While I enjoyed the campaign, it was actually a little shorter than I expected, but it was an extremely effective tutorial and introduction to basic gameplay mechanics. If you’d like to read up more in-depth about the campaign experience, you can peruse the first part of our review. Next, after completing the Jurassic World Evolution 2 campaign, it was time to move on to the newest and (in my opinion) most attractive feature of the series sequel: Chaos Theory.
Chaos Theory is all about stretching your creative talons and seeing if you can succeed where your favorite characters failed. Booting up Jurassic World Evolution 2 instills a sense of nostalgia in me every time I hear the gentle menu screen music, but something just hit differently when I started my first game of Chaos Theory in Jurassic Park. You can choose any of the movies to experience, but I felt compelled to play where it all began.
Around the World
If you haven’t played Jurassic World Evolution before (or any park simulator for that matter) but you’re a fan of the movies, there’s a careful balancing act that you must perform; of course, all in the name of science. In Chaos Theory, your goal is to obtain fossils and extract the DNA of dinosaurs so that you can splice them with other modern-day animals in order to create harder, better, faster, and stronger animals. You can unlock new colorations and patterns through research and questionable combinations to concoct a flawless, money-making machine-er, I mean a scientific marvel. Yes, our goal is to create the strongest raptor hybrid possible, not sell selfies and dinosaur plushies. Focus, Emily. You have to have dinosaurs to make money, and you need to make money to hatch new dinosaurs.
Always Something New
Every map and game mode of Jurassic Park Evolution 2 brought something new and was always surprising me. Each time I unlocked a new building schematic or upgraded my enclosures, it was like experiencing a brand-new game again. While campaign mode was focused on the most recent story, I was pleasantly surprised when I moved onto Chaos Theory and Sandbox modes and got to dive more into the actual theme park aspects of the game. In these game modes, you unlock guest amenities, hotels, and attractions to build to generate income for your park.
While a little barebone at first glance, there’s a ton of customization available for the amenities and attractions of your park. Clicking on a restaurant or shopping center brings up a whole new menu that allows you to tweak the colors (there’s an RGB color wheel and custom swatches!), gorgeous decorations, and specific types of buildings you want to provide to the public. Personally, I’m a big fan of the thatched roofs and concrete walls of the original Jurassic Park trilogy and put them on everything from my hot chocolate shop to my arcade.
It’s the little details
While your customers are throwing their wallets at your Rex toy display, you can continue to work on enjoying all of your scientist’s hard work. Half of the fun of the game is experiencing your dinosaur enclosures while you wait for timed missions and research to complete. The sound design and attention to detail throughout the park really is stunning. Following around my star carnivore and watching their nuanced behaviors was at times kind of mesmerizing. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the dinosaurs rub their faces in dirt, cocking their heads to the side, calling each other, or taking a nap in the sun after swallowing their prey whole. There are even different sounds for specific movements like the loose flap of skin when they shake their heads. It’s just an overall fantastic design.
Can you hear me now?
At one point I was extremely confused when I kept hearing a cellphone ringing and couldn’t find the source. I thought maybe there was a mechanic I was missing, like a cellphone I needed to answer for a quest or objective. Oh no, if only it could have been that simple. I soon discovered that it was coming from my greedy carnotaurus Mickey who had escaped earlier and eaten a guest. While his camera and other unmentionables digested just fine, it seemed like Mickey was having a hard time digesting his phone. Once we transported Mickey to the hospital, I noticed that there were some lovely rainbows appearing in the antibacterial spray the robotic arms were misting over his body. It’s these little details that just made me absolutely fall in love with Jurassic World Evolution 2.
You can pause the game at any time, and I highly suggest doing so. With the screenshot feature, the ability to take direct control of capture and rescue vehicles, the viewing buildings for researchers and guests, and the automated park tours, there are just so many delightful ways to immerse yourself in the park you’ve created. Remember those automated tour jeeps from Jurassic Park? Once you’ve established a park route, you can hop into the driver or passenger seat and experience your park in the same way your customers do.
However, I’d highly suggest not sending out too many tours at once. Some dinosaurs are passive to guests, but others are far more hostile and don’t enjoy having their territory muddied up by cold, metal tracks and flash photography. And, I’m sorry, but as cool as the park tours are and how much work went into coding them, my favorite part has to be the classic Jurassic Park gate. Nothing beats that feeling of riding in a jeep through those tall, flame-lit doors at night.
But first, Chaos
After experiencing such a sudden burst of nostalgia, you might feel inclined to immediately jump into sandbox mode and go crazy with building the happiest place on earth for your dinos, only to realize that a majority of the buildings and dinosaurs genomes are locked behind Chaos Theory. While this is a spectacular way to add game time and longevity to the title (I’m going on 25 hours as of writing this article) it might feel a little daunting for players that just want to immediately jump into a more creative-based theme park mode.
I love everything about Chaos Theory, so it doesn’t feel like as much of a chore to me, but I can definitely understand and empathize where some players might look at a whole other game mode and feel that the task of unlocking all 80+ dinosaurs is both intimidating and daunting. In addition to unlocking those special dinosaurs, most of your cosmetic skins are only available in Sandbox mode. Chaos Theory takes place in very specific settings, so that makes sense, but it can feel a little disappointing when you don’t get to use them most of the time because you’re so focused on unlocking all of the features of Chaos Theory.
With all that being said, you’re probably wondering “is Jurassic World Evolution 2 worth the time, effort, and money?” To that, I ask you, do the dinosaurs always get out? I mean, I’m 25 hours into the game and still have less than 20 dinosaurs unlocked out of the 80+ that are available. There’s so much content for Jurassic World Evolution 2 that it can make your head spin. Sometimes it can feel repetitive, but the game itself is what you make of it. You can choose to automate most of your tasks, or, you can hop in the front seat yourself and drive into the raptor enclosure to medicate a sickly alpha.
Taking the time to name your dinosaurs and seeing them interact in their immersive enclosures creates a certain unmistakable bond that will have you yelling through your screen at your scaley children to get along. Losing your first dinosaur to a trial by combat is equally as emotional after you’ve invested so much time into their health and well-being. However, every new dinosaur you create is a chance to take a small mental break from park management. They each have different behaviors, sounds, and habits to observe, so take that time to zip around the enclosures and watch your dilos “Pinky” and “Brain” take a nap in the tall grass: they’re kind of cute when they’re asleep.
If you fancy yourself a blossoming park manager, you can purchase Jurassic World Evolution 2 now on Steam for $59.99.
A key was provided for the purpose of this review.