Let’s take off those rose-tinted specs for a second.
John Hammond, inventor of the dino-riddled theme park, is either the most naive character ever created, or a sick and twisted menace who knew exactly what he was doing when inviting guests to get close and personal with a ravenous T-Rex.
Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t blame him for such evil doing, as – if Jurassic World Evolution is anything to go by – watching velociraptors chase down frazzled guests is an absolute hoot.
Welcome to Jurassic Park
Frontier Developments’ new business simulation fulfills all of our dreams by giving us full control of our very own Jurassic Park, simulating the experience as best as possible with a superb range of the monstrous lizards and more daring – and catastrophic – escapes than you’ll find on Prison Break.
And while there’s no doubt that the developers have purposely pulled nostalgia strings here, with John William’s iconic score and Jeff Goldblum’s excellent voice acting providing flashbacks to the ’90s, Evolution never feels dependant on such tactics – it’s very much capable of standing on its own two scaly feet.
If you’ve ever played the likes of Zoo Tycoon or, indeed, Jurassic Park’s own Operation Genesis back in 2003, you’ll know the deal here.
You build your own theme park, ensure all the critters are happily and safely secured in their enclosures and do all you can to keep your guests happy – which mostly means keeping their heads secured to their shoulders.
Although, just as John Hammond found out, it's never as simple as it sounds. Storms, sabotage and unhappy dinosaurs are all capable of destroying fences and letting your reptilian monsters run riot. Then you've got to call the chopper to get them sedated before lawyers rack up an eye-watering fine.
To make matters worse, you'll find yourself trapped in a three-way tug of war between the Science, Security and Entertainment departments, who all make conflicting requests. Satisfy them, and you'll unlock all sorts of goodies such as new dinosaurs and buildings. But upset them too often, and they'll go out of their way to make sure your Jurassic Park is a colossal failure.
Weather the storm
However, aside from the ability to tweak dinosaur genetics and the dynamic weather system that frequently wreaks havoc upon your park, there isn’t much here to help Evolution stand out from your average sandbox game.
It's not exactly a tough game either, despite the various challenges. Sure, a dinosaur will break out now and again, but it's fairly easy to generate a cashflow so great that a few million-dollar fines soon become more inconveinent than game-changing.
Performance issues are also problematic, as once you’ve built your park up to a certain size there’s a noticeable lag when roaming the map and flicking through menus. Dinosaurs often got trapped in trees or fences too, as I watched helplessly on as they slowly starved to death. Talk about soul crushing.
Jurassic World Evolution Verdict
Despite the barebones gameplay and technical issues, Jurassic World Evolution is still a wonderful experience.
Unlocking the 40-odd dinosaurs and developing the stature of your park is hugely addictive, while the thrill of seeing the likes of a Brachiosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex step out out into your park for the first time is as goosebump-raising as when you first watched Spielberg's Jurassic Park in the cinema.
Strategy enthusiasts won't find a lot of love here, but if you're after a relaxing park simulator - or for a platform to unleash your inner evil villain - then there is no better haven than Jurassic World.