The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Jurassic Park is one of those films that terrorized summer box
offices for months and irrevocably shaped a generation of young minds.
To say I bought into its hype would be putting it mildly. I daydreamed
about the movie weeks before it hit theaters, and I still remember the
tingle of goose bumps crawling up my arm as the theater lights dimmed
and the film started. Jurassic Park didn’t disappoint. I was so dinosaur
obsessed that I even read Michael Crichton’s novel. I have a feeling
that Telltale Games has a similar love for the franchise. The studio’s
Jurassic Park game is filled with interesting scientific asides, quirky
characters, and a number of movie references. The team’s love for
Jurassic Park is apparent – I just wish love was all you needed.
Park: The Game follows Dennis Nedry’s Barbasol can full of dinosaur
embryos through a series of events that take place after the film’s
closing credits. Unborn dinosaurs are a hot property, and genetic
research company BioSyn sends a couple of professional smugglers to Isla
Nublar to retrieve the specimens. This simple retrieval mission turns
into a heaping pile of dino droppings when the smugglers get attacked by
a pack of venom-spewing dilophosaurus. Sole survivor Nima Cruz
eventually meets up with Jurassic Park’s chief veterinarian Dr. Gerry
Harding – one of the only characters from the book/movie to make it into
the game (aside from Nedry’s bloated dead body). Harding and his
daughter got stuck on the island when the storm knocked out the power,
but their journey to get off the island quickly becomes a fight for
Jurassic Park’s narrative isn’t bad, but it’s not very
deep either. The story features a few interesting character moments
spread across several hours of people outrunning some of the fastest
dinosaurs ever. The tone stands in stark contrast to the original film –
most of the action contains hints of slapstick comedy. I watched a
pteranodon kick a chopper out of the sky, several theropods hop aboard a
rollercoaster while it was still in motion, and a tyrannosaurus fling a
metal door like a discus at a man hiding in a tree. Thanks to these
hokey Land of the Lost-like antics, the action has no tension at all.
if Telltale had added more weight to the storytelling, taking this game
seriously would be difficult. It looks like a game that jumped out of
the ‘90s. Jurassic Park’s nearly two-decade-old effects are still
convincing. On the other hand, Telltale’s cartoony, PS2-level graphics
have trouble building the kind of immersion that enthralled audiences in
Telltale freely admits that it molded Jurassic Park’s
gameplay off 2010’s innovative Heavy Rain. Critics lauded Quantic
Dream’s title because it gave players new ways to interact with a
detailed world, allowing them to make real choices in a fluid narrative.
Jurassic Park strings together a series of pass-or-fail button-press
sequences. Many of these feel sluggish and lethargic, like a victim of a
compsognathus attack; I actually had to perform a QTE to navigate a
character down a flight of stairs, retrieve a case of tranquilizer darts
from a car, then go back inside. A few dialogue sequences break up this
action, but Jurassic Park’s world isn’t rich enough to deserve
exploration, and its few puzzles rarely require thought. You rearrange
carts on a roller coaster, decipher a door code, and play a matching
game using a number of maps to figure out where you are. Then it’s back
to the quick-time events.
Despite its many disappointments,
Jurassic Park might offer fans a few thrills. I got a kick out of
exploring the underground service tunnels and park locations never seen
in the movie. I smiled at some of the clever dialogue. And I perked up
when I caught a hint of a mosasaurus’ scaly tail inside Jurassic Park’s
underground marine facility. Unfortunately, many of the best action
scenes and character moments happen so late in the game that many
players likely won’t have the patience to see them.
flawed but entertaining approach to the Back to the Future license left
me hopeful for the developer’s take on Jurassic Park. Despite some early
reservations, I still felt like that goose-bumped 13-year-old boy as
the game’s opening theme started and Jurassic Park’s logo popped on
screen. Unlike my younger self, however, I was in for a disappointment.
Email the author Ben Reeves, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.