it is surprising that there are only a handful of dinosaurs roaming around. The T-Rex is nowhere to be seen despite the one from Jurassic Park is the same one that later appeared in Jurassic World having been recaptured when Jurassic World was being built. Strangely though even though we know that two of the raptors definitely died in the film (both being killed by the T-Rex) and the final one was locked in a freezer so it probably died, there are three raptors running around that you need to recapture. Once this is done they are put into their pen which is criminally small and it is not surprising that the animals were so aggressive after they broke out having basically been abused since they were bred. Later in the game though you are able to make more raptors but you can simply put them in the enclosure surrounding their pen and they are quite happy to roam around without trying to escape.

 

The only other thing to really mention is that when you ask for new contracts you might be given a mission that you cannot do just yet. In one Grant wants you to collect the genome of a certain dinosaur but you can’t access that genome until you have got his rating up quite high. Do you see the dilemma there? He wants you to unlock a genome to increase your reputation with him but in order to unlock that genome you have to have a good reputation with him first. The contracts can be cancelled but again it strikes me as a bit lazy that a contract can be given before you are in a position to actually complete it.

 

Ultimately I think this one is worth playing if you really like the skins of the original animals and wanted to be able to have access to more dinosaurs in the main campaign as well as a few new buildings. For me, this was worth the price of the DLC but bear in mind I did get the game when it was on sale. I am giving this second (technically third but second I played) DLC a Thumbs up because the T-Rex, raptor and other animal skins are really cool and ones that I immediately used when I jumped back into the main game.

 

 

7/10 – There is enough content here to make this DLC worth playing for fans of the first trilogy of films, however, the missions are relatively short so you are not going to get hours out of this one. The lack of paths that can go over the tour routes was also irritating but on the whole this DLC was a decent addition to Jurassic World Evolution

 

TAC Reviews...Jurassic World Evolution: Claire's Sanctuary

Date Posted: 28/06/20

 

The second piece of DLC (but the third I played) was originally released in June 2019, and similarly to Return to Jurassic Park features a “what if” scenario in which the evacuation of Isla Nublar was not hijacked by people who wanted to weaponise the dinosaurs and instead followed the original plan of moving them to a new island. Bryce Dallas Howard reprises the role of Claire Dearing from the Jurassic World films as well as the main campaign of Jurassic World Evolution.

 

 

Since beginning Secrets of Dr Wu a few weeks back I have gotten back into playing the game of Jurassic World Evolution with unlocking new dinosaurs and releasing them into new parks still being the highlight of the game. This time around the plot begins a little differently to the other DLCs...

 

You return to Isla Nublar with Mt. Sibo poised to erupt and wipe out all the dinosaurs on the island, and your task is to rescue as many as you can. Your budget is limited and you have no way of earning more money. Things are not as simple as they first seem because the dinosaurs are suffering from an unknown disease which must be cured before they can be safely moved. You can build some new structures but are generally reliant on what structures remain on the island. The dinosaurs are running wild and you are the one better off behind fences to keep them out rather than you in.

 

Once the dinosaurs are cured you move them from Isla Nublar to the Sanctuary Island (described in Fallen Kingdom) where things take a more tradition turn with Claire tasking you with building a happy safe environment for the dinosaurs to live in....

 

One of the things that I immediately liked about the first part of the DLC which takes place on Isla Nublar is the fact that you have a limited budget. You have a set amount of money so need to be careful about spending your finite funds flippantly as once you spend it, it is gone. The resources at your disposal are also limited and you need to take control of your jeeps because if the ranger station is without power, your drivers cannot be given tasks to do, so you need to hightail it to the power station to bring it back online. This is what Secrets of Dr Wu should have been, a limited budget, operating in secret, not having another park that attracts guests on one side but conducts hush-hush research on the other.

 

After the departure from Isla Nublar things turn more traditional Jurassic World Evolution with you needing to build a park that attracts guests so you can pay off the Hammond Foundation (no idea why they take a cut of your profits) and make new dinos.

 

In a move that was followed in Return to Jurassic Park once again there are no predators lose on Isla Nublar so despite the T-Rex and at least one Velociraptor being on the island at the time of the eruption in the film, neither of them are there here. There are a bunch of herbivores which can be dangerous now that animals can attack vehicles but no predators that would like nothing more than to eat your hard working employees.

 

The mission to rescue all the dinosaurs goes belly up and you can only are only able to rescue one member of eight species from the island. Now I grabbed the three predators that were airlifted in from elsewhere and picked some herbivores from the ones remaining. I ran into problems on the island called Sanctuary when those dinos I had rescued were brought over because they all needed other members of their species or they would break out of their enclosures. I had rescued some of the most expensive dinosaurs in the game so was constantly tranquilising my rescued dinos whilst I struggled to earn enough money to incubate more. Now whilst there are three additional dinosaurs that you can incubate, the ones from Isla Nublar are limited to the ones you chose to save. Therefore you can’t have a T-Rex on Sanctuary because there was not one to rescue from the volcano.

 

Once on Sanctuary Claire is your only boss so no additional departments vying for your attention. There is the addition of Palaeobotany which I thought would be an interesting and fun addition to the game. Basically this feature means that certain herbivores will live longer if you feed them certain plants which must be grown in a new Greenhouse building. The problem is that in Claire’s Sanctuary you can only construct a single greenhouse which can grow five of ten possible plants. One of the missions involve getting all of your herbivores to be happy with their new diets, something that is tricky to do when your animals like a variety of plants and you can only grow half of the ones available. As a result at this point my progress through the story basically slowed to a crawl as I was reliant on my dinosaurs eating the new plants I had grown when they were hungry. So I sat and just stared at the progress bar waiting for it to creep its way up as my dinos ate the new plants. This mechanic was complicated by the fact that certain plants could do certain herbivores harm if they ate them so you can’t just bung anything into the feeders. Admittedly in the sandbox mode in which I built my perfect dinosaur park on Isla Nublar you could construct two greenhouses which immediately removed this problem because the animals that liked different plants were separated and everything could be grown to keep them happy. It worked in the sandbox mode but was generally just annoying when part of Claire’s missions which was a pity.

 

That is really all there is to say about Claire’s Sanctuary so I’m going to finish off with a few general points about the game that I discovered when I decided to take advantage of the sandbox mode and build my perfect dinosaur park.

 

Now I am going to hold my hands and various tentacles up here and ask you to imagine an idiot, now imagine that idiot is me...why did I ask you to imagine me as an idiot, you ask, well I spotted an eye icon on the game’s main screen when playing through these new DLCs. This eye was a management menu that shows areas in your park where facilities are lacking. So remember in my first review when I said I have no idea how to improve the guest facilities to 5-Stars because I keep putting down restaurants or bars or whatever and they make no difference?? It turns out if you access this menu you can flick through the various facilities and any structure in blue means that amenity (like toilets) are not required in that area. If buildings or yellow or red then they need to have additional buildings constructed. After learning this I was able to go back to each island and five star them without any real difficulty. In fact the only difficulty came from finding the space to building new restaurants or clothes shops or whatever because pretty much every square inch of land was taken up with a dinosaur enclosure.

 

I also discovered that if you open the gates of enclosures if people have become trapped inside them, then they will run out. Naturally your dinos will try to escape too if you do that so you need to weigh up whether to tranquilise all the animals in the enclosure in order to get the people out or just leave them to get munched by your dinos as punishment for running into their enclosure in the first place.

 

The main game also only seemed to crash when I jumped back to Isla Sorna and not generally any other island with the DLC only crashing on me once during my playthrough. I don’t know if maybe the size of Isla Sorna makes it more likely to crash but I found if I stayed away from that island then the game didn’t tend to crash.

 

I have a few minor points which relate back to the Ranger vehicles. Now that they can be damaged it would be nice if there were upgrades which improve their armour or something because they have the durability of tissue paper. A goat can run into one of them and do some damage, yes a goat, can harm a jeep. It would also be nice if you could give you Rangers group commands such as the mission on Isla Nublar when you need to medicate forty odd dinosaurs from a disease but can only select five at a time, so it is faster easier to just drive the vehicles yourself. I wondered if perhaps the reason that you can’t just set them to automatically refill feeders is because its costs money to do that so maybe the game doesn’t want to spend your money without your approval. That or programming decent AI is difficult and as the developers did it with the dinosaurs they could not be bothered to do it for the human employees too. I also did wonder if maybe the dinosaurs attack them so often is because they refuse to turn down the music playing in their cars, perhaps they wouldn’t get trampled underfoot so often if they were a bit more subtle about driving around a formerly extinct animal’s enclosure with music blaring from their speakers.

 

So there you have it, all the Jurassic World Evolution DLCs, and as far as Claire’s Sanctuary is concerned I am giving it another Thumbs Up. I wouldn’t say it is as good as Secrets of Dr Wu which did further some of the story of Evolution and may have an impact in the upcoming Jurassic World Dominion. Nor did I like it as much as Return to Jurassic World because it naturally lacked the aesthetic of the original film or the skins of the original dinosaurs seen in 1993. My advice with this DLC is honestly the same as the others buy it when it is on sale if you intend to build your perfect dino park and want to have as many different dinosaurs in it as you possibly can.

 

 

6/10 – The most interesting things about this DLC was the Palaeobotany which turned out to be the most tedious. There are more dinosaurs to breed which is cool, and it was nice to play the “What if” scenario started in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. However, whilst it started off quite strong it lost steam as we moved to Sanctuary to build yet another dinosaur theme park based on someone else’s criteria

 

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