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Return to Jurassic Park [Jurassic World Evolution] (PS4) Review

Back in September 2018, I reviewed Jurassic Park Evolution on the PS4 over on my friend’s website, DemonVideoGame.com, which you can read HERE. Ultimately I loved the gameplay mechanics including incubating and breeding your own dinosaurs, riding around as a ranger to shoot darts or photos of the unnatural beasts and create the dino-themed tourist park of your dreams. However, my main complaint was that if you took out the ‘Jurassic Park’ name and the cameo actors, you’re left with a game with little resemblance to the iconic movies. The Return to Jurassic Park DLC hopes to rectify this by bringing back more characters, new skins, a new story, and the original Islands from the films.

I had a lot of fun with this new DLC pack, playing it through from beginning to end in one go. Personally, this is what I wanted the game to have included at launch, although with news that the original actors that played Sattler, Grant and Malcolm are back in the third ‘World’ film, now’s a great time to drop this pack as they’re all within this new DLC as well. If I’m being honest, I had more fun, and learnt the game much faster, whilst playing this expansion than I did playing the base game originally – let’s take a look at what to expect with this premium addon…

Return to Jurassic Park 1

You can finally make your own Jurassic Park!

Following the event which occurred in all three of the iconic movies, our three protagonists return to Isla Nublar along with John Hammond, the eccentric park owner who loves dabbling with dangerous things. You’ve all agreed to come back in order to both take control over the island from the unleashed dinosaurs and return it to a state in which tourists can visit once again. So, your first task is to repair all the fences, tranquilise and return all raptors to their secure pen, and rebuild the essential facilities which will hopefully protect you from any unexpected events. 

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Once you’ve restored Site A to a decent level, you’ll also get to explore Site B, Isla Sorna, as you segregate and breed new dinosaurs which can be sent over to Site A in order to boost the overall rating of the park. Following a narrative which includes taking tasks from Dr. Ellie Sattler, Dr. Ian Malcolm, and Dr. Alan Grant, you’ll work towards setting up new Jurassic Park tours (with the original design cars), generating a steady income, and maintaining the park security. 

Although you could argue that this DLC is the same as the base game – if you remove the name and characters then it’s quite generic – this expansion contains a lot of references and visuals which remind you of the iconic movies. I’ll get into the new additions later in the review but I felt like this DLC was a great homage to the original trilogy and I really felt like I was helping rebuild the official Jurassic Park and not simply setting up a random facility with extinct creatures populating it. 

Return to Jurassic Park 2

You wait ages for one and six turn up at once!

Gameplay
As I said previously, if you want to read about all the gameplay aspects of the base game (which are also used within the DLC), please check out my in-depth review HERE

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Return to Jurassic Park didn’t seem to offer many, if any, new gameplay mechanics over the base game – which isn’t a bad thing as the simulation side of the game was perfect in my opinion (once you’d got used to the controls and various processes). However, I mentioned above that I found that playing this expansion was much easier for me to get my head around and I was able to proceed through it smoother than I could the base game. Basically, Return to Jurassic Park, unfortunately, felt like a tutorial for the most part, something which the base game SHOULD have had as its tutorial back when it launched.

Don’t get me wrong, the narrative and the events which occur are fun, I loved being able to create my own Jurassic Park and re-open it for the public, but the game holds your hand almost all the way by telling you what to do and how to do it. I know there are Freeplay and Sandbox modes where you can start fresh with no help whatsoever, but the main campaign (the meat of the DLC) felt like it didn’t want me to stray off the path too much – just like in the original movie!

That being said though, as a simulation game in which you create, manage, supply, and maintain a dinosaur-infested tourist attraction, Return to Jurassic Park is awesome. I can’t recall if this was in the base game but you can even set up the Jurassic Park tour then take a seat in the car as it drives around. As the car passes various dinosaurs you have locked up, it’ll automatically start talking about the ones you’re looking at – like a real tour. Also, you can upgrade the car to allow you to take photos and capture the animals in their natural habitat – it’s all a very surreal and really fun experience. 

Return to Jurassic Park 3

Photo Mode lets you capture the mood perfectly.

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Jurassic Park
As well as the two Islands from the movies and the original tour car designs, what else do you get in the Return to Jurassic Park DLC which reminds you of the films? There are a few new buildings, including the Aviary and the infamous Visitor Center, as well as the iconic Jurassic Park gate which can be placed so your tour cars can pass through the high electric fences. Two new dinosaurs which are introduced are the Compsognathus, the small dinosaurs which we see at the beginning of The Lost World, and the Pteranodon, a flying beast who will swoop in and eat your guests if they aren’t safely contained.

Although the number of new dinosaurs isn’t as big as I would have liked, the base game already contained pretty much every dinosaur you see throughout the movies, so there’s no point in double-dipping on the species. However, what they have provided is a bunch of skins for a large number of the animals which relate to Jurassic Park, The Lost World and Jurassic Park III. So, if you want to breed a T-Rex, and who doesn’t, then you can re-skin it to look like the version in one of the movies or the standard one within the base game. It may only be a small change but it helps immerse you and makes you believe you’re really rebuilding the actual park.

In terms of the story you play through, although it does guide you quite a lot, I enjoyed the pacing and the ending to the campaign was a nice nod to the films. Plus, after playing through this I jumped into Sandbox as I felt like I had a much better grasp on the mechanics than I did previously, so if you haven’t’ played for a while or thought the base game may have been a little confusing at first, Return to Jurassic Park is a great re-entry to the game. 

Return to Jurassic Park 4

Gotta love that even in a simulation game, the individual dinosaurs have reflections…

Technical
Visually, Return to Jurassic Park – or Jurassic World Evolution in general – looks amazing. The game now contains a photo mode which lets you pause the action and get up close to the dinosaurs as they frolic around the park, and some of these beasts look incredible up close. When it rains some of them look a little ‘plasticky’ as the water creates a shine on their skin which forces it to lose some of the definition and detail, but other than that, for a simulation game the quality is great.

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The iconic Jurassic Park music is played at points in the game, bring back fond memories of watching them over and over and wishing I could be John Hammond as I shouted at the TV telling him that I could do it better than him – well, now I can! When that’s not playing you can hear the cries of your dinosaurs all around the park as they play with each other, get hungry, decide to smash down a fence, then chase my visitors around the park looking for food – it’s so beautiful. 

The voice acting is a mixed bag in my opinion. The original actors return for the voice of Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) yet not all of them were as good as each other. Surprisingly, Sam and Laura sounded great, the flow of their talking and the characters they played were exactly how I remember them.

Unfortunately, Jeff sounded more like Captain Kirk than Dr. Ian Malcolm on a number of occasions. I love Jeff Goldblum, he’s a hilarious guy, but there were so many pauses in the voice acting and it sounded like he was reading a script rather than getting in character and reading from memory. Overall, the three of them were very good but I was a little disappointed with some of the soundbites from Jeff. 

On a similar note, John Hammond makes an appearance and talks throughout the game. John was originally played by Sir Richard Attenborough who sadly passed away in 2014, meaning a new voice actor had to be brought in to voice this important character. The voice acting was fine, in terms of playing a part, but as a fan of the original movies, it wasn’t the same. I would have prefered it if the developers created a new character who was accompanying the three returning protagonists rather than have three original actors and someone trying to play the part of the fourth. 

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Official Trailer:

Final Conclusion:
Jurassic World Evolution: Return to Jurassic Park is an expansion which I believe should have been in the game from the start, serving as a tutorial to the game and introduction to the characters. It enables you to not only help the three original protagonists from the movies to rebuild the park to its ‘former glory’, but also unlock iconic buildings and dinosaurs to use in multiple game modes. Although the voice acting was a mixed bag, having three original actors from the film reprise their roles within the narrative of the new campaign was a great experience, something fans of the original trilogy will love. This game still stands as one of the best God-like simulation games on consoles so far this generation. 

Although the main part of this DLC is its campaign, which may only last around four hours if you follow everything it tells you to do, there are countless hours to be found in the Sandbox and Freeplay modes as you build your very own Jurassic Park. Whether or not this pack is worth £15.99 depends on how much you’re willing to pay for the new story and bonus items/creatures. I can tell you though that playing this expansion really got me into the game again and I’ve played it more now than I did on launch last year.

A copy of the game was kindly provided for review purposes

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Jurassic World Evolution: Return to Jurassic Park

£15.99
7.5

Final Score

7.5/10

The Good:

  • - Fun campaign which re-introduced me to the game perfectly
  • - A few iconic buildings, dinosaurs and skins themed on the original trilogy
  • - Original actors reprise their roles
  • - One of the best simulation games this generation
  • - Brings back lots of fond memories of the movies

The Bad:

  • - The campaign holds your hand a lot, guiding you every step of the way
  • - Doesn't add a lot of new features over the base game
  • - The voice acting is hit or miss
  • - Should have been in the game from the start as a 'tutorial' campaign in my opinion
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