LEGO Jurassic World Review

LEGO JW

 

Title: LEGO Jurassic World
Developer: Traveler’s Tales, TT Games
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 1.5 GB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download | Retail

EU Availability: Digital Download | Retail
PSTV Support: Yes

Handhelds and LEGO games have always been an interesting mix, and one that I love to play and write about.  Over the course of the past 18 months, I have written reviews for nearly a dozen LEGO games that are playable on the PS Vita, and most of which are also playable on the PlayStation TV.  You could say I am a fanatic of sorts, when it comes to LEGO games.

Over that 18 months, I have seen a lot of changes in the handheld games in the series.  It’s gone from full console experiences with entire levels missing to isometric games with basic and simple gameplay to games that much more closely resemble console games.  I have enjoyed every one of them, but they all have their share of faults, especially in the rest of the gaming community.

With the release of a new LEGO title only a few days ago brings forth another experience and another LEGO review to the site.  Based on the new movie and its entire series, here is my official review of LEGO Jurassic World!

Story

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LEGO Jurassic World takes place throughout the entire Jurassic Park series.  The game showcases key points of the stories of the following movies: Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, and Jurassic World.  The story is based on a series of events on various islands where scientists have genetically engineered and revived dinosaurs like Velociraptors, Pteranodons, and even the mighty T-Rex into a theme park and the chaos that ensues after.

The story holds more of a footnote perspective on the movies than a full and huge bit of storytelling, much like LEGO games are known for.  There are a few different chapters for each movie and they show many of the most major scenes, from the jeep chase in Jurassic Park to the San Diego Rampage in The Lost World.

The storytelling is done in a very good way with the comedy the LEGO series is known for.  If you’re a fan of the movies, the game will have you rolling from all of the comedy they’ve thrown in from dinosaur movements to NPC dialogue in each level.

Gameplay

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Like the previous games in the series, LEGO Jurassic World is a beat em up action game with puzzle elements.  The main difference here being that this game emphasizes much more on puzzle elements and there are less areas where you’re constantly fighting through enemy mobs to get from one end of the stage to the other.  In essence, it’s more of a platform-based puzzle game with combat elements than the other way around.

The biggest difference between Jurassic World and the previous LEGO titles is that it is much more story oriented as well as more puzzle oriented.  When you’re playing through the stages, you will almost never stop having story content thrown at you.  There are CG scenes to set up story, but you also act out the story yourself, as you go through each stage.  There is scene dialogue from the movies as you go through the stage as well as a lot of NPCs all over the place, giving little tidbits of information and comedy as you go through.  Ninjago Shadow of Ronin had some of this, but not nearly as much as is present here.

There are two kinds of stages in the game.  There are on-foot levels where you’re running around, solving puzzles, and defeating enemies.  There are also the running/driving stages where you’re running through an area, normally from dinosaurs that are chasing you, avoiding obstacles and collecting the stud currency or other items as you try to get away.

When you’re in each stage, you will have a party of characters progressing through the stage to get from point A to Point B or to fight a boss at the end of the stage.  Each character has specific abilities required for the puzzle-solving, such as Ellie Sattler jumping into droppings to find key items or food to heal dinosaurs or Alan Grant’s ability to dig up items to use for various machines.

Each stage also has challenges to complete to unlock new characters and game modes, such as collecting a certain number of studs in a stage or finding hidden items like Amber Bricks or Fossil pieces that will contribute to viewing Dinosaur holograms in the main hub world.

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The hub worlds also progress like stages do.  You have 5 hub worlds.  One is the innovation center where you can go to the shop to buy new characters and extras as well as the Medium and Large Dinosaur Paddocks for playing as dinosaurs and participating in mini-games like a shooting range.  This is also where you can create your own genetically enhanced dinosaur character and choose to go into one of the hub worlds for the four movies.

Each movie hub world will progress and open up as you complete stages.  You will be able to move into stages, but you’ll also need to complete tasks in each hub world to unlock new sets of stages, like creating bridges across rivers or retrieving the goat to feed a certain dinosaur in the storyline.

As far as the game’s content, there is good news and there is bad news.  The good news is that all of the stages in LEGO Jurassic World for PS Vita play out exactly the same as they do on PS3 and PS4.  No isometric perspective.  No simplified gameplay.  The bad news is not all of the content is here.  Upon researching videos of the console version, I found that many levels in the Vita version had level sections cut from the handheld release.  This is likely why the game is so much cheaper on handhelds than on consoles.  Much of the content is there, but not all of it.

Overall, the game has 12 Chapters over all 4 movies and contains 36 different levels to go through.  Since each level takes an average of 4-7 minutes to complete, the game is only a few hours long, making LEGO Jurassic World one of the shortest LEGO games on the Vita to date.  You can go back after you beat the game to collect hidden items and utilize the Dinosaur Paddock game modes, but there’s not a huge amount of content past that.

Controls

Controls for the game are pretty standard for a LEGO title.  The touch screen be be used for pretty much everything, but buttons can as well.  There is one type of puzzle that requires the touch screen, but that is only in the Jurassic World chapters of the game and is just a puzzle interface as opposed to movement and combat.  There are areas where the touch screen is helpful, like throwing flares in the driving stages, but overall, the game is more comfortable with button controls.  Because of this, you will have to use the makeshift touch controls for those puzzles on the PlayStation TV.

Controlling your character is done with the Left Analog Stick or the D-Pad.  Since the camera automatically moves for you, the Right Analog Stick doesn’t do anything.  The L and R triggers can be used for swapping out characters from party members not currently on the screen.  The rest is done with the face buttons.  You use X to jump and Square to attack.  Triangle is used to switch the currently-selected characters and Circle is used to interact with objects.  All in all, it’s pretty simple and the game does well at explaining how everything works.

Presentation

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The presentation is definitely one of the high points of the game.  Visually, the game looks very good.  The character models aren’t as flawless as they are in the CG scenes, but everything is detailed and there are very few jagged edges to be seen on each model.

The way the game plays is also something that is mostly good.  The loading sequences never last more than 6 or 7 seconds, so you don’t have to worry about large and long waits for a new stage to load.  The only thing to note is that in a couple stages, the frame-rate drops a bit, particularly in the T-Rex Paddock level from the Jurassic Park section.  Every time I go into that section, it plays a little slower than the rest of the game.  Nothing unplayable, but it’s definitely noticeable.

Summary

LEGO Jurassic World is the newest LEGO game on the Vita and plays just like the console game.  On the downside, the game had level sections cut from the handheld release, there are some minor frame-rate issues in some stages, and the game is only a few hours long.  If you don’t mind the content that was cut, this is still a fun console-like experience for the handheld LEGO and Jurassic Park fan. 

7/10

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