LEGO Jurassic World Review
Words by: Stephen Ashby
You know the drill here. There’s a famous movie series, character or TV genre. Traveller’s Tales takes it and recreates everything with LEGO bricks. This time, it’s Jurassic Park that’s been given the treatment. There are jokes involving bananas. There are velociraptors playing football. There’s a Jeff Goldblum mini- figure. If you go into LEGO Jurassic World expecting something surprising, prepare for disappointment.
The game spans all three Jurassic Park films, as well as the new Jurassic World movie, with each of these split into five levels (that’s a total of 20 levels, maths fans). The game hub is also fully explorable, and contains plenty of things to find and unlock, from red and gold bricks to park workers in peril. This hub spans across the two islands of the movie universe – Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna – and, once unlocked, you can jump from one to the other at any time.
The islands are as beautifully designed as you would expect from a LEGO game – which isn’t necessarily the highest praise. Still, while we feared we may get bored of the constant jungle environments pretty quickly, we actually found that the variety of the level design kept us interested. Don’t get us wrong – you’re going to be punching a lot of trees, rocks and bushes. A lot. But it’s okay, because collecting those goddamn studs is so ridiculously addictive. Half the time you won’t even realise that there’s a giant T-Rex roaring in the background – you’ll be too busy gleefully leaping back and forth smashing up fences, boxes and the odd fern.
And when you’re not, it’s because you’re being gently coaxed into learning a new game mechanic. These
“Half the time you won’t even realise that there’s a giant T-Rex roaring in the background” elements are introduced regularly – as you encounter new characters that are added to your team, you’ll also find their skills open up previously inaccessible areas for you to explore. While some will be familiar (read: identical) to those that have played previous LEGO titles, the new additions keep things fresh and add a comic element. From leaping into giant dino turd-piles to find items or tracking a scent to dig up some hidden bricks, new abilities are rife. And because this is just the latest in a long line of LEGO titles from Traveller’s Tales, the team has nigh-on perfected the balance between platforming, exploration and puzzling. One level in particular stood out to us – in the first Jurassic Park movie, when the T-Rex has pushed the Jeep over the edge of the paddock and Dr Grant has to climb the tree to get Tim out before the car falls to the floor. In the film, the scene lasts just a couple of tense and exciting minutes. In the game, though, the tree becomes a huge level, filled with platforms to navigate, puzzles to solve and hidden areas to access. It’s an excellent example of how to take a movie licence and make it your own.
This, though, is also one of our hang- ups about the game – and it’s one we’ve had with previous LEGO-based movie tie-ins in the past. While games with original storylines, like LEGO Marvel Superheroes, can sculpt their own narrative and make their mark with funny dialogue and comical asides, movie tie- ins are bound by their scripts. As ever, TT did a pretty good job of adding it’s own twist to a familiar story, with slapstick moments and terrible jokes that are so bad they’re good. But the script always pulls it back, and stops it feeling truly its own game. Don’t get us wrong – we love the Jurassic Park movies, and there’s nothing wrong with the game following the storyline. We just wish there was a little more space for Traveller’s Tales to ‘LEGO-ify’ it.
But we’re nit-picking, and it’s getting in the way of the biggest news of all: you can play as a dinosaur. Thinking about it, we probably should’ve led with that. That’s right; as you play you’ll come across new dinosaurs, taking control of them once you free them. These huge beasts can break walls, destroy certain blocks, and generally mess up your enemies. Once you’ve unlocked them, they’re yours to control in free-play as well, giving you instant access to plenty of beasts. Plus, as you find their DNA (hidden in pieces of amber dotted throughout the game), you can use it to splice your own custom dinosaur, with unique attributes. When you consider this alongside the epic list of unlockable characters, and the 275 gold blocks to collect, you’re talking about a jam- packed title with bags of replay value. Getting 100% in less than 25 hours would be a struggle.
As with any LEGO title, you really shouldn’t go into this thinking it’s going to challenge or surprise you – you’ll only be disappointed. What it will do is make you smile, stir your sense of nostalgia, and make your inner child excited about dinosaurs again. And there’s nothing wrong with that.