Published on December 5th, 2011 | by Chris Ramirez, Editor
Jurassic Park: The Game Review
Platform: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [Reviewed]
MSRP: PC and PlayStation 3 $29.99, Xbox 360 $39.99
Release Date: Nov. 15, 2011
Back in 1993 the world was introduced to the idea of what would happen if men and dinosaurs shared the earth with the release of Jurassic Park. Jurassic Park is a movie that continues to stand the test of time. However, the movie, and its sequels, never addressed the lost shaving cream can Dennis Nedry lost.
Almost 20 years later Telltale is answering what happened to the shaving cream can and filling in the story about the other people on Isla Nublar. This is the story of survival. This is Jurassic Park: The Game.
Telltale made an interesting choice in making Jurassic Park: The Game under the point-and-click formula. With successful hits such as the Sam & Max series, Wallace and Gromit series, and Back to the Future: The Game Telltale’s writing, humor, and storytelling makes the studio a perfect match for developing a Jurassic Park game. However, the game falls short in completing that formula.
Graphically, Jurassic Park: The Game played it safe. Telltale wanted to make sure the dinosaurs looked and felt like the “Jurassic Park” dinosaurs. The Tyrannosaurs Rex, Velociraptors, Triceratops and Dilophosaurus look and act like their movie counterparts. However, the human characters suffer because of this. The humans are a mix of cartoonish and realistic styles in order to match up with the dinosaurs, but this leaves the human characters looking more like Jurassic Park action figures. With majority of gameplay involving human characters, the action-figure-look dates the game. The graphics, although a huge part, is not the only downfall of the game.
In order to keep the action of Jurassic Park: The Game, Telltale had to change the control scheme of the game from their previous point-and-click style. Gone is controlling a character. Players explore the environment through a new “picture-in-picture scene navigation.” An environment can be split up to four different “scenes” in which the player can switch between freely. In a particular scene, the camera is placed over the character’s shoulder and the player can only move the camera left, right, up, and down as if the characters is looking around. Interactive points are simply highlighted.
During action sequences, Telltale deviated from the slow paced point-and-click controls and adopted a button mash/reflex tactic. On the PC, these action sequences are simple and get repetitive extremely quick. However, on the console version or utilizing a controller on the PC, these sequences become much more fun and engaging. The button mash/reflex control scheme gets a lot more complicated by mixing in multiple buttons and using the right stick to swipe and/or rotate in different directions. Despite the better controls, the scheme still does not live up to the action. The games badass moment (killing a Velociraptor by hand) does not seem as grand because of the controls.
It is no surprise that the story is where Jurassic Park: The Game shines. The story takes place during, and right after the first Jurassic Park movie. Without exposing any spoilers, the story revolves around a Jurassic Park veterinarian. Plan-B mercenaries are in charge of getting the embryos off the island, and InGenis there as a rescue team to get Jurassic Park employees off the island and to safety. I story provides greater detail of the Jurassic Park mythology.
With a great story, Telltale also implemented great character development. The first three chapters of the game introduce all of the characters and their purpose on the island. The first chapter, The Intruder, introduces Gerry Harding and his daughter Jessica Harding. The first chapter also introduces Nima Cruz, a native to Isla Nublar, mercenary and “plan B” if Dennis Nedry failed to deliver the shaving cream can. In the beginning, the characters lack heart and emotion, due to their action figure like appearance. The story revolves around these three characters. However, as you continue to play the other chapters and more characters are added you begin to care about this core group. Telltale adapted a speech engine similar to that seen on the Mass Effect games. The player can interact with all the characters on the screen.
Instead of picking dialogue the player picks emotions, small phrases, and or subjects they are interested to explore. These dialogues explain the characters motives, backgrounds, past and hopes which fill out the story and make the events in the game have more of a purpose. The second chapter, The Cavalry, introduces Billy Yoder and Oscar Morales, two InGen mercenaries sent to rescue the remaining people on the park. Chapter three, The Depths, introduces Dr. Laura Sorkin, a genetics engineer who believe that the dinosaurs should be able to live freely on the island. The story is a true survival story mixed with ethical and moral implications. You will find yourself sucked into the story so much that you will often miss button mash/reflex prompts causing you to die. Surprisingly, your deaths are part of the best parts of the game.
Deaths are often frustrating and could lead to controller throwing behavior in games, but Jurassic Park: The Game deaths will leave you wanting more. While playing the game, I often died on purpose just to see how the dinosaur will kill me. You will be stepped on, crushed by a car, trampled and then eaten, head bitten off, and spit on. Being eaten is a given but it comes in all different flavors. You can be eaten whole feet first, head first, butt first, jumped and torn apart just to name a few. Telltale made sure no characters were safe. I experienced a death from every character. This can be uncomfortable for some to see the death of Jessica Harding, the little girl, and Telltale does not offer a filter to take out these scenes.
The best part of Jurassic Park: The Game are the storyline and deaths scenes. Almost every aspect of the game falls short. The controls get repetitive, each episode is about a hour long making the game about four hours, the game offers no reply value, and graphics date the game. The return to Isla Nublar island is just how you remember it, but with a $29.99 price for the PC and PlayStation 3 and $39.99 price for the Xbox 360 you are better off returning to the island by watching the original film on blu ray/DVD.
[xrr label=”Rating: 7.5/10″ rating=7.5/10]
– No replay