Jurassic Park: The Game
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Release Dates: November 15, 2011 (EU & NA)
Price: 11£ (Amazon)
As any Jurassic Park fan out there, you would want a video game adaptation to be great, unique and beautiful and take you on a wonderful journey that will remind you of the excellent movies, but stand out on its own as a different experience at the same time and Jurassic Park: The Game aims exactly for that as the story takes place during and after the plot of the first film, following a different cast of characters that will eventually encounter the same dinosaur outbreak, a moment when the beautiful Jurassic Park tour will end and the true run for survival will begin. Instead of focusing on the story of one character, the game tries to tell a wide-view story from the perspective of multiple characters that you will play with along the game and that is probably Jurassic Park: The Game's biggest plot problem, as it never manages to get personal with a character or another, constantly passing the relay baton to another character in order to move the action there, only to return to the characters you were previously playing with half an hour later and find up what they've been up to while you were doing something else entirely with a different cast of characters, which wouldn't be bad if there were only two or three characters that were separated one from another, but instead you're stuck with groups of those characters and by the end of the game you will play as each one of them, making it hard to follow a personal plot for one of those characters.
Leaving that issue aside, the overall story is still interesting to follow and it will constantly make you wonder what will happen next to each one of the characters, but you will never feel sad whenever one of them dies cause you never actually got the chance to get attached to them. This is a Jurassic Park game so the main attraction comes in the form of dinosaurs and seeing them unleashed in a world where anything can happen at any time; combining that with the story that an interesting thing to follow even with all its flaws, Jurassic Park: The Game manages to deliver an atmosphere that will ultimately captivate you and make you want more out of it.
As interesting as the plot is, the gameplay experience is plain and simple boring, as the only thing you have to do is press sequences of buttons in order to advance, but unlike other Telltale games such as The Walking Dead where those button pressing sequences feel natural and are more complex, here for most of the time you will have to match a certain sequence of up-down-right-left keys, and while sometimes pressing the wrong button once will only have a small impact on how the action unfolds, in the more action-packed scenes, especially later on in the game pressing the wrong button once will lead to your imminent death; the game will automatically reduce the amount of buttons you have to press in a sequence if you die for a couple of times in a row, but even so considering the fact that those button presses feel by no mean natural or deductible, you will die a lot of times and by the time you get to memorize the order of those buttons the game will already lower the number of buttons you have to press. As this wasn't bad enough, you also have to time your actions which will probably lead to even more deaths: press the button too late, you die; press the button too early, you still die.
This isn't a fatal issue as you will eventually get by in just a couple of minutes, but all those unneeded deaths will only distract you from the natural flow of the story and even if you do manage to somehow get by without dying that often, the overall boring concept will still be there. Aside from those button mashing moments you still have the traditional Telltale conversations, but unlike other titles such as The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us where the things you say during a dialogue and the decisions you take will affect the upcoming events, in Jurassic Park: The Game those conversations serve only as a barrier between one action sequence and the next one, as well as an opportunity to find out more about the characters, but you never feel like an actual part of the conversation, as you will only hear stories or suggestions from the characters in the group that you are currently controlling without having an actual impact on what they're saying on what they're about to do next.
Jurassic Park: The Game feels outdated and that's probably the first thing you will notice when you start up the game and realize that it came out in 2011; the engine is simply not powerful enough to keep up with other major blockbusters that came out in the same year and the environments are dull, with a design that leaves much to be desired as there are little details to fill up the spaces between your characters and your major objects of interest. The animations are clunky and the lip sync is way off at times, but on the other hand the character models are nice and the dinosaurs look amazing, and even if you're not into this game that much seeing a T-Rex modelled that nice is certainly something to look forward to.
The cast includes names such as Jon Curry in the role of Gerry Harding, Susan Cash as Dr. Laura Sorkin and Nika Futterman as Nima Cruz, and while each one of the voice actors delivers their lines well enough, except for some minor characters, the cast isn't nearly as strong as the one from The Walking Dead or Sam & Max. The overall audio quality is decent, and hearing some of those dinosaurs roar is without doubt a one of a kind experience, but some other effects such as gun shots feel unrealistic. The soundtrack is decent and it does its job for most of the time, but it's not a thing that you'll remember afterwards.
In the end, the entire game will take around 6-7 hours of your time to finish, and afterwards you may return to improve your score, but unless you plan to memorize all those button pressing sequences you probably won't get much enjoyment with that. Aside from that there is nothing else to keep you around, so Jurassic Park: The Game becomes just another one of those one time only titles that you will probably never visit again unless you wanna show it to someone else.
Jurassic Park: The Game had a lot going on for it, but the most notable thing about this is that it is not actually a game since the gameplay experience is more annoying than pleasant, but if you're in it for the story and the beautiful dinosaur filled universe created around the island, you are in for a treat, as for everything else there's no fix to the outdated graphics, boring gameplay and the lack of additional content.