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Jurassic World Evolution PC review: Spectacularly mundane park management

The concept is great, but the execution falls short of expectations.

Ah, Jurassic Park. A franchise many people, young and old, consider being one of entertainment's finest. When I saw that a park management title was coming out for this iconic film series, I was very excited. Sadly, once I got my hands on the game, it became apparent just how vapid and bland it was. Between the lack of variety, the absence of meaningful progression systems, and more, your best bet would be to not endorse this park.

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Gameplay: Nostalgia only goes so far

In Jurassic World Evolution, you play the role of a park manager for a dinosaur exhibit project on a collection of islands. Opening with a sweeping shot of the lush landscape, with some charming dialogue from Dr. Ian Malcolm himself (voiced by the one and only Jeff Goldblum), Evolution immediately makes you feel like you're part of the Jurassic Park universe. Once you get control, it's time to start building and managing your park.

Initially, the game feels good and is engaging. Whether you're helping out the various divisions of your staff or researching and creating your dinosaurs, there's plenty to do. The most fun I had throughout my entire time with Evolution was when I carefully designed areas for my dinosaurs to roam through, then watched them interact with their surroundings and each other in interesting ways. This keeps them happy, and as a result makes your park more money, which allows you to expand.

Once you run out of space on your starting island, it's time to start building the rest of the park on the other ones nearby. This is where the game falls flat. Unlike many other business simulators that offer deep upgrades and a plethora of unlocks for late game progression, Evolution essentially asks you to build the same things over and over again on all of the other islands. You will see everything the game has to offer after only a day of playing, and that's unacceptable.

It's also disappointing that you can't creatively try and devastate your facility with your creations. Part of what made Jurassic Park so awesome was seeing the chaos and destruction that these prehistoric predators could cause, yet in Evolution, breakouts are easily contained by even the most basic security measures. I get that it's a business management game at its core, but it's still a missed opportunity.

Presentation: At least it looks pretty

While Evolution's gameplay leaves plenty to be desired, the game at least looks fantastic. Textures are clean and crisp, and colors are bright and vibrant. It is worth noting, however, that there's very little variety in the in-game environments. This is unfortunate, as it would be cool to see how dinosaurs react to living in different types of locations (snowy, desert). However, it's a minor issue.

The only drawback to this is how staring at your park will not provide much excitement, which is a real shame.

Jurassic World Evolution PC conclusion

While Jurassic World Evolution has a great concept, it fails to achieve anything close to greatness once you get past the first day of gameplay. Excellent graphics and nostalgic euphoria can only carry a product so far.

Pros:

  • Strong gameplay concept.
  • Solid presentation.

Cons:

  • Terrible late game progression.
  • Poor variety all around.

Jurassic World Evolution is currently $54.99 on Steam. Much like Planet Coaster, Frontier Developments offers a gorgeous visual experience but little to keep you occupied once you get familiar with mechanics, though it's far more apparent here than managing a theme park.

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This review was conducted on a PC powered by Intel Core i7-8700K, GeForce 1050Ti, and 16 GB RAM using a copy provided by the publisher.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

7 Comments
  • "though it's far more apparent here than managing a theme park" The sad thing is both Planet Coaster and Jurassic World Evolution are about managing a theme park. Just JWE has too much of a focus on the dinosaurs. It could just be a game about incubating dinosaurs ready to send off to a park. It needs a greater variety of attractions for guests, and ways to decorate the park.
  • So wait for a deep discount. Got it.
  • This so saddens me, I love planet coaster. 😭. Was very tempted to get it, but looking at the reviews on steam they are very mixed and the negatives seem to outway the positives atm. Do wish they supported Xbox play anywhere though 🤔
  • Damn good thing I didn't buy.
  • I'll be honest, I though Planet Coaster was a brilliant theme park game. The best of this generation, by a considerable margin. No other game allowed that level of fluidity, customization, and just sheer aesthetic. Planet Coaster looked great, played great, and was a joy to play if you enjoyed spending hours building the perfect theme park. To an extent, I agree with this review about Evolution. But I also feel like it was never given a chance. It may not be worth paying full price for, but from what I've seen, it seems like an incredibly well made game, with great attention to detail. It's not as in-depth as Planet Coaster, but I certainly don't think it deserves 2.5 out of 5. This isn't a game for everyone...but what game is? I know people who have already sunk far too many hours into this game (the same people who sunk hundreds of hours into Planet Coaster).
  • I love it!!!
  • This seems like a massive step down from Planet Coaster.