Jurassic Park: The Game review for PSN, PC

Platform: XBLA
Also on:  PSN, PC
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Medium: Digital Download
Players: 1
Online: No

After watching the movie, have you ever wanted to know about the other people who were on the island of Jurassic Park? Or maybe, were you curious to know how someone could let such an experiment happen to begin with? Or have you wondered about the financial struggles and moral issues? So what exactly happened after Nedry dropped that precious can of embryos in the Barbasol can? Now all these questions can be answered, and much more, courtesy of Jurassic Park: The Game developed by Telltale Games.

Of course this is all dependent on what kind of gamer you are as Jurassic Park: The Game is more of a casual walk in the “park” compared to games you may be used to. I’m of course referring to the lost art of graphic adventures and search & find games like the Monkey Island series and Myst. It’s not going to give you calluses, break your brain, or even make you sweat, but what you get is a game that allows you to interactively control the events of a movie of sorts. To today’s gamer, it may be a turn off as compared to an Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty, as it is all about the story and allowing you to control the decision making. Using a strategy of searching, deciphering, and quick time events, you watch as the Jurassic Park story unfolds, and dependent on your actions, timing, and choices, you determine the completeness of the game.

I for one welcome this “change of genre” from the normal and it began earlier this year with the release of Back to the Future on the PC and PS3. While this genre has never left the PC gamers, console gamers may have forgotten or never have experienced this flavor of gaming, so if anything, many may be discovering a genre for the first time. Will they welcome it with open arms, or shun it away? Only time and sales will tell, but at least Telltale games are giving it that old college try.

The game’s story puts you back to the first film’s original destination of Isla Nublar and takes place shortly after Hammond has left the island with Dr. Grant and company. You will control many roles during the game, from a Father and daughter duo whose relationship is torn by divorce, a spy who is there to recover the lost embryos, a team of Mercs for NGEN that is there to take all the survivors and watch as the island is deemed to be destroyed by the military, and many more side characters as well. Let us not forget the stars of our show?the dinosaurs! You have Triceratops, Raptors, the T-Rex, and a host of others including a new “mystery” species that’s bite is venomous and lethal.

Along the way, things are not hunky dory on the island since we left it, and now the things that were there to keep humans safe are now shut down and some destroyed in the aftermath of the films’ events. The game will run you through 4 parts with many mini checkpoints throughout. While the game does start off very slow, having you do trivial and monotonous tasks, it is like a good movie and is introducing you to the game and characters slowly without drawing you attention away with insane moments. Believe me when I say that these moments DO, in fact, come in to play later, so it will do you a service to just get the hang of things and get ready to hold onto your butts. Many of the movies set points come back into action from Mr. DNA, park locales, and even Nedry himself makes an appearance?or what’s left of him at least. The storyline rivals any of the 3 movies and could have easily have been a template for a real film. What you get in this version is computer graphics, so-so voice acting, and some deliberate pacing for effect, but it all wraps up like a pretty little package and is worth the ride if you are a fan of the films, and what’s more, can appreciate the game’s style.

I’m not going to sugar coat Jurassic Park: The Game’s obvious flaws and say this game is perfect either. In fact I say the game is an inferior attempt if you want to use Back to the Future as another option, for the fact the game doesn’t look as polished, has sound issues with audio popping in and out, it relies heavily on quick time events to lead the action, and one thing BTTF did that JP did not was the ability to control the character on the whole. Jurassic Park I would compare more to Dragon’s Lair than Monkey Island as you never control the character fully and for the most part watch and choose the event’s outcome. That being said, there is never a game killing moment, but the sense of urgency is never apparent as while you can fail events and have characters even die, it takes nothing more than restarting the level and trying again. Your penalty is only a loss in gold, silver, or bronze medal status. Heck if you don’t medal at all, you still can complete the level without EVER having to replay the whole scenario again. This laid back approach may be too simplistic for some, but one thing is for sure, you will have the knowledge of feeling you will find out all the secrets without being hampered with an impassable scene.

Overall I can’t deny that I enjoyed the story, the events, and heck, even the game play as I enjoy this genre fully and it was a must buy for me. Gamers new to the genre I would I ask, “do you like the QTE action sequences in the God of War games, and would you play a game that was 90% that style”? If you answer yes and like Jurassic Park, then I say buy it too. Otherwise you may want to rent or check out the demo to see if you can appreciate this niche style of gaming, just be aware the last 2 chapters are faster paced and more exciting and engaging than the first two. If the game is for you or not, one thing is for sure?the experience far exceeds Jurassic Park 2, nuff said.

Grade: C+