June 30, 2015

Lego Jurassic World: Review for PS Vita

Another Lego game, another classic movie series. Did they spare any expense here? Are there enough gameplay modes and movie references to keep you hooked? Hold on to your butts and read on. 

Now let's start this review off by saying that I am a pretty big fan of the original Jurassic Park. Lost World I saw once and promptly forgot it. I think I saw 3 twice just because I like William H Macy. And I suppose I'm one of the few who hasn't seen Jurassic World. But the theme music? Love it. Thanks John Williams. A few things as a fan of the original I was looking forward to were reliving some of my favorite scenes and having that theme boom around my ears as I played.

All the big scenes you remember are in there... just different. 
Lego Jurassic World for the Vita gives you the flavor of the movies, full with the music and dinosaurs, but in general I feel it was a bit flat in the adventure and while it included some scenes that you always think of, it kinds of leaves you feeling like you just missed something, or they left something out. Luckily, there is more to the game than the movie levels. There are a couple of dinosaur "paddocks" for you to explore as you unlock/craft dinos. (These are areas where you roam around as the different dino types, each with different skills).

Do you like to create dinos? You can mix and match dino DNA to splice new species to use in the paddocks. 
I suppose that goes with the "E" rating. The terror of the velociraptors and T Rex kind of goes away a little with this. After getting a platinum in this game (which took me about 10 hours) I realized I probably didn't die more than 3 times. You'd think that with velociraptors popping out at you, you'd be dead in a second. Well, Lego raptors are a little more forgiving. I suppose kids might appreciate this, but I'd like to have had to be more stealthy.

Stuff like this in the movie would end with someone's limbs lying around. Here, you can fend off a raptor by smashing the "X" button.
Nope, whenever a dino shot out at you, you just hammer on a button in a quick time event (QTE) to fend it off.

And I hope you like diving into big piles of dino poo, because a lot of key items are in them. Just cycle to Dr. Ellie Sattler or another poo diver skilled minifig and there you go.

Dive in, Doc. 
So let's get to the structure of the game. I believe the Vita version differs from the other types in that there is no main map. I flipped through some videos to see what I was missing, and that seemed to be the only difference. It is a nice thing. But it's ok without it, too. I guess if you don't know what you're missing, you'll not worry.

One of the places you can hit up in the main world hub. Yes, that is my platinum moment. Everyone is wearing a Hawaiian shirt thanks to "Nedry" mode. 
The game is split up into a cool hub system. You're in the lobby of Jurassic World and at the ground level are the 4 movie levels to get to. You initially have access to 1 and 4, but unlock the others with gained bricks. There's a DNA mixing level, for when you gain access to "Amber" within the levels to unlock specific dinos.

Upstairs is the Lego shop, available for buying minifigs, Red Bricks (with the standard stud multipliers and silly modes, like "Malcolm" or "Nedry" modes), and mini kits.

Here is also the medium and large dino paddocks. Come back here after you unlock some dinos to play with.

And how about the movie levels? There is a standard way these Lego games work nowadays. In each movie there are 3 main areas, and each chapter has 3 levels in it, with their own series of unlockables/challenges (True Survivor (a brick challenge), Red Bricks, Minikits, Amber blocks, and other level specific challenges).

Levels each have 5 challenges to hit up. Go back with other characters later to pick up the missing ones!
I started off with the Jurassic Park level. Just as in the movie you're at the Raptor Paddock unloading the unruly dino. You remember. The trees sway as the workers stand by with electro prods. I'm feeling good, I'm feeling the music and terror I know is coming. Remember? When they get the gate open and then that one worker gets yanked up and thrashed? "Shoot her! Shooooooot herrrr!"

Nope. The level ends before any dino does any damage. Movie moment one missed.

Hey, remember them feeding the raptors? They load up a cow and pop it into the cage and it gets THRASHED? Well, you spend the entire (short) level finding the cow, luring it out, hooking it up to a crane, and then bringing it over to the hungry dinos. AND the level ends before you can finish the task.

Movie moment 2 missed. Sigh.

The kitchen raptor scene is actually a fun and tense moment
I'm also starting to notice that there isn't a lot of action going on. A lot of menial tasks to do here. Feed this dino here. Sick triceratops here. Find whatever is making it sick by examining the poop and cure it (find bits around the level to do so).

And the T Rex chase scene? Sure, you knew they were going to do this one, too. There are MANY chase sequences that follow the same pattern. Run, roll, drive, etc. from your pursuer! Collect things as you run! And it's over in less than a minute. You'll be heading through them multiple times to collect all the hidden things, though, so the completionist is going to enjoy this game.

Drive away!

Run away!

Roll away!

On the plus side, you have 4 movies to go through (although I had forgotten almost EVERYTHING about The Lost World (part 2)). The locales are pretty, the framerate doesn't dip and everything stays smooth... but it just feels a little empty. I didn't have the sense of awe I was hoping to recapture here, but it is a Lego game after all.

Lots of different mini-games to keep you interested
A simple but interesting code breaking game
and some more types of timing puzzles. 
One thing that stood out to me was when they used actual audio tracks from the movies over the Lego action. Those tracks are OLD. I mean, 1993 old. So when Dr. Alan Grant comes on to drop one of his lines, there is a distinct "hiss" when the audio track plays. One thing I enjoy in a game is immersion. This yanks you right out of it. I think they would've been better off with the original Lego game model of no actual voices. Luckily, as Jurassic World starts up, Chris Pratt has seamless audio.

So what else do you expect from a Lego game? Lots of backtracking through levels with unlocked characters, each having new skills necessary to get to that one spot to complete that challenge. I actually found this to be a lot of fun. Characters have a paraglider for getting to those hard-to-reach places. Some can scream so loud they can break glass. Sometimes you just need to control a dinosaur to get through an area. There are a lot of different types of characters with diverse skills when you go back through in "free play" mode.

William H Macy at his finest. 
Steven Spielberg? Jimmy Fallon? Yup, you can be those guys. Even Mr. DNA from that cheesy video in Jurassic Park.

So who is going to play this game and like it? Kids will certainly enjoy the dino crafting and exploring through the paddocks (sort of a mini land just meant for exploring with dinosaurs). Adults who like the movies will appreciate most aspects of the game. If you're looking for a big action game with scary and dangerous dinosaurs, however, you might be a little let down by the lack of challenges. Yes, there are plenty of mini-game type sequences, lots of QTEs with dino fighting, and even chances to control the big old T. Rex, but it all feels a little distant and not immersive.

Verdict:
7.5/10

Another fun Lego romp with another franchise, plenty of movie throwbacks and one-liners you were hoping for, but may leave a big fan of the original movie feeling a little flat and wanting more. 

Great reproduction of classic characters
I played through the movie levels in about 6 hours and cleaned up the rest of the trophies for the platinum in about 10 hours. After this, there isn't much to do. My kids like to just create dinosaurs and tear stuff up, but I don't see myself visiting a level like "Feed the Velociraptors" again.

What about you, readers? Have you played it? Are you interested in another Lego game? 






 
                     
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