The Jurassic Park franchise is so deeply ingrained within pop culture that it is hard to underestimate its significance. From action figures to the iconic movies, the dream is alive and hard at work. Released to coincide with the theatrical run of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (read the Last Word on Sports.LIFE review for that blockbuster here), Jurassic World Evolution allows everyone access to paradise by putting players in control of living, breathing, dangerous dinosaurs.

Developed by Frontier Developments, Jurassic World Evolution is a game where you are able to relive the original dream of John Hammond. Located on multiple islands off the coast of Costa Rica, you, the player, establish amusements parks located in thick jungles, constructing paddocks filled with dinosaurs.

This game is a lot like Zoo Tycoon. Except with unpredictable dinosaurs.

What on Earth could possibly go wrong? In Jurassic World, everything can go wrong.

The Ins and Outs of Jurassic World Evolution: Life on the Islands

Instead of only one park, the game offers the player the chance to construct up to five parks on a chain of islands: Isla Matanceros, Isla Muerta, Isla Tacaño, Isla Pena and Isla Sorna. These islands comprise a chain, aptly named “The Five Deaths.”

And with each park comes awe-inspiring attractions and dinosaurs, research centers, expedition teams, and helpful employees that will put a stop to any dino disaster. The player is totally in control of constructing the park. Players manage everything from scheduling their ACU team’s daily patrol to making sure their raptor pack is happy and healthy; it’s like being the store manager of a huge store. Except you’re handling raptors instead of customers.

The numerous applications and combinations the player can utilize is endless. From the Gyrosphere in the Tyrannosaurus paddock to the monorail ride transporting your guests, your park has endless opportunities.

Along the way when you’re constructing parks, various missions and contracts will pop up. Not only will you make major profit from these contracts, but it will improve your park rating as well. These contracts can run the gamut from breeding certain species of dinosaurs to ensuring your park attractions are up and functional.

While tedious and intensive, Dr. Malcolm’s snarky attitude will keep you going to make sure your park is safe and secure

The Main Event: Overgrown Turkeys with Claws

But of course, the main courses on this delicious feast of a game are the dinosaurs. Yes, the dinosaurs are terrific with a capital T, and look amazing. Although not scientifically accurate (the Velociraptors), the dinosaurs are stunning nonetheless. Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor, Stegosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Carnotaurus, Triceratops, you name it! Even the infamous and deadly Indominus Rex makes an appearance in the game.

Genetic power is at your very fingertips, and creating monsters with a game controller seems so harmless. But in-game, crafting an Indominus Rex seems so destructive. Let’s not get started on the Indoraptor, a true monster created from the mind of a mad scientist. Only Frankenstein would approve of such a monster.

However, the gene splicing doesn’t stop there. Even before incubating your attractions, you’re able to change the genetic code of a specific dinosaur. Behavioral traits, skin color and physical characteristics are just a few of the things you can tweak, but crafting the perfect dinosaur will cost you quite a pretty penny.

Breeding a pack of Velociraptors with vivid skin colors and longevity genes will not only guarantee a functional group of animals, but make them fashionable as well, an excellent touch in a steamy, hot jungle.

The Good, the Bad, and the Scaly

Although the game does offer a lot of opportunities for thrills and fun, it doesn’t come without problems. Hosting a pack of raptors or running a multi-billion dollar theme park isn’t without problems, both from a gameplay and a thematic standpoint.

While it is definitely awesome to see dinosaurs eat, breathe and run, the miniscule amount of interactions and in-game behaviors can lead to stale moments. If Frontier Developments is listening to this, adding a few enrichment objects and more behaviors for the dinosaurs would be refreshing. Seeing a few toys or a Tyrannosaurus sleep or play fight would be cool. On top of that, the ever-monotonous side quests and high-maintenance guests might lead to frustration.

Last Word on Jurassic World Evolution

Only the most dedicated Jurassic Park fans will work to the top and run a park like it’s second nature to them. Rampaging genetic beasts running amok in the park? Easy as pie. Above all, this game is a breath of fresh air in the graphics area and creature department. The jungle might be filled with claws and fangs, but there’s no need to be afraid. As long as you outsmart those raptors.

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