Jurassic World Evolution 2 lets you build, manage and run your very own Jurassic Park once more. It features appearances from iconic characters, flying and aquatic reptiles, and new challenges to face. Have these new features helped this sequel carve out a place of its own? In the grand scheme of things, no. The game feels like a near exact copy of the first one with a few lacklustre extras thrown in.
Read More: Jurassic World Evolution 2: Walkthrough Hub
JWE2 boasts a slew of new features, including partially customisable guest facilities and Gyrostations. Of those, the new updates to dinosaur behaviour absolutely stand out, breathing new life into the expanded roster of prehistoric reptiles. Other areas are less impactful, with many aspects of the game feeling lacking and even half-finished at times
Wait, it's Over?
When you see the words “Story Campaign” in a game, you’d assume it was the main mode out of all of the ones on offer. You would then reasonably believe that it would be filled with a storyline that you could invest yourself in for more than a few hours. Five missions into playing the Campaign Mode I found myself completely invested in helping the Department of Fish and Wildlife round up unruly dinosaurs. I was eager to find more, which is why I was caught off guard when the mode ended. It just ended. I could forgive Campaign Mode if there were obvious indicators of an ending happening but unless I missed something major, there weren’t any. Any of my previous enjoyment with this section had been reversed by the inexplicable and strangely abrupt ending.
After accepting my fate with Campaign Mode, moving on to Challenge Mode was thankfully a breath of fresh air. Challenge Mode gives you more freedom to build your own Jurassic Park-type theme park and I found it to be a delight for the first hour. After getting my first few dinosaurs and learning the ropes of running the park, something hit me like an extinction-level asteroid. I was feeling deja vu, the game was starting to feel exactly like the first one did. Laying out the correct fences, placing a gate on then powering it all up. It all felt like I had done this before, and the reason for that feeling was because I had indeed done it before, in Jurassic World Evolution. This being the second instalment of the franchise, I expected more options for designing and establishing my park. I would have settled for something as simple as being able to change the look of the fencing for an enclosure. Building facilities for my guests in the park felt similarly repetitive. Yes, I could alter some aspects of the buildings for guests but the premise remained the same. Build a building, lose money, guests hate it or love it, make money and the cycle continues.
The only major changes to be found were that you now get a separate team for the medical needs of the dinosaurs. You can now have more of a role in healing your sick or injured dinosaurs as you have a designated team that you can control. Also, you now need to scan, tranquilise and move dinosaurs with major injuries to be healed at the designated building. This separate facility meant that the distribution of tasks between staff teams became more balanced. Dinosaurs get sick or hurt a lot, so having a team dedicated solely to helping them freed up the Ranger Teams to deal with other tasks. However, If you choose to take a hands-on approach to caring for your dinosaurs then the extra steps do become frustrating after a while. This is because it often leads to unfair dinosaur deaths. Without these extra steps, having a separate medical facility for the dinosaurs would have been an almost perfect addition.
That brings me to the star point and the redeeming aspect of the game, the dinosaurs themselves. Their behaviour has definitely been improved because I could happily sit for hours watching my Carnotaurus twins going about their day. Natural animal behaviours are exhibited through how the dinosaurs interact with each other. For example, my Nasutoceratops would fight for dominance and the loser would shy away from the herd for a few days to avoid more conflict. This kind of behaviour made the dinosaurs seem more life-like and feel less like a static element of the game. It’s somewhat ironic that the dinosaurs are the saviours of my Jurassic Park.
On the surface Chaos Theory had all the markings of a genuinely entertaining mode, taking you back to iconic places and moments in Jurassic Park history. As a long-time fan of dinosaurs and Jurassic Park, this ignited my excitement again. I chose to play the Jurassic Park scenario and a wave of nostalgia hit me when I heard that iconic theme music when the map came into view. The premise of this particular scenario was that it was my job to get the park ready to open to the public as planned. I ended up doing very similar, if not exactly the same, tasks that I had done in Challenge Mode with only a few minor changes for the scenario to be classed as “Jurassic Park”. Ultimately, these brief jaunts into iconic scenarios suffered from the same repetition plaguing the other modes.
If you have the first game then I am seriously struggling to find persuasive reasons as to why you should spend your money on this one. I strongly believe that if all of the effort that was put into making the other modes had been put into further developing Challenge Mode, it could have been something spectacular. Instead, I’m left feeling like I played a half-finished idea that pulled heavily from the original game. If you’re new to the franchise then this is a good place to jump in, as there are a few quality of life updates to enjoy, as well as more expressive and reactive dinosaurs. If you’re a returning player however, I can’t recommend this sequel, as the minor updates don’t alter the gameplay enough for it to feel brand new.
Code provided by Publisher.
Reviewed on Xbox Series S.