Having only been a backseat gamer to my other half’s playthrough of Jurassic World Evolution, I thought it might be good a good idea to settle in and learn the basics of Jurassic World Evolution 2 through the campaign story. With that being said, you actually have to play the campaign if you want to unlock more dinosaurs and structures for your exhibits.
Curiously enough, Jurassic World Evolution 2 picks up where the last Jurassic World movie left off. Dinosaurs are now a natural part of our world due to migration and back-alley trading. Everyone wants to get in on a piece of the genetically mutated monster pie, whether it be for science, profit, or warfare, and it’s up to us and some familiar faces to ensure that dinosaurs and humans can learn to coexist.
While it’s a little slow starting off, the campaign does do a fantastic job of introducing you to the game mechanics. There are some necessities you’ll need to have to establish new dinosaur facilities in the wild: an arrival point with helicopters for visitors, a paleohospital to treat potential outbreaks, a response facility for monitoring exhibits, a control point for management, and a staff center to hire more researchers. Oh, and the most important thing – new enclosures for your dinosaurs!
If you aren’t creating mouse ear-shaped enclosures and naming your carnotauruses “Mickey” and “Minnie”, I don’t know what to tell you – you’re playing Jurassic World Evolution 2 wrong. Why wouldn’t you model your park after the happiest place on earth? Stumbling upon the ability to customize the shapes of my enclosures was both a blessing and a curse. One you start making them, it’s honestly kind of impossible to stop. Suddenly, all carnivores lived in Mickey Mouse’s ears, while my veggie darlings slumbered in more angular territories. This park was just a singular stage of the campaign. A few hours into Pennsylvania and I realized I probably needed to move on to other states. I put far too much love into that little facility, but it’s hard not to when you have so many fun tools at your disposal.
One of the biggest draws of Jurassic World Evolution 2 is the introduction of flying and marine dinosaurs to players’ parks, and so far, they do not disappoint. While I haven’t quite unlocked the marine leviathans (coming up soon in part 2 of this review!) the flappy birds are a delight to care for. Jurassic World Evolution 2 gives players beautifully designed domes for the flying creatures that can be linked up to create aesthetically pleasing enclosures while still maintaining that famed “Jurassic Park security system”. I say this because none of my dino-birds have attempted to break out of their domes. Yet.
As you progress through the campaign, you’ll also stumble across some other familiar voices like Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum returns!) as he attempts to reason with the park executives about the dangers of maintaining such parks. While it initially began as a large research facility to take care of dinosaurs and learn how to co-exist with them, all major facilities need money to function and of course, executives and backers start to see the opportunity for more monetary gain.
It hits home even harder when you must manage the “asset rating” of the park, which can go down if tourists and researchers don’t have a clear view of the dinosaurs in their enclosures. Thus begins the balancing act of trying to give the dinosaurs a comfortable enclosure while also keeping your staff and customers happy. I could fill an enclosure of raptors full of lush trees and they would be just as happy, but the viewing galleries suffered tremendously. It becomes very apparent even in the earlier stages of the game that this won’t end well.
Keeping your park inhabitants’ content isn’t the only thing you have to worry about though, as there are severe environmental dangers to be concerned about like tornados and tropical storms. Luckily, your scientists can research more upgrades to the facility like storm protection for various buildings, but the same can’t be applied to your enclosures. You had better hope that you managed to get all your park visitors and researchers into emergency shelters in time because once that tornado busts up Mickey and Minnie’s pen, you might as well just put down an all-you-can eat buffet sign at the arrival point. It is the happiest place on earth, after all. Just maybe more so for my dinosaurs than the visitors.
Coming up in the next and final part of our review, we’ll have more insight into preparing enclosures for marine dinosaurs, genetic modification, and sandbox mode! Sandbox mode really is like an entirely different game since you have access to so many more decorative and theme-park-related features right out the gate, so we’re thrilled to see what we can do with those assets. I also just learned that you can press Shift + C to take some incredible screenshots…so expect some dynamic shots of my dinosaurs being lazy next time. If you like what you see so far, make sure to head on over to Steam to pre-order your copy of Jurassic World Evolution 2 before it launches on Tuesday, November 9th! You can grab some nifty skins of your ranger jeeps and helicopters that are inspired by 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
“And now I’m sitting here, by myself, talking to myself. That’s chaos theory.” – Dr. Ian Malcolm