(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)
- The Game Itself
- 4 Stars
- The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
- 3.5 Stars
- The Audio: Rating the Sound
- 4 Stars
- Replay Factor
- 4.5 Stars
- Bottom Line
LEGO Jurassic World
- Street Date:
- June 12th, 2015
- Reviewed by:
- Julian De Backer
- Review Date:1
- June 20th, 2015
- Game Release Year:
- Warner Brothers
- Traveller's Tales
PS4 disc edition reviewed. There is also a review of the Xbox One version available to check out.
The LEGO games continue to reign far and wide, bringing in a plethora of properties to realize in Traveller's Tales' style. The announcement of 'LEGO Jurassic World,' which includes both the new film and the preceding three movies, was proof once again that digitized LEGO bricks have the ability to inspire and excite people of all ages.
Spoiler warning: Having not seen 'Jurassic World' prior to reviewing the game, I learned of the movie's story via the gameplay.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
True to TT Games' trademark humor reputation, the chuckling begins even before pressing a button. The company logo is hatched from two eggs in a Dr. Henry Wu’s research facility. Even the menu screen itself is funny, with the big 'Jurassic World' gate standing firm and proud. Subsequently, said gate is opened by a scaredy-(where-are-my-)pants minifigure, who takes a quick peek and then closes the gate again. The selection screen is presented as a marketing folder for the active theme park, with park hours, capacity, Tyrannosaurus feeding show, temperature and more info all advertised. And is that John Hammond seen during a never-ending gameplay loop? Weird. Hasn't his character died? Director Colin Trevorrow said as much after actor Richard Attenborough's passing last year. The LEGO games will do anything - and that includes cheating death - for a throwaway joke.
Both 'The LEGO Movie Videogame' and 'LEGO City Undercover' delighted me to no end. 'The LEGO Movie Videogame' - made on a very tight deadline with the release of the eponymous movie swiftly approaching - is another proof that not all movie-based licensed games are craptacular, and the Wii U-exclusive 'LEGO City Undercover' still remains one of the struggling console's strongest selling points. 'Lego Jurassic World' is more of the exact same, and that’s not a bad thing.
Things start off exactly where the first movie began: Rubert Muldoon is overseeing the arrival of a new raptor, in the appropriately named first level 'Raptor Travel'. Too bad actor Bob Peck didn't live to see this moment: his best-remembered role, extra immortalized through the eyes of a LEGO minifigure. Did his surviving family have to give their blessing? Mr. DNA - ever the helpful chap - is the guide throughout the game. Only one minute in, and the first 'spared no expense' quip gets cracked. Apparently John Hammond saw fit to include a 'free ice pops' clause in the workers’ contract. Classy! And, yes, that’s a drivable forklift truck in the background. Instant sweet 'Shenmue' memories.
Directly comparing ‘LEGO Jurassic World’ to any other TT LEGO game reveals no huge surprises or groundbreaking innovations. The standard LEGO videogame rules and tropes apply: collect round 1x1 bricks for extra collectibles, destroy the scenery, rebuild the scenery, interact with and switch between other characters, play co-op with a significant other or a friend etcetera. Gameplay-wise, this game could be considered extinct. ‘LEGO Jurassic World’ offers 20 levels, which equates to 5 levels per film. Once landed on Isla Nublar, there's a choice between 'Jurassic Park' on the left of the helipad and 'Jurassic World' on the right. While it’s weird to be able to choose between ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Jurassic World’ from the get-go – it reeks of pandering to the current movie’s fan base, to be honest - it actually makes a lot of sense: both these movies take place on Isla Nublar. Once the ‘Jurassic Park’ levels are completed, Isla Sorna is accessible by chopper to play both ‘The Lost World’ and ‘Jurassic Park III’ on Site B.
Playable characters aplenty: Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, and Ian Malcolm are a given, but Gennaro the generic lawyer can kick some dinosaurus behind too. Although it’s not entirely fair, the cinematic apathy towards both ‘The Lost World’ and ‘Jurassic Park III’ immediately soured its corresponding LEGO levels. Are there any gamers dying to play as Eddie Carr, Nick Van Owen or Sarah Harding? Granted, playing with a LEGO Pete Postlethwaite (probably the best actor in the history of ever) brought a tear of joy to my jaded gamer’s eye. I now demand a full LEGO Pete Postlethwaite game, in which levels from all his iconic films are featured. Come on, TT Games, make this a reality! It’s also quite jarring to enter the first ‘Jurassic Park III’ stage as Ian Malcolm (the selected lead character in the ‘The Lost World’ levels), only to be presented with ... Alan Grant during a dig. Needless to say, the LEGO version of William H. Macy kicks all kinds of behind, abundant chest-hair included.
There are loads of cars and dinosaurs to unlock, and hundreds of collectables to be found. Even 15 hours of constant playing resulted in a mere 43.5% completion of the game. A lot of bang for the brick, er, buck! The amount of playable characters is truly staggering. Does anyone actually remember Cheryl Logan or Mark Degler? Steven Spielberg, Colin Trevorrow and Mr. DNA are playable (and expensive) minifigures, too! Characters with clothing variations can catch their other version walking around, waiting to be bought. How meta. The playable clever raptor girl instantly flashed me back to the excellent 'Jurassic Park' game on the MegaDrive. Any game that can instantly whiz me back to the carefree days of my youth, receives high marks and deserves high praise. According to the 'Jurassic Park' mythos, raptors are smart. Now, they are also Master Builders. They can create new items out of bricks lying around. Quite amazing. The after-credits scene teases 'LEGO Dimensions' come September, with Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler digging up a piece of the new collectible hardware.
Any negatives? When Alan Grant runs into a Brachiosaurus, the dinosaurus disappears into thin air, while still remaining an immovable object you can’t walk through. Weird bug. Jumping in the water to join the sauruses for a refreshing swim is forbidden. And only the ladies (e.g. Lex, Kelly and Amanda) are good screamers that can break glass windows. What kind of sexist nonsense is this? Then there are the faults against the game’s internal logic. In a ‘Jurassic Park III’ level, Eric Kirby has a cloaking device that lets him sneak past dinosaurs, and he can throw Tyrannosaurus pee to scare off Compsognathus. During an attempt to sneak around them with the cloak, the game scolded me and instructed me to use the pee. He can safely fool the scary big dinosaurs, but the Compsognathus are out of the question? And again in 'Jurassic World': Owen Grady also has a cloak and can dance freely around dinosaurs. However, he can’t approach the new Indominus Rex when it’s not pre-programmed in the gameplay. That’s downright insulting the intelligence of this average gamer. Fights between dinosaurs (reminiscent of 'Warpath: Jurassic Park') are quick time events, sadly.
During the four credits sequences (one for each movie), the Tyrannosaurus is in your command, chasing a Gallimimus during a stud-a-thon for extra bricks. (Interactive credits are always an excellent idea; see 'Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure' on the Nintendo DS for another great instance.) During the loading screens, Mr. DNA shares interesting dino tidbits.
TT Games excel in bringing the laughs, and 'LEGO Jurassic World' doesn't disappoint. Raptors and characters are infatuated with sausages and wieners. One humorous bug saw Dr. Grant instantly disintegrate at the touch of a measly pixel, just like Dirk The Daring in the awful NES-port of 'Dragon's Lair.'
In-game cameos abound. During the second 'spared no expense' mention, a piece of brick from the Vistor's Center came tumbling down. E.T. and Elliott cameo, flying past the moon. A Spielberg minifigure acts as a cameraman. Quint & Brody from 'Jaws' show up to mention they need a bigger boat. Diving in the first “pile of shit” (there are a lot of those in the game) results in the 'Remember to wash your hands' trophy. When Owen Grady is standing idle as a non-playing character, he's playing with two plastic raptor toys, just like Conker taking out his Game Boy Color during a break on his bad fur day. The ridiculous 'talking raptor' scene from 'Jurassic Park III' gets a brilliant brickified send-up. Marty McFly is chased by a 3D theater hologram Tyrannosaurus. And in the Montana desert scene, the scan of the "six foot turkey" skeleton shows the raptor’s skeleton guitar. Let that sink in for a minute. The rock stars of their day, eh?
'LEGO Jurassic World' is hilarious, well-made and solid fun. All a good video game should be, and so much more. You did say the magic word, TT Games.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Backgrounds and streaming water are stunning, bordering on the photorealistic. However, this isn't a game that embraces the raw processing power of the PlayStation 4. It’s never presented as a demo game to showcase the system, and it never intended to be one. It looks like all the other LEGO games, a few graphical bumps notwithstanding. Colors pop in all their crystal clear clarity. I haven’t tried the PS3 edition, but I can’t imagine it looking worse.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The soundtrack's the real awesome deal, ripped straight from the movies. As are the voices, all courtesy of the original cast. Mr. DNA sounds like George McFly in Telltale's 'Back to the Future The Game' (not played by Crispin Glover). Hearing Jeff Goldblum's 'Har Har Haw Haw' in all its glory, warms my nerdy heart to no end. In fact, 'Har har haw haw' can even be heard echoing through one loading screen. Fingers were crossed for 'Dodgson! Dodgson!' to pop up later in the game, but unless it's a very well hidden extra, it seems we haven't got Dodgson here.
Spend the better part of 2015 finding all the hidden extras, special features and bonuses. This is one packed game.
'LEGO Jurassic World' is a light-hearted, funny and generally excellent take on the four movies. Filled with enough chuckle-worthy moments to lighten up even the sourest of sourpusses, and featuring addictive and worthy gameplay, the game is a no-brainer for 'Jurassic' fans and a must for casual gamers. The only downside is that it's more of the same. If you are tired of TT Games' LEGO offerings by now, steer well clear. All others can safely pick up this title – get it now while the free LEGO Gallimimus is still included!
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