For an entire decade now, the LEGO games have created a highly charming, enduring formula that blends them with the best and most beloved pop culture brands, particularly those from the blockbuster movie realm. After LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Indiana Jones, LEGO Harry Potter and LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean entertained many in the gaming space, it seemed sort of odd that a LEGO game inspired by Steven Spielberg’s highly beloved Jurassic Park franchise wasn’t made sooner, considering that there’s already tons of real-world LEGO sets and kits inspired by scenes and characters from the Jurassic Park movies.
Well, given the massive blockbuster movie release of Jurassic World this year, which has since gone on to become 2015’s highest-grossing movie at this point, it seemed that the time was finally right to marry the dino survival franchise with those lovable LEGO bricks, and thus, we have LEGO Jurassic World! Despite the name taking after the latest movie in the franchise specifically however, the game actually LEGO-izes all four movies in the franchise, so you’ll get brick-converted, humourous re-tellings of Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III as well.
Now, if you feel that you know what to expect with each successive LEGO game release from Warner Bros. and TT Games, then you’re still correct here. LEGO Jurassic World remains lovable, accessible comfort food that doesn’t provide much of a challenge, and removes just about all of the intensity that the quadrilogy of Jurassic Park movies are famous for, even the weaker ones. Likewise, the same stubborn flaws from almost all of the LEGO games are yet again maintained, from the complete lack of online capability in the co-op, to the pushover difficulty level.
That said however, the high points of the LEGO games are still maintained as well. LEGO Jurassic World has as much colourful charm and humour in the presentation as TT Games’ LEGO game offerings to come before it, and it remains a great game to enjoy for both casual gamers and children, or even just as a relaxing light play session for more devout gamers who simply love the Jurassic Park franchise. It’s still true that if you’ve played one LEGO game, you’ve played them all here, but all the same, if you’ve enjoyed the LEGO games, then you’ll continue to enjoy LEGO Jurassic World.
As with the gameplay, you no doubt know what to expect from LEGO Jurassic World’s visual presentation at this point, if you’ve played any other LEGO game to date. The LEGO character models and LEGO brick-laden environments capture the essence of the movie landscapes well, and are very appealing to look at for LEGO enthusiasts especially, even if none of them really push the many platforms the game is on to new heights, even with the last-gen incarnations.
Naturally, you’ll get a bit of added detail and sharpness if you play on PS4, Xbox One or PC/Mac, with these versions all delivering native 1080p resolution, and running at a reliable 30fps clip. The PC/Mac versions formerly suffered from loading bugs and crashes to a heavier degree, but these stability issues seem to have since been patched out for the most part, even if the Mac version is still very, very picky about which graphics cards it does and doesn’t support, a problem that doesn’t seem to exist on PC, where system requirements are especially modest for even optimal settings. Even then though, you may still run into a few visual bugs, and potentially even crashes, which seem to be rare hiccups in any given LEGO game on any platform, though in the case of LEGO Jurassic World, they seem to happen most rarely on PS4. The Xbox One version stutters on very rare occasions, even after patches, and you may encounter a hard freeze once or twice on Microsoft’s current-gen console, but for the most part, the Xbox One version looks and runs just fine, and mostly stands alongside the visual fidelity and performance of its PS4 counterpart.
The Wii U version however is more disappointing in terms of the visuals, particularly since it frustratingly caps at 720p resolution for no discernable reason, putting it more in line with the last-gen Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game, rather than the current-gen PS4 and Xbox One versions. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions mostly look the same as their current-gen counterparts on PS4 and Xbox One, with merely a slight downgrade in model and environmental detail being the only compromises, particularly since the Xbox 360 and PS3 builds predictably cap at 720p resolution themselves. The Wii U version has a very slight visual leg-up over the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, having just barely more detail in things like environmental textures, if you squint, though it matters little when the Wii U version seems to have the least stable framerate, and is the most prone to stuttering, freezing and crashing, even now. You do get the advantage of off-TV play on the Wii U Gamepad Screen with the Wii U version, and the asymmetric screen approach makes co-op most appealing on Nintendo’s console, but that’s about the only satisfying visual flourish in this build of the game.
The handheld versions do boost the visual fidelity a bit compared to some of the prior LEGO games on their platforms though, even if the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita versions are still firmly in the shadow of even the Xbox 360 and PS3 builds. The PS Vita version in particular looks very sharp for a handheld build of LEGO Jurassic World, only revealing lesser-defined textures and models when they’re viewed very close up. In motion however, it mostly looks like a compressed, slightly downscaled variation of the PS3 build in its entirety, and that’s not bad at all! The Nintendo 3DS version meanwhile looks the muddiest, and lacks the benefit of HD, but it compensates with a reasonably appealing 3D effect for 3DS, 3DS XL and New 3DS (XL) users, if you don’t mind the framerate being taxed when the 3D Slider is cranked up.
Like I said though, you probably know most of what to expect from the LEGO games’ presentations on their respective platforms already. Even with largely the same level of visual polish maintained for each platform though, the LEGO animations and style remain appealing, and the handheld builds of LEGO Jurassic World in particular have been released with significantly more visual polish than some of their predecessors this time. It’s not a visual leap from previous LEGO games in most cases, but LEGO Jurassic World is put together with the same sense of charm and whimsy that the LEGO games seem to have perfected years ago.
Hopefully you love the iconic Jurassic Park theme by John Williams, because LEGO Jurassic World sure does! The theme plays constantly throughout the main menu, hub world and other such areas, even jokingly as you build props to open new paths forward, and distract LEGO dinosaurs from making a meal out of you.
That’s not to say that this is the only song you’ll hear. Other samples play from each of the four Jurassic Park movies’ soundtracks, nicely complementing your interactive exploration of their respective events in LEGO form. Even in a LEGO game, the music is outstanding, and really draws attention to how well-composed most of the scores in the Jurassic Park movie franchise are, particularly the original John Williams soundtrack from the first movie, which hasn’t aged a day in appeal!
Sound effects meanwhile are quite familiar from any given LEGO game, in that they consist of a lot of the clicking, latching and scattering effects that most of the LEGO games are built upon. The authentic roars of the dinosaurs still sound nice, even in their cutesy LEGO state however, and there’s still a reasonable degree of sharpness that comes from punching up your environment to break everything down into more valuable LEGO Studs to amass.
As for the voice acting, both the original and sampled voiceovers are great in terms of the actual performances, though LEGO Jurassic World has rather awkwardly converted the samples of movie dialogue. The lines taken directly from the Jurassic Park movies sound grainy, fuzzy and strangely overblown in contrast to everything else, on any platform, with the sound mixing really sounding off whenever movie dialogue is played. The dialogue recorded explicitly for the game sounds great, being very clear and pronounced, but the movie dialogue feels a lot more sloppily implemented, and that’s a bummer.
All in all though, the audio is about as reliably charming as the visuals are, as is the case in most any LEGO game. Beyond those amazing John Williams compositions, it’s nothing outstanding, but it’s certainly lovable!
Even the most uninitiated gamer can pick up and understand LEGO Jurassic World, yet again putting it in line with virtually any other LEGO game before it. Regardless of your age and gaming pedigree though, it’s difficult not to enjoy the gameplay with a smile, even if it’s ultimately one of the less remarkable or engaging LEGO game experiences in this series.
Should you not be familiar with the LEGO games, they’re essentially simple action games that have you take control of LEGO-ized versions of familiar pop culture personalities, in this case, from the Jurassic Park movies. You can use one button to jump, another to attack, and another to switch characters, which you must do quite a bit when playing solo, as each character has their own unique specialty, such as some being able to cut vines, others being able to track buried items, and yet more being able to retrieve items from blocky dino poop. You have the option of having a friend, family member or spouse pick up a second controller and join you on consoles and PC/Mac as well, though, as usual for the series, this is limited to local play, and isn’t available online. Fortunately, the co-op play, while especially enjoyable, isn’t necessary, and you can complete every element of the game entirely solo, if you wish.
Upon starting the game, and playing through the first Prologue stage, which covers the opening scenes of the original Jurassic Park, you’re dropped off on Isla Nublar, which serves as one of the two hub worlds in LEGO Jurassic World. The other is of course Isla Sorna, the setting of The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III, though, somewhat annoyingly, you can’t access Isla Sorna at all to start, and must beat the Jurassic Park stages first. If you wish however, you can instead go in the other direction upon landing, to access the LEGO-ized story of the franchise’s newest movie, Jurassic World, giving you a choice there, but not with the two immediate sequels to Jurassic Park. That’s kind of a let-down, even if most players will probably opt to play the four movies’ stories in chronological order anyway.
The point of the hub worlds is moot in the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita versions of the game to boot, since they don’t feature proper free-roaming hub worlds. You get specialized areas with which you can move between stages, which replicate more of a museum feel than a theme park, but no seamless world connecting everything like on consoles or PC/Mac. That’s disappointing, though it’s to be expected that the handheld versions of LEGO Jurassic World would be a tad downscaled in contrast to the home console and computer builds.
To the credit of the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita versions of LEGO Jurassic World however, they’re noticeably more in line with their console/PC cousins than several of the previous LEGO offerings. While the proper hub world is still missing on handhelds, and some stage sequences have been cut down to conserve space on the game card/download, the game is almost a beat-for-beat port of the home versions in terms of the stage design on portable hardware, which is great. The fact that the handheld versions feel noticeably better put together makes them far more worth the investment than, say, the handheld versions of The LEGO Movie Videogame or LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, though the handheld builds of LEGO Jurassic World still feel primarily directed at children more than anyone else. If you’re an older and more discerning gamer, you’re still better off ignoring them completely, in favour of the superior and better-realized home console/PC builds.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the stage design on any platform though. For the most part, the faithfulness and cleverness behind both satirizing and celebrating the sequences of the Jurassic Park movies is well-done. Even in LEGO form, the initial T-Rex scare from Jurassic Park is fantastic, as is the case with the especially impressive pterodactyl attack sequence from the most recent Jurassic World. Bear in mind that, if you haven’t seen all of the Jurassic Park movies, LEGO Jurassic World will spoil their pivotal plot developments and action sequences, and that’s still true of the most recent Jurassic World. That said however, if you are familiar with all four movies, you’ll still easily be able to enjoy the inspired LEGO-approved humour and whimsy with a nice grin on your face.
Even for a LEGO game however, LEGO Jurassic World is pretty straightforward and easy. The stage design mercifully doesn’t trip up over the sometimes obtuse puzzles that occasionally disturbed the momentum of certain prior LEGO games, but on the flip side, the way that the Jurassic Park movies unfold, means that most of the characters have very particular specialties, and even given free reign over player characters in Free Play, where you often round up collectibles and bonuses that were inaccessible during the main story, many stage obstacles are simply solved by switching to a character that can do the thing that the game is pointing at. Rarely will you have to actually use your brain and figure something out in LEGO Jurassic World’s core stages, and that means that anyone looking for actual engagement will probably get bored pretty fast.
Of course, if you want a breezy game that simply allows you to have some cheeky fun with the Jurassic Park license, LEGO Jurassic World at least provides that. The game is at its best when you can enjoy it with a second person, such as a non-gaming spouse or friend, or perhaps one of your children, especially since the more violent scenes from the movies are altered to be more goofy and toothless, with even characters that died in the movies never actually dying in this game. Still, once you exhaust the stages of all four movies, scoop up the many collectibles and round up the rather easy achievement/trophy selection (which you won’t get the benefit of on Nintendo platforms, sadly), there’s not much else to do with the game.
At the very least however, you’ll get a solid 8-10 hours out of completing all of the main stories for each movie, with each of the four movies having five stages apiece, which often last around 30 minutes on consoles/PC, and 20 minutes on handhelds. That gives the game a good, enjoyable sense of pacing, giving you an effective ‘Cliffs’ Notes’ version of each movie, taking the highlights from them, and turning them into enjoyable, funny ways that compensate in charm for what they lack in challenge.
The hub world is also decent fun to explore in the case of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World too, which actually provides outstanding attention to detail from their theme parks’ portrayals in the respective movies, and that makes hunting collectibles in them feel especially rewarding. The Isla Sorna hub areas for The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III are far more drab and linear unfortunately, since those movies just unfolded in plain old wilderness for the most part, and it probably won’t be long before you’ve completely cleaned them out of goodies.
Again, you don’t get the benefit of proper hub worlds in the handheld Nintendo 3DS or PS Vita versions of LEGO Jurassic World, but both they and the main stages give you plenty to collect, if you tend to enjoy scavenger hunts, and this is where the game actually does a better job of challenging you, and making you work for your accomplishments. Among the many collectibles are scads of hidden characters to use in Free Play, which can also be unlocked by rescuing ‘Workers in Peril’, this time located in the hub world, unlike some prior LEGO games where the people in peril were in the proper stages. You can download even more characters as paid DLC, though fortunately, the DLC characters don’t count towards your stats necessary to achieve 100% completion.
Beyond the many characters that the game offers, which cover everyone from main characters to very minor personalities from all four Jurassic Park movies, you can also try to amass the requisite LEGO Stud count to achieve ‘True Survivor’ rank in each of the game’s stages, including six hidden stages that basically allow you to re-live the game’s handful of very easy chase sequences. Beyond the usual task of amassing LEGO Studs, you can also hunt for Amber Bricks, one of which is in each stage, which allow you to play as dinosaurs. Playing as dinosaurs is actually lots of fun, even if some of them can only be summoned by specialized paddocks in the hub world. Still, even in LEGO form, stomping around as a T-Rex, and charging through cracked walls as a Triceratops is immensely appealing to do. It will make you wish that playing as the dinosaurs in most of the stages amounted to more than underwhelming quick-time events. Each stage also has ten Minikits that you can locate, and when you find them all, you can assemble skeleton versions of the dinosaurs to play as.
As for the hub world collectibles on consoles and PC/Mac, you can track down Red Bricks, which allow you to enable certain cheats and novelty features to mess with the game, Gold Bricks, which are necessary to activate some of the large dinosaur-summoning paddocks in the hub world (in turn opening the way to more collectibles), and Sick Dinos, which must be cured by tracking down hidden ingredients to feed them in the nearby vicinity. You can also find and win twenty checkpoint-based races, which can be undertaken with either dinosaurs or vehicles in the hub area, though none of them are all that challenging. Some of the collectibles are quite deviously hidden, but with some time and patience, it won’t be too much trouble to get full 100% completion of LEGO Jurassic World.
The Visitor Centres in the hub worlds for Jurassic Park and Jurassic World also allow you to design custom human characters and dinosaurs, if you’ve unlocked their proper foundations. It’s a somewhat neat feature, potentially allowing you to place yourself in the game if you want, or maybe make the mutant dinosaur of your dreams, but you’ll probably get bored of it before long, especially given the rather specialized and restrictive roster of abilities on offer for LEGO Jurassic World.
A pessimist could make the case that LEGO Jurassic World is a cash-in on the blockbuster release of the Jurassic World movie, and perhaps that’s not entirely incorrect. Even then though, LEGO Jurassic World is fun, if you’re not expecting much, and happen to enjoy the Jurassic Park franchise. The gameplay is simplistic, but it has that same addictive and appealing LEGO game charm, which makes it a lightweight, but otherwise pleasant crowd-pleaser from a gameplay standpoint.
Reviewing the storyline for LEGO Jurassic World is a tad tricky, since it more or less just distills the four Jurassic Park movies down to their highlights, and then allows you to play through them, with a more humourous and zany bend than the serious-minded Jurassic Park movies. After all, the general moviegoing public has mostly agreed on where each movie stands already. Jurassic Park is a timeless classic that is just as excellent in LEGO form. The Lost World: Jurassic Park is the underwhelming follow-up that failed to do justice to its predecessor. Jurassic Park III is a much-reviled stinker. Jurassic World is widely considered to be a great movie, even if many people still think that the original Jurassic Park is the franchise’s highlight effort.
The same is mostly true of each respective story in LEGO Jurassic World, though thanks to some of the reliable LEGO game charm, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III gain some added appeal in this game, in contrast to their movie counterparts. The best LEGO moments and gags in this game are naturally reserved for the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World stages, but at least The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III are definitely more tolerable and entertaining in this style. By a small margin then, playing LEGO Jurassic World is slightly more enjoyable than just binge-watching the movies in succession, especially since LEGO Jurassic World’s main story has about the same play length as all four movies’ runtimes lined up one after another, though this is mainly by virtue of the fact that the game’s fun factor allows the second and third movies to suck slightly less.
LEGO Jurassic World is about what you would expect from a LEGO game that’s timed with the release of a blockbuster movie, on any of the many platforms that feature it. It’s fun, it’s likable, it’s not without its charm, though its gameplay is very straightforward, and it doesn’t do all that much to challenge or engage the player, especially not in contrast to the experience of watching the movies.
If you like the LEGO games, then LEGO Jurassic World still merits a recommendation, because it captures the same high points as its LEGO predecessors, even if it also comes with all of their limitations and wrinkles. If you dislike the LEGO games, then LEGO Jurassic World isn’t going to change your mind. It really is that simple.
LEGO Jurassic World is neither the best nor the worst LEGO game, and it makes for as good an entry point as any for those who have never played them before, and are simply attracted to the Jurassic Park license. To be fair, LEGO Jurassic World is one of the better Jurassic Park video games made available to date, since most games bearing the Jurassic Park branding are real clunkers, sadly, even if this game is still outdone by some highlights such as the Jurassic Park games made for Sega Genesis, back when the original movie was new in the early 90’s.
LEGO Jurassic World is best taken as a breezy newcomers’ experience for casual players and children, and in the case of more devout gamers, it’s best reserved for avid Jurassic Park fans who are treating it as a light snack between two larger, more ambitious gaming experiences. As with any LEGO game, LEGO Jurassic World amounts to the same batch of empty calories, but if not every gaming experience has to be a dino-sized meal for you, you might just find a reason to endorse this park.
- Same reliable LEGO game charm throughout
- Lots of collectibles to amass
- Playing as a dinosaur can be pretty fun
- Same stubborn LEGO game flaws throughout
- Movie sampling is fuzzy and poorly mixed
- Restrictive abilities lead to uninspired obstacles
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