If you were to ask me what the key to a game’s success was, my first reply would be “Dinosaurs”. Honestly, how can you go wrong? In my professional opinion, merely adding a sprinkling of those amazing denizens from the mid-to-late Mesozoic Era would make your game infinitely better. I could be biased though, since I grew up on a steady diet of dinosaur factoids – fuelled by an unhealthy fixation with Dino Riders, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs (from the local arcade) and other dinosaur memorabilia.
It might also explain why my review of Travellers’ Tales’ (TT Games) latest LEGO title, LEGO Jurassic World will be less scathing than it could be (or perhaps should be). After all, if you’ve played one LEGO game, you’ve essentially played them all. The general formula for all the LEGO games have remained unchanged since they first appeared on our consoles and PCs. Take any popular franchise, convert the characters and environments into LEGO Minifigures or LEGO bricks, throw in destructible elements that explode into collectibles and make a sizeable profit.
Of course, we don’t really play the LEGO games for their gameplay or stories, but rather because the games are “companion titles” to our favourite and beloved franchise obsessions. The reason I enjoyed LEGO Jurassic World has very little to do with the gameplay, but rather that it tickles my dinosaur and Jurassic Park obsession (be they LEGOfied or otherwise).
I was surprised to discover that despite the game’s title, LEGO Jurassic World covers all four of the Jurassic Park movies (even the terrible third movie). What this means is that the game features all the major characters from the movies, as well as a few surprises that you can unlock (like Steven Spielberg and Jimmy Fallon). Various characters have different abilities, from Alan Grant (from the first Jurassic Park) who can build items out of fossil bones or use a spade to dig up items, to Claire Dearing (from the recent addition to the franchise) who can use a scanner to find LEGO objects.
It’s also possible to unlock and use different dinosaur characters, from the ever popular Velociraptors to the tiny cat-sized Compsognathus. You can also unleash your inner Dr. Wu and customise unlocked dinosaurs by swapping out their body parts and changing their colours. This feature comes in handy when you’re looking for hidden collectibles, because you can change the abilities of your dinosaurs by altering them physically. For instance, do you need something smaller that can run up a pipe but still roar like a Tyrannosaurus Rex?
Why not give a Compsognathus a T-rex head or do you need a dinosaur with a “hard head” to help you out? What about a Velociraptor with a Triceratops head? Did I mention you can tower over everyone as a Brachiosaurus? No? Well, now you know. You can even swim like a Mosasaur or fly like one of the pterosaurs. The fact that you can play as a dinosaur, a plesiosaur or a pterosaur may seem like a very small addition to the game, but it’s actually an excellent one. It left me with saucer eyes and nostalgic memories of my childhood.
Despite all of that, LEGO Jurassic World is a fairly average LEGO game. I found it to be remarkably short, which is surprising since it covers four films. Although, to Travelers’ Tales’ defence, the third movie wasn’t just terrible, it was severely deficient in content and plot. I should probably congratulate the developers for squeezing out a decent section out of that monstrosity.
If you were wondering how the game makes use of the four movies, each movie forms its own hub world. Once, you complete story mode (for each of the hubs), the hub world opens up and allows you to explore it as an open-world. You can redo story chapters (to find Amber bricks or minikits), or hunt collectibles in the open-world, in the form of the infamous red bricks and additional yellow brick collectibles.
LEGO Jurassic World shines brightly where it comes to funny cutscenes, and for the most part it is a pleasure to play. However, the game features a number of unacceptable annoyances. There is nothing more infuriating than a maverick camera. I can understand that it would be problematic in split-screen mode, but there are times when you’re left battling the game’s camera – rather than enjoying the game. Another major annoyance is the sound quality.
The quality of some of the dialogue (lifted straight from the movies) is atrocious. Lines from the first Jurassic Park sound as if they were recorded underwater. I can forgive the occasional game bug, objects not appearing or the occasional screen tearing, but the sound quality was almost a deal breaker, and it doesn’t help that the volume on some of the dialogue is inconsistent as well.
In all honesty, I enjoyed my time with LEGO Jurassic World. It allowed me to play with dinosaurs and experience two of my favourite movies in a completely different way. As a movie tie-in, LEGO Jurassic World does a pretty good job.
Last Updated: July 15, 2015