I must start with a confession. Although well aware of the hype and a massive fan of the original film, I have yet to see Jurassic World. Growing up on the films and loving both books upon which they are based, I was interested when LEGO Jurassic World was hinted at upon completion of LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, but, as I mentioned in my review of that game, some of the gameplay elements and puzzles were starting to feel a bit stale. So it was with mixed feelings when I started playing LEGO Jurassic World, half expecting to be a little bored by the same puzzles and concepts updated with a dinosaur-based coat of paint, but I am pleased to report that LEGO Jurassic World is a really enjoyable addition to the ever-growing LEGO games catalogue.
The game itself is instantly recognisable as a LEGO one, in more than just appearance. Collecting coloured studs and solving simple puzzles is still a core element of the gameplay lifted straight from the many previous LEGO tie-in games, so if you have played any of those games you can pretty much pick up and play this one without too much fuss. For newcomers, Mr DNA, pulled straight from the first Jurassic Park film, is never far away to offer friendly advice or dinosaur based facts to fill the time as each level loads or tips in order to progress through each level.
From the beginning of the game you are presented with a choice – jump straight in to Jurassic World, the latest addition to the movie franchise, or start from the beginning by playing Jurassic Park, and then the following films in order of release. Each film entry has their own series of levels that jump from one recognisable set piece to the next, from the iconic introduction of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park to the introduction of the Raptor Squad in Jurassic World. As I have already said I haven’t seen the new film, but each movie-based series of levels does a pretty good job of retelling each story in typical LEGO fashion, with the usual humour and Easter eggs that we have come to expect from LEGO games littering each one. Helping to tell the tale each game uses the original voice cast, and includes extra dialogue recorded specifically for the game when playing the Jurassic World levels.
Each of the games levels is tied to a specific location upon the islands of Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna, and these serve as the game’s hub, linking all the levels together and themselves covered in puzzles to solve and races to compete in. As you explore the island you can unlock more characters, each with their own puzzle solving abilities, and LEGO Jurassic World also introduces a variety of playable dinosaurs, with each capable of solving puzzles or destroying creature specific blocks. One of the main elements upon which Travellers Tales build their LEGO games is the need to replay each level as further characters are unlocked, and the same is true here – the levels are designed to be replayed and revisited. Each level has two modes, a Story Mode where you play as a group of set characters taken straight from the films, or a Free Play mode which allows you to revisit and further explore each level with all the characters you have unlocked. To LEGO veterans this is nothing new, but it does feel fresh, with the islands interesting to explore, and the variety of characters once again truly spectacular, with the game’s researchers pulling out all the stops to include all the well-known characters alongside a hundred other characters that maybe popped up for mere seconds on the big screen, which is a truly impressive feat and only adds to the love and respect that is shown towards the source material.
The puzzles are pretty much taken from previous games, heavily relying on the breaking and destroying scenery to rebuild objects and items mechanic, or using the abilities associated with the wealth of characters to progress further. This mechanic is utilised with the inclusion of dinosaurs, with some available to switch between on the fly as you explore, and some of the larger dinos tied to specific locations or, as the game calls them, pens. Dinosaurs do feature during some of the levels where you take control of them during specific scenes from the film in what are simply Quick-Time Event fight sequences, but it is in Free Play or exploring the islands and solving the many dinosaur specific puzzles that controlling the dinosaurs really seems to fit, smashing glowing blocks with Triceratops or working your way along narrow pipes as the small Compsognathus made famous in Jurassic Park 2. Some of the bigger dinos also have their own bonus levels that are based on scenes from the films that are unlocked as you complete each film entry, such as playing the chase scene from the original film as the T-Rex, chasing the jeep as it speeds away to safety.
Exploring the island is made easier with the inclusion of a map that shows the location of each level once they have been completed and includes a handy fast travel ability that is unbelievably handy during the games later stages as you revisit and replay levels or hunt down the various collectables that are hidden around the island. LEGO games appear unbelievably simple but the way that they are structured is an incredible feat in-game construction, with each area requiring you to revisit and explore again and again when new characters are unlocked in order to find every gold or red brick. LEGO games are a completionist’s dream, with hundred of collectibles to hunt down and locate, from the Amber hidden in each level that unlocks a new dinosaur to explore the island with, or the Red bricks that unlock the LEGO version of cheats, such as multipliers and invincibility. Another welcome addition is the ability to select a specific part of a level in which to start should you wish to play that level again, making it so much easier and less of a chore to have to go back and complete a level to locate the last few collectables, with each section showing how many you have already found or have yet to collect. This system makes revisiting levels that bit quicker during the final stages of the game if, like me, you want to track down each and every dinosaur bone and Amber piece that are hidden throughout each of the games 26 levels.
So what makes LEGO Jurassic World different? In a way, nothing. If you have played any of the Traveller’s Tales LEGO games you will be instantly familiar with the game play, and nothing I have said so far will be shocking or new, besides the ability to play as dinosaurs, but for some reason the marriage between LEGO and Jurassic Park just seems to fit. I genuinely found myself enjoying every second I played, something that I was shocked to discover having played so many LEGO games in the past and finding the last few to be repetitive and overly similar in nature, the levels linear and lacking any real challenge. The same can be said here it is true, but Traveller’s Tales have done it again by crafting a fun, enjoyable game that just oozes charm and real affection for the source material upon which the game is based.
A lot of what I said in my earlier review of LEGO Batman 3 can be said here, with concerns on how many LEGO games Traveller’s Tales can make that use the same ideas and puzzles still holding true here, but they have managed to stretch it out over the course of one more game, with the upcoming LEGO Dimensions possibly serving as the shot in the arm that the LEGO series needs when it releases later this year. If you have enjoyed any LEGO games in the past or are a fan of the Jurassic Park series LEGO Jurassic World does manage to combine all the familiar elements together in a way that feels both enjoyable and fun, and you will definitely find something to enjoy here.
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