Jurassic Park: The Game Review

I seem to be one of the lucky few who went into Jurassic Park: The Game knowing exactly what I was getting into — an interactive movie built on the back of quick-time events. This review follows the release of the game (and other reviews) by a few days, thus giving other critics time to weigh in on Telltale Games’ latest licensed tale, and most who played it seemed surprised and annoyed that the game wasn’t nearly as open as the developer’s other titles.

And of course, nobody likes QTEs.

That said, I didn’t hate Jurassic Park. Having played the game some at a few conventions earlier this year, I knew what I was in for: lots of watching action unfold, lots of QTEs and lots of slower puzzles in between those QTEs. Jurassic Park delivered a fairly cinematic experience that meshed well with the original Jurassic Park film. It’s biggest flaw — if you don’t count the very notion that QTEs can be fun or sustain a whole game — was being forgettable.

Jurassic Park: The Game: PC (Reviewed), Mac, iPad, Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Released: November 15, 2011
MSRP: $29.99

Like most Telltale titles and specifically like Back to the Future: The Game and Hector: Badge of Carnage from earlier this year, Jurassic Park is all about the story being told. Even more than those titles, which relied heavily and exclusively on point-and-click adventure game-style puzzles, Jurassic Park is an interactive movie. The game is telling you a story about multiple characters and you don’t play as them so much as play puppeteer for them. In some instances, you’ll click around the screen in order to solve puzzles. In others, you’ll direct them to avoid the bloody death wrought by snapping dinosaur jaws. But you’re always just an observer of the action — this is much more like watching a movie than playing a game.

That said, it’s a movie that’s certainly no worse than The Lost World. Jurassic Park picks up in the middle of the crisis that takes place in the 1993 Steven Spielberg movie. Central to the game is that fake Barbasol shaving cream can carried by dinosaur-letter-outer Dennis Nedry, which he dropped as he met his end in his Jeep, above the road to the East Dock. Nedry died attempting to deliver the embryos to a rival genetics corporation, betraying his employers at InGen. But he wasn’t the only person tasked with the safe removal of those embryos from Isla Nublar.

The game opens with two such characters, who were tasked with locating Nedry and his stolen embryos and extracting them from the park. The action also follows Dr. Gerry Harding, the Jurassic Park veterinarian, and his visiting daughter. As one might expect, amid the chaos of dinosaurs escaping their pens that ensues later in the evening of the first day in which the game takes place, most of the characters find themselves stranded, dodging dinosaurs and hoping to be rescued.

So dinosaurs escape, and the game consists of three elements: dialog cutscenes which are either minimally interactive or not at all; player-solved puzzles in the standard Telltale style; and QTE-laden scenes of escaping dinosaur attack. Since “QTE” is very nearly a dirty word in gaming these days, we’ll start with that.

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2 Comments on Jurassic Park: The Game Review

Luther

On December 1, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Thanks for the review, I was looking forword to this game but felt a bit worried about it too, I think I’ll grab it when a awesome deal comes by on steam for it.

brunopessoa

On December 17, 2011 at 7:21 pm

well… i surprised with that note!! i thought you would give not more than 4, almost is pretty high to this crappy game