Inside Pulse 12

Review: Lego Jurassic World (Sony PlayStation 4)

legojurassiccover

Lego Jurassic World
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Traveler’s Tales
Genre: Adventure
Release Date: 06/12/2015

Another year, another Lego game, right? Wait. They don’t even wait a year between the releases of these things. Oh well. With Jurassic World destroying box office records left and right, it appears Traveler’s Tales picked the perfect moment to release a Lego version of the dinosaur franchise. Questions remain, however. How do you translate the combat-less films into the combat heavy style these games are known for? How do you handle the vast amounts of violent death by dinosaur in the films? Does anyone even want to go through Jurassic Park 3 again?

Let’s answer those questions.

legojurassic1So the game covers all four of the films. It begins with the opening chapter of Jurassic Park, but once you get on the island, you can choose to go right to JW if you so desire. In order to get the other two films, you have to complete the story missions in chronological order.

The stories are modified slightly to fit with the game, but not enough that it really matters. The exact timing of an event or two is changed. For many of the characters, the voices are ripped straight from the film, which is interesting. Of course, they end up not quite fitting with the game voices for various reasons that I’ll get into in a bit. The biggest change is the most violent portions of the films are redone in a slapstick style. No one actually dies in the game. It’s meant for all ages after all. Instead, you’ll see something like the character running away or being swallowed whole only to be pumped out later. In one memorable case, all of the victims of one dinosaur are shown to be playing cards inside of its stomach. Honestly, I think that might be a bit more disturbing.

Overall though, they’re amusing retreads that give you a good synopsis of the movie’s events while spicing things up with the trademark humor these games are known for. Fans are going to get the most out of it, which is hardly new.

legojurassic2Visually, the game is pretty fantastic, and might be the best looking Lego game yet. A bit part of this is the dinosaurs, which all look fantastic. The more realistic backgrounds do a great job of mimicking the feel of each movie, but the real stars are of course the brick locations. If I were a rich man, I’d be buying up Lego JP sets like crazy. It’s not all gravy, though. There are some really awkward animations, particularly with the bigger dinos. With the limited articulation afforded by Lego figures, this is to be expected. It’s still jarring.

As you might imagine, the music is out of this world fantastic. Taking the John Williams score (and the inspired scores from later films) and putting into this game just sells it. TT did a darn good job of using variations and other tunes from the movies to make sure you’re never stuck listening to the same song for long. It must be fantastic to just plug some classic music into a game and call it a day. Likewise, the classic sounds from the game franchise return and are as satisfying as ever. I may never get tired of hearing Lego bricks click together as my character builds a wacky invention out of what used to be a random crate.

legojurassic3The most controversial aspect of the audio are those voices I mentioned earlier. While taking the voices directly from the movies might seem like a good idea, it backfires on several levels. For starters, those voices are often taken from scenes where various background noises can be heard. As such, the voices had to be filtered and adjusted. The audio levels of movie voices don’t gel with the game voices either. When they’re talking to each other, they sound like they’re in different rooms of a house. It’s disconcerting, and it always sounds bad. It’s only a select few characters that get to keep their actors. The minor characters get replaced so they can add lines teaching you how to play the game and/or react to the crazy things happening around them. Still. You can’t beat Jeff Goldblum.

Lego Jurassic World breaks from the mold on a few different levels. It has a much lesser reliance on combat. You’ll still fight a few InGen employees and punch a compy or two, but not much more than that. Instead, the focus is more on the environmental puzzles. This means constantly switching between characters to get access to an ability or item you need. This means a slower, more deliberate pace through each level.

Turning these films into levels was probably not as hard as you think. The chase sequences got turned into bit where you dodge attacks or try to shoot flares into a Rex’s mouth. They managed to make a level where you restore power to the computers before Lex can restart the security systems. Heck, the whole tree climbing incident got turned into a level all its own. A couple of the areas are duds, but the game is fairly enjoyable for the most part.

Like in other Lego games, you have story mode and free play. In story mode, you play a level before going back to your respective island. You then follow some metaphorical breadcrumbs to you next location. You might get an extra puzzle or two, but it’s more seeing everything the islands have to offer. In free play mode, you can run around as much as you like. Each island is full of things to collect and side missions to complete. You heal sick dinosaurs, save workers in peril, and even get to play as dinosaurs to solve some puzzles. A big part of the experience is collecting everything, and it will definitely take you a while to do so.

legojurassic4You’ll unlock a lot of stuff by playing through the story, but you’ll need to really look around in order to get everything. For example, in order to play as a dinosaur, you’ll need to find an amber brick in each level. Other characters are unlocked by finding them on the map. Either way, you’ll need to collect studs, the game’s currency, in order to buy it all. Once you’ve got a few multipliers unlocked, this process is quickly sped up.

The game would be great except for one big problem. That problem is that it’s still a Lego game. That means slippery controls that make platforming difficult, aiming impossible, and driving a complete crap shoot. The worst part is when you’re surrounded by half a dozen little carnivores and can’t hit a single one. Then there are the bugs. I’ve had characters fall through the ground, characters freeze up, game crashes, and all sort of other problems. It often involved restarting the game to fix these issues, which could mean losing a bit of work. Its unfortunate that the problems that plagued the series when it started ten years ago are still plaguing the series today.

If all you want to do is run through the story, you’re looking at five to six hours worth of entertainment. If you choose to find and do everything in the game, you can easily quadruple that time. You might also have fun creating custom characters (like adding characters from the books) or making crazy new dinosaurs in the gene lab. It certainly is fun making a polka dot T-Rex with Dilophosaurus frills and a Stegosaurus tail. At the very least, it will give you some extra amusement.

Short Attention Span Summary

diehardjack1-150x150Lego Jurassic World is a game that fans of the movies aren’t going to want to miss. However, it comes with various problems of the Lego franchise. The gameplay is still made for kids, the controls are still sloppy, and collecting everything quickly becomes a grind. If you didn’t like these games before, you won’t like them now. If you don’t mind that, then you’ll have some good fun.

Tags: , , , , ,