I’ve been saying for a long time that Lego games are underrated. While Mario, Crash and Spiro sit comfortably on 3D iron thrones these days (Yooka-Laylee is probably sitting in a plastic deck chair right next to them), the genre was pretty boring not too long ago. Mario was in postmodern 2D, Spy tried to sell you Skylanders, and I think Crash might have been in rehab.
Traveler’s Tales (TT) Lego Star Wars video game attracted a lot of attention when it was first released in 2005, but no one thought it would essentially carry the 3D platforming genre past a generation of consoles. Over the years, not only has each new release been a constant success with young audiences thanks to Lego’s endless bag of licenses, but TT has always tried not to skimp and continues to offer charming 3D marathon collections with an amazing amount of content and replay value. And if the gameplay formula has remained largely unchanged since the days of Lego’s Star Wars, it’s only because the simple, addictive platformer has aged surprisingly well.
Such is the case with Jurassic Lego World on Nintendo Switch. We’re only a year away from the release of Jurassic World: Warner Bros. has unearthed this fossilized 2015 game giant and brought it to life with crazy voodoo DNA on the Nintendo Switch.
The game follows the events of the first four films of the Jurassic Park franchise, reinterpreted in Lego. In a way, the title is a bit misleading, as Jurassic World only represents a quarter of the game. So to get to Chris Pratt’s Lego, you have to go through a lot of Jeff Goldblum’s Lego first. All kidding aside, don’t be fooled because your dollar buys you four movies. Most tabletop games don’t fit into one Lego game, but certainly enough to fully immerse you in the legend of Jurassic Park. I’ve only seen the movies once so far, and now plastic dinosaurs haunt my dreams, so I say good job.
How is Lego Jurassic World different from other Lego games? Well, not so much, because the most surprising mechanism of the game is that Jurassic Park is probably the first Lego-adapted franchise to not include any fantasy elements in its gameplay. Star Wars, Harry Potter, and even Batman tend to play up their more supernatural themes to some degree to make them work as game mechanics. I can count on my hands the number of times a character from the original Star Wars trilogy uses the Force. But in Lego games, the Force is used all the time for everything from opening cabinets to disarming attacking Droids. Jurassic Park, on the other hand, is set in our world, and while it takes some freedom from science fiction, it mostly respects the possibilities of the real world. So I was curious how much fun a Lego game could be if you removed the fancy spells and powers and replaced them with arrows and dinosaur bones.
Again, TT makes me look like an idiot because, no, the game is always fun. While Lego Star Wars and Lego Marvel focus more on unique abilities and combat, Lego Jurassic World is more of an open world presentation based on a puzzle, and it turns out to be a great way to put the story into a playable form. You don’t spend much time fighting dinosaurs as you maneuver around the island, dodging the dinosaurs and eventually capturing them. Most levels take you into an open environment where some sort of threat or blockage prevents you from advancing to the next part of the level. Of course, your job is to neutralize the threat and move on, but how to do that is usually not easy. After that, you’re left to your own devices, exploring the environment and interacting with a variety of NPCs and scenery. Eventually you’ll find a way to move the scene forward, whether it’s building something, destroying something, or destroying something and then building something.
Between missions you can roam the real Jurassic Park, the game’s central world, with a map, jeeps and the usual Lego assortment. It’s a super charming way to tie all the films together, and it was actually one of my favorite parts of the title as a whole.
The gameplay remains as consistent as ever, and it feels great on the Nintendo Switch. The HD textures are fantastic whether anchored or in the bag, and the cooperative drop-in/out mode of the previous entries is alive and well here. This is an absolutely welcome feature at a time when local multiplayer is usually on the endangered species list.
While Lego Jurassic World seems to meet all the criteria for an acceptable Lego game, there’s a big problem in the audio category. Early Lego games didn’t really care about the voice acting, but told the whole story with slapstick and movement, like a ridiculous cartoon. But with the growing popularity of games and the penchant for tabletop games to tell more and more interesting stories, Lego games have started offering full dialogue and actor voices with the 2012 Lego DC Super Heroes 2.
Since the Lego DC games were original stories rather than adaptations, having her play it in her voice was no problem. But when you adapt something like a movie, it can get complicated. Instead of rewriting the dialogue or using sources for Goldblum’s impersonators, TT used the film’s original sound, worked all the animation around it, and recorded bits of the original dialogue to fill in some of the gaps.
They’ve done it before with varying degrees of success, but in the Jurassic Park series they really had to re-record everything. It’s not to denigrate the original performance, that’s not the point. The very fact that a sound recorded 25 years ago, combined with a new sound, will be unpleasant and uncomfortable no matter what you do. Subtle changes in sound quality when an NPC interacts with one of the main characters are enough to disrupt the tone of the entire scene.
This seems like an incredibly small thing, and those who are less sensitive to sound quality might ignore it completely, but when your honesty is focused on consistency, even a small deviation like this doesn’t sound good. The most recent Lego games have improved a lot, both in terms of writing and voice acting, but this title remains a delicate compromise in this process. It seems like a great opportunity to go back and redo some things instead of just providing a one-to-one port.
Overview of the Lego legal world
- Charts – 7/10
- Sound – 6/10
- Gameplay – 9/10
- Late Call – 8/10
Final thoughts : GRAND
Lego Jurassic World is an incredibly easy to learn platform game. It’s a solid return to old school adventure games and a super fun way to explore the history of the franchise. It’s certainly not as dense as Lego triple A, but this game shows a lot of love for Jurassic Park fandom, and fans noticed it almost immediately.
Evan Rude is a journalism student and amateur gambling historian. His favorite Guitar Hero III song was Even Flow.
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