A lot of us grew up with games like The Sims and Roller Coaster Tycoon. When I was offered Jurassic World Evolution 2, initially I had no interest. After seeing the trailer, and realizing I could build my very own park and fill it with DINOSAURS, I was in. Long gone are the days of building bathrooms, or letting my sims drown in pools. Now we are on to full-out dinosaur breakouts!
Jurassic World Evolution 2 is a simulation game that ties into the Jurassic Park universe. Throughout the multiple modes (Campaign, Challenge, Sandbox and Chaos Theory) the main goal remains the same—build a successful Jurassic Park, don’t let anyone get eaten, profit!
All your favourite characters from Jurassic World are here—Owen, Claire and, of course, everyone’s favourite character, Ian. To my surprise, Claire is still voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World, Twilight), and Ian by Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park, Marvel’s What if…?). Chris Pratt (Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy), however, was replaced by A.J. LoCascio (Back to the Future: The Game). A fun little surprise for anyone who loves Law & Order: SVU is BD Wong as Henry Wu.
For anyone just diving into Jurassic World Evolution 2, I highly recommend you play through the whole campaign before you do anything else. I tried to jump ahead into the sandbox mode and didn’t understand how anything worked. The game’s campaign mode takes you through five scenarios, teaching you about buildings, staff, dinosaurs, healing, and even photography.
“For anyone just diving into Jurassic World Evolution 2, I highly recommend you play through the whole campaign before you do anything else.”
Without this mode, I would have been in a lot of trouble. Though I normally can’t stand scenarios—World of Warcraft ruined them for me—by the fifth and final section I was very thankful to have them. The first few posed no challenge, and after a couple of save mishaps (make sure you go to Load Game, and don’t just click Campaign, or it will start you over) I found myself trying to speed through them and get them over with.
This didn’t work out so well for the last scenario. I thought I had everything ready to go before I really got started. After the first four, I figured it was predictable, and I’d rush through it. Spoiler alert, I ran out of money, and everything died. Round five was a good lesson, I managed my money better the second time around, and I was a mega-millionaire by the end.
“It definitely allows you to flex your creativity.”
I didn’t love that there wasn’t really a story mode that lets you build one complete park. The scenarios broke things up into different areas and new parks, so each time, you were starting fresh. Naturally, I jumped into Sandbox mode since I was missing my own giant park. By default, it was far too easy, but it definitely allows you to flex your creativity. I wanted a bit of a challenge and some guidance on where to start. Sandbox just gives you all the freedom in the world, so essentially you could build it all before you even get a dinosaur.
Thankfully, the mode is highly customizable. You can adjust the difficulty of absolutely everything. Gone are the days of the Motherlode cheat in The Sims, since Jurassic World Evolution 2 accepts that you might want unlimited money and lets you have it! I can’t wait to build the park of my dreams, but am still currently building with some challenges on, though I’m not sure why at this point.
Chaos Theory, however, takes you a bit deeper into building a park. Though it lacks all the freedom that Sandbox mode has (certain buildings needing to be placed in certain places), it is a step-up from the campaign, as you’ll learn more about the actual park guests and amenities. This section of the game is supposed to take scenarios from the movies and pose a “What if?” What if…. you took over instead and everything ran smoothly? I have a small pool of knowledge of the films themselves, but I think it’s a great concept for any other fans out there.
My only real issue with the game might stem from a bit of an obsessive need for straight lines and organization. Building fences, paths, and even occasionally buildings, can be tricky if you want everything aligned just so. Often, I would build something that looked perfect, only to find it was at an angle. Or I would try to place a path from a building to another path and the game would insist on a giant curve. You can only build small sections of paths at a time, so lining things up is unnecessarily challenging. Between that and the necessary wide turns on park tours, I found myself frustrated with mapping out the park overall.
“Jurassic World Evolution 2 will appeal to any fans of simulation games, even those that aren’t familiar with the Jurassic Park franchise.”
There were a few times I found myself stuck, but more often than not, it was because I missed a step somewhere, and there are a LOT of steps; medical scan dino, tranq dino, transfer dino, heal dino, transfer dino back, scan dino again, rinse, repeat. Toward the beginning of the Campaign mode, a mission would not complete. It turns out there was a small creature in the cage with my dinosaur, so technically it wasn’t “enclosed safely.” But the game hadn’t mentioned anything about other things being able to enter the cages, so I had no idea what was going on.
I eventually needed to find a way around the mission, briefly enclosing my dinosaur in a tiny cage until the timer ran out. I never did find the tiny creature, but a few other people had the same issue. Forest terrain makes it difficult to see inside the habitats, so if there is anything in there that shouldn’t be (no, not the goats), good luck finding it.
The graphics in Jurassic World Evolution 2 really bring the prehistoric creatures to life. Zooming in to watch the dinosaurs (and the poor goats) go about their day is so detailed. If you go peeking into staff buildings, you will see tiny desks and offices, no corner was left incomplete. Tornados and storms are actually kind of mesmerizing to watch, so much so that there was a massive breakout when I was trying to check things out from every angle.
Flying a helicopter shows a vast view-distance across your map, detailed with land as far as you can see. Driving through the areas, each one is unique and full of colour, and you will definitely know if you hit something, or if something hit you. Even the game’s scientists have realistic and diverse names and faces. Jurassic World Evolution 2 put their all into each detail.
There is so much that can be said about this game. There are so many things to dive into, we could be here all day. One thing I did want to mention is the educational impact it had on my six-year-old. Though it isn’t a game he would pick up and play (successfully) on his own, he loved watching me and was full of questions about every dinosaur. I had zero answers. Alexa helped us out often, and we ended up learning a lot while we built our park. He only let a couple of dinos get loose.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 brings one of the most popular film franchises together with simulation games like Roller Coaster Tycoon, allowing fans and dinosaur aficionados to build parks beyond our wildest dreams. With beautiful graphics, detailed customization and an interesting base story, Jurassic World Evolution 2 will appeal to any fans of simulation games, even those that aren’t familiar with the Jurassic Park franchise.