Reviews: Jurassic Park The Game
Here Be Spoilers
Jurassic Park: The Game was extremely well-crafted, but it had its fair share of flaws. I appreciate the ability to jump back into the action quickly after failing, but I dislike the Quick Time Events because you can't and don't really build up any skill in doing them. There was little appreciable difference in difficulty from the first to the last episode, and there was no sense of cumulative progression that makes other games satisfying to complete. You also don't explore anything yourself, which kind of takes away from the horror. However, the overall atmosphere of this game is great. The fate of poor D-Caf was especially haunting, while the hellish and claustrophobic feeling of the geothermal power plant was extremely well played. I was also pleased with how all of the setting details and plot elements sensibly tied into the first movie. But then there was some problems. First and foremost, the ludicrously contrived way they kept the story from ending in Episode 2. It became an Idiot Plot when Dr. Sorkin refused to leave the island and the group insisted on trying to take her but didn't actually force her to despite being well-armed mercenaries shown to be already capable of that, as paperwork is somehow scarier than dinosaurs that already killed off half of their team, and they just kind of left Nima in the helicopter for an extended period time instead of taking her with them even though she's already proven herself incredibly dangerous and capable. This is not to mention how a knife somehow hit the controls in just the right way to make the helicopter entirely fail, instead of say, bouncing off of it. Unfortunately, this undermines the drama of Oscar's Heroic Sacrifice because you can't help but think that it was entirely, stupidly avoidable. And when the main characters don't have a vice grip on the Idiot Ball, they pick up the Conflict Ball. There are no less than four hostage holding situations, instigated by three different characters that had not been depicted as villainous before that point. Finally, there all sorts of plot holes and inconsistencies that one can pick at such as "How did they get the DNA of a marine dinosaur?" and "Where is Gerry's mustache?" Overall, this game is worth playing but it falls short of greatness.
Jurassic Park: The Game should have been a movie
The game works better as a CGI film. Controls are unresponsive at times, and while it is amusing to watch some of the more outlandish or absurd death scenes, it can get grating after a while, akin to watching multiple takes of a movie that weren't edited out. Unless you enjoy quick-time events, I recommend giving it a pass, especially if, like me, you find the movie-like aspects of the game more compelling than the game-like aspects. The story is great; a survival horror action drama with plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested. However, it's not for those who have to dissect most of the scenes for inaccuracies and plot holes, as there are plenty if you scratch beneath the surface. It's very much about entertainment, with scares, thrills, and occasional comedic and tragic moments to boot. Characters vary from likeable to badass to annoying, depending on taste, but there are plenty to keep track of, and they're mostly well fleshed-out, showing different sides and causing more conflicts as the game progresses. Voice acting is top notch, and dialogue helps in many scenes to add depth by hinting at the histories and secret motives behind some characters, but occasionally the script gives them awkward lines. Graphics are serviceable, but not stellar. The obvious stars of the show get detailed and lovingly designed models, but while the humans look passably fine, they don't seem to be textured properly. Lighting can be effective in some scenes for ambience, but otherwise, it's all over the place in terms of quality. Less impressive is the animation, which can look downright clunky, though the dinosaurs move believably like real animals. The overall impression is that the dinosaurs got preferential treatment. Sound is higgledy-piggledy. Fans of the films will like the soundtrack, and will be pleased to hear that the dinosaur roars and hisses are faithfully preserved (with some new ones added to the roster). Sound editing, on the other hand, shows signs of choppiness, as when the volume suddenly goes up or a soundtrack suddenly switches mid-scene. Overall, the game gives the impression of an engrossing if semi-mindless adventure-cum-thriller, which was shoehorned into game format and unevenly edited. There are genius bonuses scattered about for dino fans, and the game is wonderfully faithful to the films, but it's not for everyone.
A Game For Fans
As the title says, Jurassic Park: The Game is designed primarily for fans of the series. With that said, as a fan of the Jurassic Park series I would say that this game is a good game, though not for everyone. The game takes place right after the events of the first movie, with the very beginning occurring halfway through the movie. From there it follows mostly new characters with the exception being Dr. Harding, who had a bit role in the movie and looks nothing like the actor from the movie, trying to escape off the island in one piece. Most of the characters were likable enough, though at some points, especially around the last half of the third episode, there were some that kind of got annoying, mostly for what they were bringing up at that point in the game. The actual gameplay is what really dictates whether this game is meant for you, reader. Half of the gameplay is a rather simple point and click adventure game, where the clickable objects are highlighted by a hard to ignore hand symbol or magnifying glass. As with most point and click games, there are a few puzzles, but they are relatively tame logic puzzles that do not require using items you obtained throughout the game for this one puzzle. Unlike most point and click adventure games, there is no inventory to manage, so you do not need to worry about that aspect of point and click games appearing. The other half of this game is quicktime events, which may sound a bit daunting to some readers; let me reassure you that these events are somewhat different from most action games. Unlike most games where if you miss an event you die and go back to the beginning of the whole sequence, if you fail and die in an event, the most you are sent back is about two events from the event you died at. An interesting feature about these events is that some of them if you fail, you do not die, just stumble and get another chance at the event; the only downside is your medal score goes down a bit. Otherwise, I found the events to be rather enjoyable, as crazy as that may sound; perhaps because the events were exciting and I knew that I wouldn’t go back to the start of the sequence if I failed one. To wrap up, this is truly a game for fans, with achievements, puzzles, and dialogue referencing the original movie. So if you are not discouraged by the gameplay, I would definitely recommend it.