PC Review: Jurassic Park: The Game

Can Telltale sparkle their magic over Jurassic Park?

The Jurassic Park games of the past have been pretty average, but the films were damn good…well, the first 1 was anyway. Telltale picks the setting of the original to tell its own story as a group of people try to escape the island, but it isn’t as simple as that…people have their own agenda, mostly concerning that bottle of shaving cream with the embryos inside. There are some interesting characters that although clichéd in their styles, make a compelling tale that lasts over 4 episodes.

The story will take you all over the island, even to places unseen in the films, and when I say the story takes you, I meant the game does as well….Quicktime events take up around 95% of the whole game, which is unusual for a Telltale game. Instead or roaming, looking for objects to use, you are mostly tapping buttons to avoid getting chomped by dinos or trying to solve basic puzzles through a process of elimination.

It’s a very shallow experience as you are on rails and don’t feel in control of any character. You don’t get to move around other than to scan for highlighted objects that will make the story progress, it doesn’t seem like a big deal at first…but by the end of Episode 4, you are relieved it’s all over. It also throws QTE’s at you fast in some areas, which can result in you hitting the wrong button and getting killed. The problem is that you get a rank for most areas, and if you mess up then it drops from Gold to Silver and then Bronze, which isn’t really important for the PC version…but I imagine the console versions with have achievements/trophies for getting Gold in every scenario.

The plot does just enough to keep you going to the end as you want to find out what happens to each character, will they all make it off the island? Will someone die? It’s a pretty gruesome tale and dark, which again is pretty new for a Telltale game, since we’ve had the likes of Back to the Future, Wallace and Gromit and Sam and Max which are very different when compared with Jurassic Park. I don’t know why Telltale chose to move away from their traditional point-and-click adventure game to a on-rails QTE-fest, it’s an experience that fans will enjoy…but one that you’ll never come back to again afterwards.

Telltale has made good use of the license, to be fair. Even though the game is more of an interactive film, it does maintain that classic Jurassic Park feeling of being chased by the T-Rex, hiding from Velociraptors and brings you to areas like the Visitor Centre. I thought at the end of Episode 1 that they were pretty much saved, but something happens to hinder that, as it does in Episode 2 and 3. Will they make it off the island at the end of Episode 4? Does the shaving cream find a new owner? You’ll have to play to find out…and it is a tale worth delving into, if only once.

The visuals are the best I’ve seen from Telltale, although it’s far from perfect. The dinosaurs look great it must be said, but the character models look cartoony and the lip-syncing is terrible. Effects like fire, explosions and water look average too. Voice-acting redeems the game and makes the story more believable as a result, while the soundtrack makes use of the classic theme for the nostalgia effect.

The Verdict

Jurassic Park: The Game is more of a ride than a game, as you don’t get any real say what the characters do and you don’t even get to control them. The only choice you can make is towards the end, which will change the ending…but you can load up the scenario after and see the difference, which is minimal. It tells a decent story, but there are far too many QTE’s and not enough real gameplay for hardcore gamers to enjoy.