When I heard that Telltale was developing a new Jurassic Park game, my first thought was, “Great,” and then I shifted over to asking “How?” Jurassic Park is a pretty action-packed place, and Telltale’s games aren’t exactly known for twitch-heavy gameplay. After exploring an early segment of the game, it’s clear why that the team referenced Heavy Rain as a source of inspiration during our first look at the game in our February issue.
Unlike other Telltale games, which focus on a single character making his way through a story, Jurassic Park employs a shifting perspective. In the section I checked out, chief veterinarian Gerry Harding and his daughter Jessi rode one of the park’s Jeeps with a mysterious injured woman in tow. As they round a bend, their path is blocked by a triceratops chowing down on a leafy branch.
To solve the puzzle, players pan the camera around the scene and interact with objects highlighted with Xbox 360 face buttons. When you see an X next to a light pole, for instance, pressing the appropriate button lets Gerry investigate the object. After opening the gate, Gerry goaded the reluctant beast back into its enclosure as Jessi distracted it by honking the Jeep’s horn and flashing its headlights.
Things took a turn for the worse when the alpha triceratops showed up, knocking the Jeep asunder and pinning Jessi against a dirt wall. Here, I had to mash on buttons to escape getting gored by the beast’s massive horns. The QTEs are similar to the ones in Heavy Rain, in that I often had to hold down several buttons at once while frantically tapping another. It lent a nice sense of urgency to the scene, which only got more terrifying once a massive T-Rex lumbered over.
One of the more interesting things about Jurassic Park is how players can actually die if they fail a required button sequence. For instance, mess up when Gerry tries to run between the T-Rex and triceratops, and he'll be flattened while his daughter watches on in horror. There doesn't seem to be much of a penalty for death at this point, aside from a quick "You died" screen featuring Mr. DNA. After that, you'll pick up where you left off and get a chance to redeem yourself.
It’s interesting to see how Telltale approached incorporates action into the game without resorting to minigame-style interruptions. QTEs can be jarring, but they seem to be fused into the exploration sequences quite nicely. I can’t wait to play more.