Charm alone cannot revive a flagging Lego series that refuses to innovate.
Game review: Lego Jurassic World
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed) / Playstation 4 / Wii U / Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 / Nintendo 3DS / PS Vita / PC
FROM John Williams’s magnificent soaring score to the use of the Mr DNA edutainment sequences on loading screens, the first five minutes you spend with Lego Jurassic World reveal a smattering of little incidental details that show a genuine love for the film series and hint at something out of the ordinary. Sadly, the next nine hours or so plod along to the same routine that has defined every previous Lego game.
It may seem unfair to tarnish the achievements of Jurassic World simply because of its familiarity. It is a perfectly serviceable and entertaining game, with flashes of humour and wit, but it is now ten years since TT Games started work on the Lego series and amount of charm or attention to detail can forgive the firm’s stubborn adherence to the same old formula and creaking mechanics.
Jurassic World revisits the game design of the earliest Lego titles
Indeed, Jurassic World feels like it is revisiting the game design of the earliest Lego titles. With considerably less combat that recent games, light puzzling elements form the spine of the adventure, set across the new blockbuster as well as the original movie and its two other sequels. Anyone who has sat through The Lost World and Jurassic Park III will know there is plenty of filler to go around, but overall, there are enough flashpoints from the four films to give the game impetus.
The core of the gameplay is as familiar: smash up the scenery and then reconstruct it in new ways with the aid of a button press. The challenge is minimal, even for young children, and while the superhero entries in the Lego canon made it relatively easy to know which characters was best suited to any given scenario, the lack of strong, unique characters in Jurassic World means it is often a case of a trial and error.
Controlling the dinos is great fun but their use is severely limited
The headline innovation is being able to control the dinosaurs themselves and to begin with, this is great fun, with the brute force of ungainly creatures a pleasant change to control. Their use is severely limited, however, and after the hundredth time using them to smash down barriers the novelty wears thin. Much more could have been made of this asset and although free play mode allows you customise your own beasts, their underwhelming presence in the main campaign feels remiss.
There are numerous moments that raise a smile during this game, such as diving in a pile of steaming dinosaur dung to retrieve an item essential to your next Lego creation, and the QTE chase scenes are well paced. But they are fleeting and too few. TT Games has had a fine run, though in a game based around extinction and revival, they should bear in mind what fate has in store for those creatures that cannot adapt to their environment. Lego Dimensions, its upcoming debut in the toys to life genre, cannot come too soon.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
Find the amber bricks in each of the levels if you want to play as a dinosaur. Securing the collectibles (easily identifiable thanks to their flashing yellow glow) is the only way to unlock them.
One of the oddest powers some female characters have at their disposal is being able to shatter glass by screaming. A few puzzles require this to progress even when it is not obvious.
If stuck at any puzzle, rotate your characters using the Y button. It is not always clear who you should be using so trial and error is the best approach.