Jurassic World: Evolution 2 Review

Richard Walker

When will they ever learn? Whether it's a Jurassic Park or a Jurassic World, invariably, the dinosaurs will break loose and run amok, and as the upcoming sixth movie, Jurassic World Dominion, will likely show, once the marauding thunder lizards are out of their pens, things are only going to go from bad to worse. Jurassic World Evolution 2 ties in with the upcoming film, and, as such, you'll find prehistoric creatures roaming the land, waiting to be tranquillised and airlifted into your new park. Again, what could possibly go wrong? A lot, as it happens, but it's fun trying to make things not go wrong, even if life, inevitably, uh, finds a way.


If this guy is out of the pen, you've probably fucked things up.

Failing to plan is planning to fail in Jurassic World Evolution 2 - although the campaign, new Chaos Theory mode, and a selection of isolated challenges have very clearly defined objectives, following them all to the letter counts for nought if your park is poorly planned out. It's remarkably easy to come unstuck and even easier to lose hours of progress, if, like me, you're stupid enough to bunch buildings together tightly or create enclosures that are far too large (or too small). Not unlike the ill-fated parks from the movies, undoing your mistakes is hard work – sometimes, it's pretty much impossible. Nevertheless, there's joy to be had from the trial-and-error nature of it all.

Campaign is a good starting point in Evolution 2, presenting the basics in a steady, straightforward way, enhanced by the charismatic presence of Jeff Goldblum, as Dr. Ian Malcolm, talking you through the setup in his inimitable way. Across five missions, you'll complete various objectives at the behest of Claire Dearing (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard), dino wrangler Owen Grady, genetic expert Dr. Wu (BD Wong), and returning bigwig Cabot Finch, as part of a collaborative effort to capture freely roaming dinosaurs for the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Campaign, such as it is, is perfectly fine, but ultimately, something of a lightweight, throwaway experience- achieve the objectives, and you’re hastily pushed to the next location. Challenge offers something far meatier, as does the new Chaos Theory mode, the latter enabling you to have a go at avoiding the errors made by John Hammond in the creation of the original Jurassic Park, or to take a stab at making successful, flourishing dinosaur attraction based on the failed messes left behind in The Lost World, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

As it was in the first game, park-building is quick and intuitive, management of the minutiae only occasionally verging on the fiddly. There are times you have to manually marshal response unit jeeps to a designated spot, as sometimes, for seemingly no reason, they'll turn on a dime and head back to base, having failed to complete the task you've set for them. It can be annoying, when you're trying to spin so many plates all at once, not being able to rely on your staff to carry out simple duties. Fortunately, this is rare, and one of very few gripes in a largely polished game. Given the depth and detail on offer in Evo 2, it's impressive how elegantly everything is presented, finessing what developer Frontier had already accomplished with the first game (and to a degree, what Operation Genesis had a good crack at, back in 2003).


Within minutes, you can have a rudimentary facility up and running, but bolstering the appeal and overall rating of your park takes some persistence, and, in Challenge mode, it means earning a five-star rating to earn completion. Each challenge has you contending with increasingly difficult environmental factors in various locations, each with its own set of tricky parameters to take into account, as you create a park from scratch. Building shops, eateries, viewing areas, park tours, hotels, and so on, will help generate revenue, while keeping your guests happy, but your primary concern is the wellbeing of your dinos, which in itself is quite an undertaking. Occasionally, things run perfectly smoothly, but, there are a slew of random events that can befall your park; there are times when you'll be plagued by captive dinosaurs with all sorts of maladies (outbreaks of contagious disease are the worst), or your park is hit by raging storms, or you’re faced with having to deal with power deficits, whinging guests, dodgy saboteurs, scientists demanding pay rises, and other exterior factors conspiring to ruin your operation. When you start haemorrhaging cash and go into the red, it's basically all over.

Research is key, elevating a simple workmanlike endeavour into the realms of money-making mega park. Using your team of scientists, you can research new dinosaur breeds, new buildings, upgrades, and other attractions, like aquatic dinosaurs or leathery-winged flying monsters. Scientists have different attributes, so some are better sent on expeditions to dig up fossils to extract the genome for a new beastie, while others have talents more suitable for work in the hatchery or the medical facility. In this regard, Evolution 2 is only an incremental advancement over its predecessor, although it still works wonderfully when played using a controller – everything has been intuitively laid out, and only when things get really hectic does it feel like you're hampered by the lack of direct input afforded by a mouse and keyboard.


Big fan of that aviary enclosure. Look at it!

Crucially, Frontier Developments has duly covered all of the bases for Jurassic World Evolution 2, providing a more than worthwhile sequel, with an engaging Challenge mode and even more engaging series of Chaos Theory scenarios to tackle, which tie in closely with the Jurassic movie saga. Being given the opportunity to make like John Hammond and “spare no expense” in making Jurassic Park a reality, avoiding disaster along the way, is too good a proposition to pass up. Factor in the no-holds-barred Sandbox, where you can make the park of your dreams to your own exacting parameters, and you have the complete package. And for fans of the film series in its entirety, there's something here to placate all but the most ardent of CGI dino-fanciers. Jurassic World Evolution 2 is a triumph, the new Chaos Theory mode, in particular, being a more than welcome addition to a game with plenty of bite.

Jurassic World: Evolution 2

While Jurassic World Evolution marked a rock-solid dry run for Frontier's prehistoric theme park management sim, Jurassic World Evolution 2 is a meaningful, erm, evolution, with the new Chaos Theory mode providing engaging scenarios in which you can attempt to set things right. A diverse suite of modes and slick interfaces ensures Jurassic World Evolution 2's status as an excellent sequel.

Form widget
80%
Audio
85%

The John Williams-inspired soundtrack is a thing of beauty, and voice work is decent enough, especially from Goldblum, Dallas Howard, and BD Wong. Some of the impersonators leave a lot to be desired, however.

Visuals
70%

Lush and detailed, Jurassic World Evolution 2 is more than merely functional. It's genuinely pretty at times, though hampered by frame drops when things get too crowded and a slightly shoddy draw distance that sees foliage popping in and out.

Playability
80%

Everything has been expertly mapped to the controller, making navigation through the raft of options a breeze. When you've multiple tasks all popping up at once, things can get a little fiddly, but never enough to ruin your fun.

Delivery
80%

With the addition of Chaos Theory and an involving Challenge mode, alongside Campaign and Sandbox options, there really is no shortage of content and scenarios to immerse yourself in. Compared to Evo 1, the sequel is a far more comprehensive package.

Achievements
70%

A list for the completionists, you'll need to beat Campaign, Chaos Theory, and every Challenge at 'Jurassic' difficulty, for starters. Creating specific dinosaur breeds then releasing them and reaching certain milestones is also required. Decent enough.

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