There is a certain charm that always reigns over everything else with the various LEGO games. You could seemingly apply the formula to any entertainment franchise and it would ultimately be entertaining to some degree. We’ve seen Star Wars, Batman, Indiana Jones, the Lord of the Rings, and now we are seeing Michael Crichton’s classic creation: Jurassic Park. The loveable charm is still there and the site of the game will surely put a smile on anyone’s face. However, the gameplay experience in this LEGO world will soon remind you that you have been here before.
Just like every LEGO-entry before it, LEGO Jurassic World takes the world of the Jurassic Park franchise and adds on that loveable, blocky coat of both humor and imagery. The world, for the most part, looks like and elaborate LEGO set that has been brought to life and the characters are often limited in what they can physically do thanks to their limited mobility as a result of their toy bodies. All four feature films are represented here, although you can attack them in an order that you wish. After two short, introductory missions you will arrive on the island and pretty much be given free reign. This open world approach, which was introduced in the LEGO Batman series, is a nice addition to the experience and helps alleviate the monotony of the game. It’s nice being able to go where you want, when you want.
What you will experience is sort of a CliffsNotes version of each film, broken down to highlight the important events of each one. Granted, they aren’t anywhere nearly as serious in nature as they were in the film. You won’t be seeing anyone dismembered or hurts here, it is all done in a slapstick manner. For example, the opening raptor scene is no longer about a park worker getting his arm ripped off while introducing the raptors to their new cage. Instead it is about the raptors trying to take his snack from him, which is a large sausage. It is a bit predictable to be honest, as you can see a lot of the jokes coming if you are familiar with both the films and Travelers’ Tales past work. It often feels like the devs are just going through the LEGO-motions, which in turns has you simply going through the motions of each stage.
Some of the levels do stand out more than others, such as the T-Rex chase seen, but most of them boil down to you simply finding necessary objects hidden around the world and solving simple puzzles to proceed to the next level, all while mindlessly farming every single LEGO bit that you can find. It is simple, mindless fun, that is much more enjoyable when you bring a friend along and play cooperatively. Although, it is still hard for me to understand why this franchise still remains offline only, as playing online with friends could make it a lot more enjoyable.
Once you beat a level, you can then go back and explore it more thoroughly in the free roaming mode. There are always lots of hidden bits, gold blocks, and minikits to be find to unlock additional vehicles and characters in the game. This isn’t anything new and works exactly as it has in every LEGO game before it. One of the saving graces of the experience is to discover all of the characters that have been included. There are tons to unlock and they aren’t only the key faces from the stories. You get to see a lot of minor characters too, like Mr. DNA, which is worth a good laugh in itself.
Visually, it looks great, truly like a giant LEGO play set that has come to life. All of the buildings and most of the vehicles are all blocky in nature and look like something that you could easily replicate if you had access to the right pieces. On the other hand, the sound of the game is a bit of a mixed bag. From a musical perspective, it sounds great thanks to John Williams’ classic score, however the almost constant playing of the theme song becomes very repetitive over time. For the characters, the game uses a variety of sound clips from each of the films for the character voices, which is the best of a bad situation. You can sort of tell that the original movie is 20 years old as the quality of those audio clips sounds a lot lower than that of the more modern films. I have always felt that the silent approach taken in the early games was part of the LEGO charm and something was lost when they started adding voice overs. However, if they are going to use voices, I am glad that the decided to use the original audio rather than hiring actors that sounded nothing like the source material.
There are a few technical problems that arise in the game such as characters getting stuck in the environment due to their limited mobility as well as a camera that doesn’t always position itself in the most helpful position. With the characters getting stuck, you simply switch to another character on the screen and let the computer get itself out of the rut. The camera on the other hand proves to be a little more problematic and is something you just have to learn to deal with. These are pretty easy to overlook in the long run, mainly because they are nothing new to this franchise. We’ve dealt with them before and honestly, I have come to sort of expect them in a LEGO game.
The biggest problem here is that the gameplay of this entry is exactly the same as it has been for the past decade. There isn’t a whole lot that separates the experience you will find in LEGO Jurassic World from what was experience in the original LEGO Star Wars game back in 2005. You break things, collect bits, and interact with objects in the world that are based on the traits of your character. This formula is really showing its age at this point. There are some very small attempts to make things feel a bit fresh, such as the use of the open world style of map and the introduction of large dinosaurs as playable characters. However, their “newness” is quickly over shadowed by the fact that you still have the same ultimate goal: collect all of the LEGO bits that you can.
The truth is, at this point, if you have played one LEGO game then you have pretty much played them all. I have always been a fan of the LEGO franchise and have loved how they have applied it to a variety of popular franchises and entertainment properties, however the gameplay itself has yet to evolve. If you didn’t like the games before, there isn’t anything here that is going to make you like it now. TT Games played it very safe in the creation of the game and pretty much approached it with the same formula that it has applied to every other LEGO game. This ride is becoming all too familiar and Travelers’ Tales needs to find some way to mix up the formula if they are going to continue moving forward with this franchise.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
Guess who's back!!! If you have been here before, you know the basics: lifelong gamer, father, and of course, former certified news monkey. I still consider myself all of those things, just maybe not in the grand scale that I once did. I’ve been blogging on the industry for more than decade now, in some form or another. It wasn't until I landed here at Gaming Nexus that I really dove in head first. Now, writing about games has become what I do for fun (and sometimes work) and something I intend on doing until the day I die (in some form or another).
I'm a huge fan of just about everything you can interact with using a controller, no matter how old or new, good or bad. If you put it in front of me, I will play it (at least once).