Jurassic World Evolution 2 has officially arrived, and I’ve had some time to fully formulate my thoughts. I’ll be looking at this one from two angles; as a Jurassic Park franchise fan, and as a gamer. Without further ado, let’s get right into it! Side note: all images shared here are my own screenshots!
What is Jurassic World Evolution 2?
Jurassic World Evolution 2 is the follow up to Frontier Developments’ hit park builder Jurassic World Evolution. In JWE2, you will get to follow in your previous footsteps, however, there’s more to it than that.
There are four modes of gameplay this time around. We have a campaign mode, challenge mode, sandbox, and chaos theory. There are also more dinosaurs this time around, as well as some new and interesting mechanics.
Important to note for this game in particular is the time period. The main campaign and challenge modes are set in the film universe between Fallen Kingdom (2018) and the yet to be released Dominion (set for 2022 release). Reprising their franchise roles in this game are Jeff Goldblum as Dr Ian Malcolm, Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing, and BD Wong as Dr Henry Wu.
Not so Jurassic Campaign
Look, I’ll be real here. The main campaign is not long. It goes over the whole concept of dinosaurs in the wild, rescue and rehabilitation. Obviously, not release. The campaign teaches you the gameplay. At parts, it felt more like a glorified tutorial than a campaign, but that didn’t bother me too much. There was clear purpose for everything, and it was a good way to introduce mechanics.
However, it is extremely short. It took me about 7 hours to clear, but I restarted many times. Many many times. Realistically speaking, the campaign can be completed in a couple of hours if you know what you’re doing. All of my previous experience with these games was on Switch, and I was playing this on PC. For new players, I’d estimate around the 3-hour mark.
It really is short. With that said though, there are enough other features and modes in the game to make up for this.
Chaos Theory in Evolution
The whole concept of chaos theory was brought up by Dr Ian Malcolm back in the original Jurassic Park book and movie. Jurassic Park Evolution 2 employs this “what if” concept to bring a whole new mode to the game. What would happen if Jurassic Park really did get to open to the public? What if you really could build a park in the middle of San Diego? Chaos Theory gives players the chance to see what could happen if all the tragedy did not occur.
This whole concept is a very interesting one, and it made for very interesting gameplay. From a gaming standpoint, it’s a great challenge mode. You need to do X, Y, and Z to get your park up and running, keep guests happy, and help your dinosaurs thrive.
As a JP fan, it’s very interesting to see a spin on what could have been. At this stage, we already know that In-Gen just kept going with their experiments. We also know that Henry Wu has never given up on dinosaurs, or his research. Wu will never learn, a concept explored well as a subplot in Camp Cretaceous (which is canon, so highly recommend watching). The dream of almost coexisting with dinosaurs remained strong for all these years.
There is a Chaos Theory for all five movies, and down the line, I could see Dominion being added as DLC. I feel this would be a logical move. The time for these really depends on you, the player. Completion of these is getting your park up to 5 stars, and that can take longer for some than others. There’s also a huge range in difficulty on these. Definitely a lot of content to unpack in here.
Challenge Mode and Sandbox
Challenge Mode and Sandbox almost go hand in hand, which is why I’m putting them in a section together.
Sandbox mode is where you basically have free range on building your own park. You really get a huge amount of control in setting up from the main menu. From what staff you want to how much money you want, to things like how frequently storms hit. However, to get the most out of Sandbox mode, you need to research everything in the game before going in. Don’t get me wrong, you can start it before researching everything. That’s actually what I did. You’ll just have a more limited experience. Again, nothing wrong with that. Sandbox is meant to be a more chill experience (in my opinion).
Challenge Mode is very much a case of does what it says on the tin. There are multiple locations that you unlock by completing previous challenge modes. However, challenge mode is the easiest way to keep your research going. Research from all modes carries over into sandbox, but I personally found it easier to exploit challenge mode. Get your park up to 5 stars, and keep playing. You can continue to take contracts, things like upping ticket sales, building new guest amenities, etc. Between that and having people in the park, there’s a steady cash flow. Once you have that going, you can hire more scientists and keep researching different facilities, amenities, dinosaurs and more. And if you’re like me, you’ll chip away at that, make your sandbox unlimited funds and build the dino park of your dreams. Still working on that last part though.
Overall, these two modes are chock full of fun. I’ve never been good with challenge modes, but I really enjoyed this one. Everything feels achievable, even for casual players.
New World Order
Jurassic World Evolution 2 has introduced a lot of new content and concepts. While keeping the same base mechanics and goals of the first game, the sequel brings so much new with it. As well as better features for guests, dinosaur welfare has been made a larger priority. One of the best additions is that of paleo-medical facilities. Teams and facilities dedicated purely to dinosaur health. Ranger and ACU facilities are now combined into one, which is much more cost effective for park managers. Being able to place ranger posts and assign teams to regularly check in on dinos is also a great addition.
There is also a huge list of dinosaur species to research, synthesise, incubate and hatch. Parks can now have aviaries and lagoons! So on top of the additions of new land creatures, winged dinosaurs and aquatic dinosaurs are now available. We won’t talk about my excitement over the Mosasaurus.
However, there are some issues. Now, I cannot stress enough that I got very lucky with bugs compared to others. I had one odd flashing glitch, which I really don’t know how to describe. It was almost like sheet lightning, but it wasn’t. I had some odd moments where a goat was chilling in a sleeping raptors neck, and I had some fish floating in the sky. Not that bad.
What did have me very close to marking this game down was the storms. Storm defence takes a while to research, and by the time you actually have storm defences in place, your park could have been destroyed multiple times. I learned that one from experience. And tears. Many, many tears. Dinosaur aggression has also massively gone up, so pay extra close attention to their feelings, health and comfort levels.
Jurassic Sloth 2?
Looking at what other people have been saying online and the experiences other people should have, the score I’m giving Jurassic World Evolution 2 might irk some people. Yes, I ran into some bugs. And yes, I had some major frustrations. But here’s the thing. None of that really impacted how I felt while playing the game. Not really. The frustrations would motivate me to find better ways of doing things. And the bugs just made me laugh.
I booted up this game for the first time, and I felt a connection to a game that I haven’t felt in a long time. Everything was a new cause for excitement, it looks beautiful, and it runs really well. I got to create my favourite dinosaurs and care for them, and I can continue to do that.
I actually bought the deluxe edition, and I very rarely pay full price for a game. I love a good sale, and 99% of the time, I wait for one. This is one of the very rare occasions where I just couldn’t wait. And the more I play, the more I feel I’m getting my money’s worth.
I would genuinely recommend this game to everyone. There’s enough variation in content to appeal to all kinds of gamers, but even more than that, it’s fun. And it makes my heart very happy. This is a game I can see myself playing for a very long time.
Although the likes of the main campaign veer on the shorter side, there is enough other content throughout all modes to really make things worth your while. To be totally honest, we may have my game of the year here.