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TAC Reviews...Jurassic World Evolution 2 

Dated Posted: 20/6/2022

 

It has been a while since I have done a review, and that is because there has been a lot of other things happening recently. Things which I have not the inclination to go into now. However, I am going to be trying to post regularly once again.

 

So without further ado, let’s get on with things. Jurassic World Evolution 2 is a sequel to 2018 Jurassic World Evolution. Like that game it is a construction and business management game set after the events of Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom. Some members of the various films’ cast do appear in this game including Jeff Goldblum and Bryce Dallas Howard.

 

Jurassic World Evolution 2 Boxart

 

With construction and business management games there is not really much of a plot. Essentially all you need to is move to various locations set in the Jurassic Park/World universe and construct different parks. As time goes on you have access to different locations to dig up more fossils and create more animals. The dinosaurs require different enclosures and have different requirements. In all instances they have certain tolerances for different species, and if they have a conflict then there will be trouble.

 

The game is structured into different parts and the Campaign mode involves travelling to different locations around the continental United States to capture different escaped dinosaurs. This mode is incredibly short and serves to teach you how to complete the various components of the other sections. Once it is over then the story is Jurassic World Evolution 2 is basically done and the only reason to continue playing is to work through the other three modes. These are Campaign, Challenges, Sandbox and Chaos Theory

 

The Chaos Theory is a What if scenario takes you back to the different film locations and asks you to play things out differently to the way they happened in the films. You have access to cosmetics from the films so can build a Visitor Centre from Jurassic Park before moving on to more modern architecture seen in Jurassic World.

 

There is not much else that can be said because at the moment I have only played the Campaign and Chaos Theory modes, the reasons why I have only played those will become evident as you read on.

 

If you have played a management game of any type (especially the predecessor to this one) then you already know what this game will involve. The only thing that I can really do is highlight the differences between this game and the last so let you know which, in my opinion is the better game.

 

It has to be said that first and foremost, this game is very buggy, it crashed frequently. The autosaves happen equally as often so it is unlikely that more than a few minutes of progress will be lost but it was incredibly aggravating to see the blue crash screen dropping in front of you yet again. There did not seem to be any pattern to it either, you could click on a dino and it would crash, you could scroll across a building at it would crash, you could speed time up and it would crash. On and on, it would be constant, and it was unlikely that I could play for a few hours without suffering at least half a dozen crashes

 

The AI of the dinosaurs was also very questionable. I had numerous animals starve to death despite having ample prey or feeders in their enclosures. They would have water and die of dehydration. There were instances when I would watch an animal simply standing still until they eventually either starved to death or died of dehydration. It happened a lot in the lagoon when dinosaurs would be swimming into the walls and again starving. The vets would be constantly trying to keep the animals alive by giving them healing injections which did not solve the problem. I could tranquilize animals and move them which seemed to walk them up for a bit, but before long they would be standing still waiting to die again. It was so annoying to get constant alerts that I had dinos with low health when they would not keep themselves alive.

 

One of the reasons for the AI issues could have been down to the new time speeding up and slowing down mechanic. Admittedly I did initially like this because it meant you were able to speed up or slow down time. I generally liked to keep it on the speeded up mode most of the time but I think that this may have caused a lot of the AI issues that I mentioned above. When I kept the time on the normal mode the animals seemed to function far better than when time was sped up. The problem was is that doing things slowly took so much time and unlike Jurassic World Evolution your money could vanish very quickly.

 

Before I talk about the money mechanics, the AI of the vehicles and staff has been improved in some ways because you can assign different rangers to different monitoring stations. They will then monitor the animals in that area which meant that you didn’t have to do as much micromanagement as you did before. The problem is that there is still no option to set your teams on a patrol route, or just drive around looking for things that need to be done. Therefore as before a ranger team will drive past a broken fence or a feeding station that needs to be refilled without doing anything about it until you specifically tell them to. They also will not try and flee from aggressive animals, so as before ranger teams will get destroyed, and the only way to try to save them is to take control of the vehicles yourself. The driving controls have been imported directly from the last game, and yet again the vehicles have no weight to them so will crash into things and end up spinning on their bonnets with you powerless to do anything about it.

 

The exhibition map has been changed so only one could be sent at one time, unlike the multiple teams that could be sent out before.

 

Research also needs to be carried out on every different location so you could not unlock research jump back to a previous island which had money, then return to the previous one to carry on. I was a bit miffed that money could not be transferred from island to island in the last game but at least research would move. Now it doesn’t. Honestly I have no idea why and serves to make the game feel as though each island or location is a separate entity that does not relate to one another.

 

A lot of the new problems with this game came from the inclusion of the scientist mechanic. In the previous game you could just pay to research something, it would take some time but then it was unlocked. The method through which everything is done in this game is through scientists. They have logistical, welfare and genetic skills. Different tasks require different attributes so if you have to spend considerable time and money giving your scientists the best qualifications you can so they can do more. Thing is that you can’t just work them indefinitely so they need to be rested after every fifth task you give them. Resting a scientist costs $75,000 and as you train them then their salaries will increase. If you have a lot of scientists on your payroll which you really need if you want to unlock the more complex dinosaur species then you are going to be always teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

 

No we come to it, the way you have and handle money. The biggest problem with this game is that everything, everything, is just so, so, so, so expensive. It doesn’t matter if it is paying your scientists, or building new enclosures, or making new dinosaurs because everything costs millions and millions of dollars to do. I had scenarios in which I was making hundreds of thousands of dollars per day but my overheads were just as expensive so in fact my money was increasing by only a small amount. This is why I tended to keep the timer running on its faster setting otherwise it just took forever to accumulate enough funds to do anything. A batch of new dinosaurs might cost upwards of a couple of million dollars so you can imagine how long it takes to save up a million if you are only making $50,000 or less every few minutes.

 

The cost of everything is so high that you run into problems when a dinosaur dies and you simply cannot afford to incubate another. The appeal of the park drops because you have no star attraction which means less guest which means less money, but of course your overheads do not decline. So do you sack all of your scientists to reduce the overheads? Yes, because no scientists means far less overhead costs which means more money but then you cannot make any more dinos or go on expeditions, or research anything. Hiring staff was an expensive thing to do so you could save $10 million dollars and all of that would disappear if you rehired scientists or incubate more dinosaurs.

 

Your money is basically a timer because you might be sitting on several million dollars but all it takes is for one storm to roll through, break your fences, causes your dinosaurs to escape and the rating plummets. With it goes your profits and within minutes you go bankrupt. Hours of painstaking work could be lost and honestly I sought online tips on how to beat the game because everything seemed to happen at once. A storm rolls through, a star attraction dies, a fence breaks, and you are bankrupt in a very short space of time. The online advice was to actually save the game if you got a storm warning, and if it was not that bad carry on, if it was bad, then reload your save game and hope it wouldn’t be as bad again. When you have to take to save tricks as a means of just getting through the game then that game has failed. I have no problem with a challenge but it is a question of being fair. Game mechanics which mean you cannot make any money and a random storm destroys everything you are trying to build, and then you have no money to repair the damage. Your park is sitting on a house of cards and it really doesn’t take much to blow that house down and see your efforts go to waste.

 

There have been some improvements and one of my favourites was that tour routes can now cross paths. So unlike the last game in which tour routes could only go inside the path network now you can have routes that can go anywhere. It does make you feel like you are creating a proper Jurassic Tour in a similar way to the tour from the original film. 

 

Unfortunately the game seems to be fighting with you with the bugs, glitches and poor ranger as well as dinosaur AI. Plus sadly the game has fallen into the trap of making itself more complicated and not in a good way. Yes it might be more realistic but we are playing a game about making a dinosaur theme park so we are not exactly interested in realism. Personally an updated version of Jurassic World Evolution would have suited me fine, more dinos, more tech, and a greater range of places to go to build parks rather than poky little islands.

 

I did like the game and played through Campaign and Chaos Theory modes but I was not interested in playing the challenges options. Each level was the same. Go to a new location recruit scientists, make low level buildings, and basic dinosaurs then build up to bigger and better. The problem is just that you have the risk of something going catastrophically wrong and all of your work disappearing before you can do anything about it.

 

The truth is that I had originally intended to give Jurassic World Evolution 2 a Thumbs Up but now that I have come to write it all down I wonder exactly why I liked the game. I created a sandbox park and was able to partially enjoy things because I turned off scientist rest times, storms and basically anything that could wreck my park. Sadly the dinosaurs would simply stand around and either die, or I turned off their lifespan option, and they just stood still not doing anything due to their AI issues. I can’t say the game is bad but in all honesty I liked the original one better. It had a more basic set-up and whilst there have been some improvements to JW Evolution 2 to make it more realistic I don’t think I would have played it if I had known exactly what it would be like. I won’t give it a Thumbs Down so will just leave my Thumb Horizontal.

 

 

6/10 – I liked the original game better, more complicated and more realistic does not equal more fun which is the trap games like Star Trek Armada II fell into. If the first game’s ranger AI had been improved, if we had been given bigger and better maps to play in, and more species to create then this game could have been great. Sadly in the end it was only okay, and left me disappointed with what it could have been. 

 

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© Chris Sharman