Jurassic World Evolution 2: Not a Child’s Play
These dinosaurs are irrational, man.
The dinosaurs should have died.
That’s what I told myself – or shouted out loud in my office – during the most difficult parts of Jurassic World Evolution 2. These prehistoric creatures are no longer allowed to exist on our planet, and I do not. am not sure if I have the right to fight nature with my strategically placed pond, my guest route, my attractions and my boba store. As Dr Ian Malcom said in Jurassic Park, “Life, uh, finds a way.” Building my dinosaur zoo in Jurassic World Evolution 2 was like conquering millions of years of history.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 is the sequel to last year’s fantastic park simulator. If you played the Dinosaur Expansion Pack for Zoo Tycoon back then, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. However, for the uninitiated, Jurassic World Evolution 2 lets you create your own Jurassic Park (or Jurassic Worlds, if you prefer sequels). It’s a fascinating simulation game: turn fossils into living creatures, make your employees happy for not having Dennis Nedry’d, and place this t-shirt store right next to the velociraptors. While punitive and possibly erratic, the game shines in allowing players to take over movie parks and see how they would deal with things differently.
While the campaign in Jurassic World Evolution 2 is clunky and mostly feels like a glorified tutorial, the real action of the game takes place in the new Chaos Theory mode. This mode challenges players to correct past mistakes. You’re tasked with creating Jurassic Park within its setting and Spielberg period, without using gyrospheres or other post-90s tech allowed by other game modes. However, where park creator John Hammond failed in the movie you have to be successful. Quests will be offered to you, but you are especially free to complete them as you wish, while setting up your park as you wish. Chaos Theory modes are available for each of the five Jurassic Park and World films, transporting you from Isla Nublar to San Diego and back.
In order to keep my fleet running smoothly in Jurassic World Evolution 2, I discovered that I had to micromanage a lot. Like in the original game, I have to create pens and meet the environmental needs of each dinosaur. If I want two different species of dinosaurs to coexist in one enclosure, I’ll have to use magic to make sure they both get what they need without getting in the way of each other. I have to heal them when they are sick, transport them when they are dead, create replacement dinosaurs, research new ones, extract fossils, manage the electricity grid, install toilets throughout the park, etc. It can be overwhelming, especially when Mother Nature is on your side.
If that sounds complicated, wait until things go wrong. One of Jurassic World Evolution 2’s new exhibits is all about aquatic dinosaurs, and I ran into some issues along the way while designing my prehistoric aquarium. My scientists weren’t smart enough to investigate an aquatic dinosaur, and they weren’t skilled enough to dig up fossils. The dinosaur was too expensive to build, so I had to sit down and wait for my park to make more money so I could afford this exciting new venture. A big storm forced me to evacuate guests and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on repairs just as I hit my cash flow goal.
However, these agonizing setbacks made the success all the sweeter. I was satisfied when I finally created my perfect lagoon and saw the prehistoric giant shark leap out of the water to eat a modern shark with a hook. The trip there was heinous and frustrating, but the payoff was exactly what I wanted. And the visitors to my park loved it.
That’s what Jurassic World Evolution 2 is good at. When something goes wrong, everything seems to fall apart, just like in the movies. Unfortunate events always seem to happen when you’re most vulnerable, like when all of my original dinosaurs died of old age while I was saving for the Indominus Rex, the park’s main attraction. It can look like rotating plates, attracting swarms of families to the park. But the transformation of my park from a two-star to a five-star was planned. In every store and exhibit, I could see the hard work – my hard work.
You can always build your park in sandbox mode if you don’t want to see your hard work destroyed or have to balance a checkbook. But, in my opinion, it would detract from what I loved so much about Jurassic World Evolution 2. This game shows why every Jurassic Park movie since 1993 has failed. Because these dinosaurs are irrational, man. They are difficult to deal with because they come from another time and maybe another planet. In each film, a small mistake, a bad location, destroyed these parks. And if you’re not careful, the same could happen to you.
The message from the movies is that you can’t control nature, but Jurassic World Evolution 2 responds, “We’ll let you try anyway.” And I have been successful several times in almost 20 hours with this park builder. In Jurassic World Evolution 2, I was able to atone for my past sins by rounding up roaming dinosaurs and creating one of the most famous movie sets in history. And it allowed me to do things my way while still making me feel like I had succeeded where others had failed.