Small surprise of 2018, Jurassic World Evolution received a rather favorable reception from the players and the press, despite a lack of depth in terms of management and decoration options in particular. It is therefore logical that a second opus is coming out of the boxes at the end of the year 2021. More dinos, more management and decoration are on the program of what promises to be a much more mature episode than his big brother, we will see what it is.
A forgettable campaign as a tutorial
Originally, JWE 2 was planned to give the answer to the film Jurassic World: The World After, except that the latter has undergone multiple postponements, catapulting its release to June 2022. Suddenly, the “narrative” facet of Jurassic World Evolution 2 falls a little flat, but anyway, this pan ultimately only serves as a dessert for the rest of the content. The context therefore resumes some time after the finale of Fallen Kingdom: the world is invaded by dinos and humans must learn to deal with it. In this campaign, we are therefore missioned through different states of America, to set up dinosaur reserves, in order to study them, to preserve them, or to protect populations from aggressive dinosaurs. It must be said that having coffee on the terrace with a T-Rex is not charming.
So we go on 5-6 missions a little bland whose stakes are always the same: recover the free dinos which annoy the population, monitor the development of its last, and keep them wisely in cages. Expedited and off-putting objectives that will only have a handful of sequences in wild safari mode to give us a smile. However, we find the iconic characters of the license, such as Dr Malcolm, Claire or Owen, which teach us the basics while taking advantage of the original French dubbing. In original version, however, not all the actors lent their voices, this is the case with Chris Pratt for example.
In terms of game mechanics, the software remains similar to what the first JWE offered. We are dealing with a management game where it will also be necessary to manage the well-being of its dinos and the good behavior of the park. In the countryside however, there are no visitors, so buildings are limited to anything related to the outright management of your animal reserve and attractions are replaced by scientific points of view. But the foundations are the same, you have to create enclosures that perfectly meet the needs of your dinos (space, biome, water, food …) to maximize their comfort, ensure that the electrical network holds up by juggling between different power plants and generators, ensure safety is top notch when building bunkers and participate in research and other expeditions to improve our equipment and knowledge of dinosaurs.
But besides that, there are still several new features, especially in the management of our staff. Where JWE made the poor healers do everything, JWE 2 now splits the jobs into two parts: healers and scientists. The healers (or Rangers) will take care of all that is maintenance of the installations and superficial care of the dinos (surveillance, replenishment of the feeders, etc.). We can also manually assign them tasks, take direct control or give them work that they will do automatically following a routine. Convenient for regularly monitoring our cattle.
The scientists themselves will be busy with research, extensive medical care (fracture, surgery) and expeditions to bring back dinos (alive or in the form of a fossil to be analyzed). Moreover, research is an important part of our management since it alone holds all the evolution of the park, whether in the improvement of buildings (using mods increasing performance for example), the discovery of new genomes to cross our dinosaurs or anything related to new building technologies (attractions, shops, power plants, etc.). Scientists are the engine of Jurassic World Evolution 2, and we must ensure their well-being too by offering them time off, settling disputes in the best possible way or giving them spaces to relax.
Beyond that, campaign mode only scratches the surface of what JWE 2 offers, and we will have to fall back on Challenge mode – which asks us to create top-of-the-line parks on different maps – and Chaos Theory to see the other part of the iceberg.
The dinosaur AI, impressive credibility
Mr DNA v2.0
It will also be interesting to start with the Chaos Theory mode, since it will introduce you little by little the rest of the new features that the game hides. In this part of the game, you will have to change the course of the story by succeeding where the movies have failed. We therefore find ourselves rebuilding the original Jurassic Park, that of San Diego, the Isla Sorna reserve and, of course, Jurassic World as well as what remains of it in Fallen Kingdom.
A nice game mode that also allows you to take control of all the new options offered by JWE 2 such as genetics which has changed a bit. On paper, it’s the same grub, we triturate the DNA of our dinosaurs to make magnificent bugs that can pay off big, and we incubate them in an incubator while crossing our fingers so that everything goes well. But in JWE 2 there are new parameters to take into account. Already, the birth of a dino is divided into two halves: synthesis and incubation.
In the first, we can modify the DNA of our future baby in order to choose its color, its genetic traits that can improve its stats (immune defense, longevity, etc.). Then, it will be necessary to choose one or more scientists to launch the synthesis, the latter being able to influence the success rate with their own statistics and passive skills.
Once the synthesization is complete, you will have in front of you a clutch that may contain several eggs. Here you have an overview of what will become of your dino and some of his stats that can influence his behavior or value. It is only after this step, once again choosing scientists to finish the task, that your reptiles will show the tip of their nose. And like in the first episode, it’s always a treat to see them come to life.
Already that JWE had set the bar very high in terms of animation, modeling and AI on dinos, Jurassic World Evolution 2 goes even further. Visually already, the software is beautiful, despite the sometimes coarse appearance of shadows when you hold the camera high, above the playing field. the zoom commands respect, it is even possible to take control of vehicles or attractions to put yourself in the shoes of a visitor, and to stick to the muzzle of the dinosaurs with a powerful photo mode, although few options. But where we can qualify the game as almost fantastic is in the behavioral management of animals.
We can see it clearly with Planet Zoo, Frontier loves details and Jurassic World Evolution 2 clearly benefits from this expertise. With a few hiccups of collision, the animation of the dinosaurs borders on perfection. Their skin deforms when they walk, the muscles take shape and it is even possible to see their abdomen move under the effect of breathing, great art. Their behavior is also of the highest caliber. Animals interact with each other in a natural way, sometimes fighting, rolling on the ground, sleeping, etc.. In addition, and this is not nothing, they now react to the presence of healers who return to their enclosure, unlike the first game. This will also be a concept that should not be neglected, otherwise your vehicles will be destroyed and your employees lost. Whether he is carnivorous or not, if a healer disturbs a dino, he will not hesitate to attack him until death ensues. Ah, and I didn’t mention it but obviously when your dinos escape, they systematically run the poor fellows in the alleys of the park, because of the panic or simply to eat them.
Frontier has gone to great lengths to open the doors to personalization.
We multiply everything by 2
Attention to detail from which absolutely all the species represented, and there are beautiful people. In total, these are no less than 79 dinosaurs that will be possible to put in your enclosure. We obviously find the iconic big mouths of the license such as the Indominous Rex, Indoraptor, Velociraptor, T-Rex or even Stegosaurus and Triceratops, but also many lesser-known subspecies. We also note the arrival of several flying dinosaurs such as the Pterodactyl or the Dimorphodon as well as a handful of aquatic monsters including the gigantic Mosasaur. Frankly, the bestiary is grandiose and generous.
A generosity that we also feel with almost a hundred constructible buildings, some even having tools to be personalized. Then, we are far from the power offered by a Planet Zoo or a Planet Coaster, but all the same. Frontier has gone to great lengths to open the doors to personalization. We now have several decorative objects planted in our park, and it is possible to change the theme and the colors of the buildings to give an identity to the park. We now expect more than one thing, a few more items and above all the possibility of deactivating the collision blocks to give free rein to our imagination, without having to rail because two items cannot be next to each other. the other.
Ultimately, the only things we could blame Jurassic World for is its tempo and its sometimes poorly managed system of random events. It’s very simple, the game is punctuated with various and varied problems (sick dinos, sabotage, bad weather, angry scientists, etc.) supposed to bring a little rhythm and difficulty. Except that often, everything is linked in a somewhat incredible way, forcing us to pause the game in order to be able to configure our actions. It’s not a bad thing on the one hand and management is all the more stressful, but when our resources are in free fall since we are forced to chain a series of repairs because of a tornado , that besides that our research is skidding because a scientist wants a vacation and a dino escapes eating our visitors, we do not know where to turn. Not to mention the many diseases that circulate between dinos, forcing us to do quarantine by airlift or medical research instead of being able to develop our attractions.
Conversely, sometimes it is dead calm for hours, without really knowing why. Clear, it often happens that the rhythm of the parts is a jagged hair, the thing is that when we do the challenges in Jurassic mode (the maximum difficulty) we sometimes end up in total chaos without too much valid reason, simply because of a combination of circumstances, and it’s Ian Malcolm who rubs his hands with it.