LEGO Jurassic World
Jurassic World is currently tearing up the box office, but to go along with it, Tt Games has released an all new LEGO adventure featuring all four films done in their, now familiar, LEGO style of gameplay. Is this new title worth picking up, or should you just stick with the movies? Check out my full review of the game to see for yourself!
I’ve always had a soft spot for the LEGO game franchise, and their unique approach to various licenses. They’re not afraid to be irreverent and put their own spin on iconic characters and moments in films. The Star Wars games remain a pinnacle moment in the LEGO games, and they’ve moved on to Batman,Harry Potter, and even Pirates of the Caribbean.
Frankly speaking, I’ve been looking to see a LEGO Jurassic Park game long before now. It’s the type of franchise filled with action and adventure that perfectly appeals to the LEGO gameplay formula. So it’s a little surprising it took this long, but with the new film, Jurassic World out there, I guess the timing works out. I, along with many other fans, have finally got our wish...but it’s not all roses.
The Fun and Adventure
That sounds kind of ominous, but it’s not really all bad. Jurassic World features some awesome things within the LEGO game franchise, that I had a blast with. The thing that struck me first, and continues to be enjoyable for me, is how you traverse from level to level. There’s only 20 of them (5 for each movie), but the transitions between them are very smooth and free-flowing.
This game takes part of the open-world concept many of the other LEGO titles have been doing lately, letting you roam around parts of the island and find hidden goodies, but it also smoothly guides you to the next level, without you even realizing it’s happening. Truly, there were times I started a level and thought it was still part of the open world map, until I saw the “stud counter” at the top. It was seamless and something I really enjoyed. The other open-world LEGO titles felt kind of odd to me, in that I felt there was a big disconnect between that and the regular levels. In Jurassic World, it felt more refined and easier to manage.
One of the things the LEGO games are best known for, are the amount of characters they stuff into a game. Each one has their own role to play, and special abilities. These abilities are what you need in order to find the multitude of hidden items within the game (and there are tons). An initial playthrough of a level won’t nab you all the goodies, and you’ll have to go back on the freeplay mode with the right characters in tow, in order to get everything. It’s a mechanic that has served LEGO well over the years, and it’s still a solid system in this game.
Jurassic Park, however, doesn’t necessarily have a bunch of wacky and out there characters. It’s not like Batman where you have various costumes and villains you can cycle through. Instead, you have a bunch of normal(ish) people. So yeah, there are some times where unlocking new characters feels kind of pointless, and it’s harder to determine which one does what for a special ability. They’re still pretty fun, and learning about their skills was fun in and of itself.
Take Ellie Sattler (from the first movie). Her special skill is the ability to search through dinosaur poop in order to find hidden tools. It’s hilarious as her LEGO character simply dives into this massive pile of crap and starts digging around; a clever and quirky take on her iconic “big pile of shit” scene from the original movie. All of the characters have fun with things like that, but again, because they’re all pretty normal looking characters, it’s difficult to remember who does what.
One of the big new things in this game, is the inclusion of the dinosaurs and the ability to use them as characters in the game. This makes for some of the more interesting moments in the game, but sadly, they’re saved for the backend content of the game (but I’ll come back to that in a bit). You can stomp around, break through barriers, eat things, etc. It’s surprising how much fun it is to go on a dino style rampage in this game. Add in the genetic splicing feature, where you can create your own monstrosity, and you have an addicting new feature. Something that genuinely makes you want to hunt down the secrets in the game to keep using.
For all the good things Jurassic World brings to the LEGO games, it also feels like it didn’t do quite enough. The combat in the game is exactly what you’ve come to expect from the game. It’s simple and easy to pick up, making it appealing to all ages. The problem, however, is there’s not a lot of combat to be had. The bulk of the story for these films are based on the idea of people ESCAPING from the dinosaurs, not sitting there punching them or shooting them.
So there’s not much use for the combat in the game, but when it does show up, it feels more annoying than anything else. You’ll have to fight off swarms of Compy’s every now and then, but they’re so small, it’s hard to get a bead on them. Every now and then there are some inGen guards to knock around, but on the whole, there’s not much to fight in this game, and it feels sort of light because of it. The boss “battles” essentially boil down to the same thing time and time again, making each one feel like a chore rather than an interesting encounter.
The bulk of the game, then, relies on the puzzles. That’s another problem, as the puzzles aren’t all that unique and are relatively easy to get through. There’s no trade off here. They didn’t increase the puzzles, or change up that aspect to go along with the reduced combat. The result is that it feels easier than it should be, even for a LEGO game. While going back and re-playing levels for secrets is a core factor in these titles, it felt more like a chore than ever before, simply because it was so easy the first time around.
As I said, using the dinosaurs in the game is ridiculously cool, but for the most part, they’re relegated to being there for knocking down objects and making clear paths for you to follow. It’s not till closer to the end of the game where you can unlock more of them that you can have more fun. By then, however, you’re close to the end of the game, not just in story, but also in collectibles. It’s frustrating that one of the coolest parts of the game is so loaded on the back end of the game. I shouldn’t be nearly done with a title BEFORE it comes really fun to play.
Lastly, the game feels rushed in it’s take on the story. With only 5 levels per movie, the game only highlights a couple of scenes from the films, and does little to fill the gaps in between. Rather than getting a fun retelling of the story, as many of the other LEGO movies were good about, it’s more like watching a greatest hits video of the films, but they aren’t always the most interesting scenes to go with.
The dialog for these moments are taken straight from sound bites of the films...and something about them just feels off. They don’t mesh well with the surroundings and often feel completely off tone from the other LEGO characters who have brand new dialog. While much of the LEGO humor remains in tact, I found the best scenes were the ones not even in the movie. Again, this adds to the ‘rushed’ feeling I got from the story standpoint of the game.