Since the novel first hit in 1990, I have been absolutely enraptured with the world of Michael Crighton’s Jurassic Park. Since the first release of the book, Jurrassic Park has seen four movies, another novel, ten series of comic books, a theme park ride, and numerous video games. Even though many feel that the entire premise of a dinosaur theme park had been driven into the ground, Telltale Games has decided to resurrect the Jurassic Park corpse and (attempt to) breath some life into the franchise with their latest release, Jurassic Park: The Game. Has Telltale Games done what was originally done in the novel and brought back to life an ancient lifeform that is worthy of praise, or is this game better left as a buried fossil, never to be seen again? Let’s take a look with my full review of Jurassic Park: The Game for the PC.
The story of Jurassic Park: The Game runs parallel with the original novel. You play as various other park inhabitants that are stuck on Isla Nublar. The characters are all new creations for the game and have never been mentioned in the novel nor the original movie. The characters are thrust into the actions the night that Dennis Nedry tries to escape with the shaving cream can of embryos and it all goes downhill from there, as the dinosaurs are released into the park.
You never interact with any of the characters from the original storyline. All of the new characters are truly forgettable creations and are very one dimensional – from the mercenary paid to get the embryos from Nedry, to the gruff military man that InGen sends in as a rescue team. The voice acting is bland and annoying, which really hurt me because TellTale Games have always been known for their outstanding attention to characterization and voice detail.
Jurassic Park: The Game is a story of survival above all else, and it tells it through mediocre voice acting and bland characters that I just don’t care about. The original story had so many interesting characters that a reader would truly care if any one of them lived or died. Jurassic Park: The Game, unfortunately, could not pull of the same writing and characterization that the original novel could. Ultimately, the story of Jurassic Park: The Game did not bring anything new to the table for the Jurassic Park franchise to work with.
TellTale Games is well-known for their point and click adventure games. Not hearing anything about Jurassic Park: The Game before it hit my inbox, I was expecting the solid tried and true game play that I have come to know from TellTale Games. What I got was a rude surprise.
Jurassic Park: The Game’s whole game play is based on quick time events. You are playing an interactive movie to where you get to press a certain key to avoid danger. I was absolutely floored when I played the first chapter and all I did was press the key that the game asked me to press. I cannot believe that some one at TellTale Games decided to make an entire game based on the absolute worse game play mechanic ever created, the quick time event. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the story and the characters were at least interesting to follow and watch, but with the mediocre storyline that the game is telling, the quick time event game play just bored me to tears.
There is some minimal investigation that needs to be done to solve problems, like looking for a way for the character to steal passes in order to enter the park. But these sections of investigation ultimately lead to quick time events that serve as the bulk of the game. What this game truly needed was much more investigation sequences and far, far fewer quick time events. I could understand the events for moments of dodging velociraptors, but using the quick time events to use a machete to cut a path through the jungle is just unforgivable.
I have already touched on the voice acting earlier in this review, so let’s go ahead and finish up that discussion. The acting isn’t horrible, just not all that great. It serves the purpose for telling the story, but that’s about it. I feel that the actors just didn’t really get into their parts at all and this was such a shame, since I had always equated TellTale Games with great voice acting, such as in the Sam and Max series and as recently as the Hector games.
Jurassic Park: The Game in a pure graphics sense is looks bare and unimpressive. The motions of the characters are quite clunky and the environments don’t have a lot of detail to them. The actual character models do look nice and make up for some of the downfalls, but for a Jurassic Park game, I felt that the environment needed to shine and be stunning to look at.
Overall, Jurassic Park: The Game is an unremarkable and easily-forgettable experience. With quick time events being the prevalent game play mechanic, the player will find no need at all to think about anything while playing the game, just hit the button the game tells you to and watch the action unfold. The action, however, is also unremarkable as the storyline tells a similar story that the original novel told, but with far less interesting characters. The graphics are bare and sparse looking, thought the character models do look nice and the voice acting works for the job at hand. Even as a fan of the original novel, I was hoping for something more here, but Jurassic Park: The Game ultimately fails at the one thing that is most important in any video game, it just isn’t any fun to play.