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Jurassic World Evolution Review

Jurassic World Evolution is a park management title based off of the Jurassic series where you must balance both excitement and safety. Responsibility and stakes run high, but so do rewards; make sure you’re up to the task of handling the more unforgiving aspects of this release.

Not only must you ensure your park rating (based off of both your dino and facility ratings) holds steady and increases, but you must also balance your reputation with your three divisions (science, entertainment, and security), for, often, completing a request on behalf of one division comes at the expense of the other two. On top of this, you must balance your budget, fund expeditions for more dinos and research, and keep a close eye on those carnivores.

An amusement park bearing the name of anything relating to the Jurassic isn’t complete without dinosaurs. They’re extinct, but you have expedition and fossil centers which circumvent this issue. To retrieve fossils, you must send a dig team to an excavation site. You have only a few sites unlocked initially to which you may send a team, but you acquire access to more once you unlock more islands and build expedition centers on them. Once your team comes back with fossils, you can choose to sell them or extract DNA to increase the viability of a dino’s genome.

You require a minimum of fifty percent of the genome to incubate a dino at a Hammond Creation Lab, subsequently releasing it into an enclosure. You might find precious metals from a dig, which you may only sell since they don’t contain any genetic information. Fossils are shared across islands, so you might opt to sell metals on another island if funds there are dwindling. All three of these steps — sending a team on an expedition, extracting DNA, and incubating a new creature — take time, often just a minute or two each, perhaps less, depending on what you’ve researched in your research centers (research also takes time).

Besides faster times for incubations and extractions, and other useful building upgrades, you can also research new genetic traits to splice and modify a genome with, although applying a researched trait decreases the viability of a genome, making it less likely the dinosaur incubates successfully. Your other primary form of progression comes from accepting contracts and missions from the various divisions and increasing your rep with them.

An issue you might take with building upgrades is that they require additional electricity and cost money to apply and swap them for another upgrade. Merely researching the upgrade isn’t enough to utilize it: you must apply them to each building, expend resources, and also choose which to use (you can stack the same upgrade), for buildings have only a few upgrade slots.

Carnivorous dinos can and will escape. The starting fence isn’t enough to contain their bloodlust, and once they break through that barrier, you must delegate tasks swiftly to your task force, lest you put even more lives at stake. I couldn’t help but to watch in horror as the carnivore devoured my guests (on behalf of the park — I am sorry we let you guests down! You might’ve been no more than meat to him, but your memory lives on as a lesson learned), as my island rating tanked and slowly rebuilt as I dealt with the situation. Not researching the electrified fence was an oversight and a rather costly one! This release is not one in which you can idle and only check on occasionally, unless you don’t own any aggressive types of dinosaurs.

The electrified light steel fence didn’t help much. It could withstand perhaps another hit or two from a carnivore before crumbling. Not only do carnivores seem just way too aggressive, but the ACU helicopter in charge of tranquilizing them takes a bit too long to reach its destination.

I question how valuable it is to keep a carnivore. Having only one in my park and having to tranquilize, rebuild fences, and transport it back into its enclosure five times in an hour seems too often. (In Sandbox Mode, which you can unlock, you can control the frequency of escapes or set it to zero. The only limits in this mode is that there’s a limited amount of space on the island and you only have access to what you’ve unlocked in your career.) It’s a distraction from taking care of other aspects of your park, viz., trying to increase its rating and other parameters so you can unlock more stuff. There’s the combat infamy bonus a carnivore obtains by killing other dinosaurs, but I was able to score more points in my dino rating by opting for more herbivores and eschewing the carnivore scene. Ultimately, a carnivore might stagnate your progression early on.

After you reach so many stars on an island, you unlock additional islands on which you can build. The second island, where you find most buildings in severe disrepair, poses an additional challenge. Your funds between islands aren’t connected, so you must manage each separately. Nor is your rep connected across islands, so you must increase that as well, but at least you can unlock more structures and research.

The reward of an additional island is worth the effort, for this creates greater research opportunities, additional space (your starting island is a bit small), and more — but your responsibilities only grow. The game itself never really becomes easier; your research and genome data help, but future success depends on learning how to micromanage efficiently, respond to crises without delay, and generate a steady profit (oddly enough this is perhaps the easiest to accomplish). You must assign tasks to your ranger teams and ACU helicopters: repairing fences and tranquilizing rampaging dinos, mostly.

6

The Verdict: Good

Jurassic World Evolution is a slightly unforgiving park simulator that emphasizes micromanaging, particularly in crisis situations which occur more often than you might expect when you have a carnivore, and this only increases when you have more islands under your care. Increasing your island rating to unlock other islands is an uphill climb, for it’s quick to drop even in a non-crisis situation, or remain the same even after you’ve put more attractions. If you don’t mind these aspects and don’t mind that it takes time to do most things in this release, you should consider this title.

Chris Hubbard
Written by
June 25, 2018
Published in Strategy

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A fan of RPGs above other genres, Chris has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. Some of the games that had the most influence on his gaming preferences have been the Final Fantasy and the Diablo series. More recently, most of Chris' gaming time has been going toward Gems of War and Clicker Heroes (give it a try, it can be addicting), along with open-world RPGs such as Skyrim and ESO. He's also dabbled with RPG Maker software, and it is a goal of his to someday create an RPG.

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