Jurassic World Evolution 2 Review

Ever since Bullfrog Productions introduced a much younger me to management simulation type games back in the late ’90s with Theme Hospital and Theme Park World, it’s fair to say I’ve been hooked. From Sim City to Cities Skylines, and Thrillville to Planet Coaster, and Two Point Hospital to Jurassic World Evolution, you name it, I’ve played it and been pretty mediocre at it at best – but loved them all the same. Now, that wonderous final mention has a much-anticipated successor, Jurassic World Evolution 2, another dinosaur park management simulation adventure, and another title that brings that masterful tear-jerking musical score from John Williams into play once more.

Welcome to your very own Jurassic Park!

Jurassic World Evolution 2 gives players a few different ways to play the game. The most obvious choice from the off is Campaign and within this story mode option, players will jump into the mess that has been created by the first batch of abysmal parks. You see the dinosaurs here have escaped, they are running around with free will and in Campaign mode, your job is to create enclosures, hunt the wild dinosaurs down, and bring them back under control. In fact within this mode, that is the key focus with attention shifting away from the research and development of frightening new beasts that was seen in the first game, and onto the new ‘save the safari’ type effort. It’s all very straightforward and almost tutorial-esque within each mission, players are given a list of clear objectives that usually result in you putting an on the run dino to sleep, before placing it the fresh new home you’ve just finished constructing, before ensuring the happiness and comfort meters reach the desired amounts. Do this enough times in enough different places with some slight variation in the middle and this Campaign mode should be through in no time.

After this, it’s onto the next Story mode option, Chaos Theory. This one is probably the one you’ll have been waiting for and was certainly the one I enjoyed the most. In Chaos Theory, players are sent back to each of the parks from the various Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films and are instead thrust into ‘what if’ scenarios, to try and change the events of what happened in the film and this time get it right. Each park has its own unique challenges but here you’ll get to experience the characters, the dinosaurs, and the appeal that each film brings whilst also facing the same challenges to see if you could handle it better. This is where the management of profits and research comes into play to really round out the experience with players needing to create a park environment that caters to the consumer, whilst also ensuring the attractions remain fresh and the dinosaurs remain happy and secure. All of which often proves a nearly insurmountable task as the films and the previous game has shown already and it remains true here also.

Chaos Theory is certainly far more challenging than the standard Campaign mode, however there are still ways to play if this is not what you’re after, with both Challenge Mode and Sandbox Mode available for your park building needs. Challenge Mode contains its own progression system with each milestone reached unlocking the next location, and with it, the next restriction to be introduced as your already difficult task of a race against the clock gets made harder still as you look to create a five-star park. Should you manage it, however, you will unlock new patterns and new maps and dinos for the next mode available, making it well worth the effort.

That very next mode is the final option available, with Sandbox Mode giving players the creative freedom to do just about anything they want as long as it’s within the hefty budget afforded to do so – unless of course, you activate some of the unlimited pre-sets, giving unlimited cash, power, invincible vehicles, and other favourable options for the perfect park resort. Here, there are no objectives besides those you decide to take on yourself, with players simply creating whatever they desire, with buildable items from all films included ensuring the possibilities are endless and your ideal vision can become a reality.

Whilst the game modes on offer certainly cater to all types of players and their ideal experiences, the real star attraction here is the dinosaurs themselves, and with more than 70 different breeds to choose from, including the fresh introduction of avian and aquatic creatures this time around, there is certainly no shortage of exciting new dinos to introduce to your park.

Managing such a vast amount of dinosaurs in one place is certainly no easy task, and whilst the luxuries of Sandbox Mode allow Jurassic World Evolution 2 to shine, if you really want a successful park, you’ll need to learn how to mix and match your parks creatures to ensure you hit a sustained balance, with each enclosure often needing areas for your dinosaurs to make their own territory, otherwise, expect a sharp decline in visitor satisfaction and in-turn profits and star rating.

What makes things even better is once again players are able to really get into the finer details of how the park runs. You won’t simply go throwing your money at things and out pops a dinosaur, instead if you want that vital new attraction, you’ll first need to send off a research team to dig up some new fossils, then once you have the research required, you’ll still need a successful synthetic and incubation period which doesn’t come cheap. On top of this, you’ll need to manage staff to ensure you have the best person for the job, whilst the rest of your park will need to keep running in the background to maintain a cash flow, meanwhile, dinosaur happiness often changes just as quick as the potentially devastating weather, meaning you’ll always have a new threat or challenge to face should you really want to make a success of things, and whilst you can always place orders for your staff, there’s nothing quite like getting into a helicopter and tranquilising those escaped Velociraptors yourself.

Of course, by now you’ve probably realised the gameplay in Jurassic World Evolution 2 isn’t finding many complaints from me and that’s because it provides one of the best management simulation experiences available on Xbox. Gameplay isn’t the complete package though and to really round things off nicely, you need to ensure the audio and visual experience is up to scratch.

Starting with the audio and the most important thing first, the irreplaceable musical score is intact in all its fantastical glory which instantly raises a smile. Progressing into the game and there isn’t much to fault, from the wind whistling through your park, the roar of dinosaurs battling for territory and every typical audio quirk in-between such as hatchery doors opening or the iconic voices of Dr Wu or Dr Ian Malcom as they fill you in on events and information happening within your park. In fact the only criticism I can really find up to this point is a minor one at best and that is the weather changes do bring a sudden change to the sound although should you be paying more attention to your park than the weather, you’ll barely notice it at all as this game is one that fills its fantastical parks with perfect audio to truly capture the magic of the experience made famous on the big screen.

As for the visuals, Jurassic World Evolution 2 really is the game to put the exact vision of the movies in your hands. From the trees to the buildings, and the dinosaurs to the fences, there is nothing that doesn’t resonate with everything you’d hope to see in a film-to-game type experience, and whilst the dinosaurs on occasion do seem a little robotic in the odd activity such as when your raptors decide to take a punt at attacking a vehicle you’ve sent into their enclosure, the overall visual experience is nothing but a pleasure to watch as you either make or break your park.

Conclusion

Overall, if you’re a fan of management games, the Jurassic Park or Jurassic World films, or simply want to get involved with a game that ticks all the right boxes for fan expectations, then Jurassic World Evolution 2 is a game that you should be playing.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox Series S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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Good
  • Tons of unique dinosaurs
  • Mistakes are recoverable even in Challenge Mode
  • Game modes offer variety and enjoyment
  • Chaos Mode perfectly recaptures the film excitement
  • A perfectly balanced management simulation game
Bad
  • Sudden audio changes in weather effects
9.1
Excellent
Gameplay - 9.5
Graphics - 8.9
Audio - 9
Longevity - 9
Written by
After many years of dabbling and failing in Dark Souls and many other equally brutal gaming adventures, I can now be found in a state of relaxation, merely hunting for a little extra gamerscore or frightening myself with the latest Resident Evil - Sometimes I write about it too!

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