Published on November 20th, 2011 | by Charlie0
Review: Jurassic Park: The Game (PC)
Summary: Charlie takes a look at Jurassic Park: The Game (PC), is it any good? read the review to find out!
Telltale are sort of like Valve (in a way) as they can’t seem to release their games on time. This was the case with Jurassic Park, where people on Steam had to wait a further 7 hours extra on the day of this games release. But at least this game was only delayed a few hours and not a few weeks. Jurassic Park: The Game is set out across four episodes all bunched together as one game package, whereas Back to the Future: The Game (also done by Telltale) was five episodes spread out across almost a year. From the entire game itself, I think it was a good choice that Telltale released all the episodes together in one complete package, because I don’t think the game would have held out if they were released separately across the months. Do not get me wrong, I had fun playing the episodes, and I sure as heck would love Telltale to do more of these, but in terms of effort, it feels like Telltale put in a little less than their usual work.
The game itself starts right in the middle of the first Jurassic Park film. You’re first introduced to a woman, running through the jungles of Isla Nublar, carrying what looks like a canister. She’s badly hurt and barely survives an attack by some dinosaurs. She almost get’s knocked down by a car, where the game soon goes back a few hours earlier. You’re then introduced to Gerry (you might know him from the film as the man who tended to the sick Triceratops… although he had a mustache then) and his 14-year-old daughter Jessie. Not much happens to them, but when the scene changes, you realize who the woman from the beginning of the game was. She is called Nima, and she’s a corporate spy who has been sent to find what is, to her, just a can of shaving cream. She breaks into the park with the help of Miles Chadwick after Dennis Nedry (the big fat guy who stole the Dinosaur embryos and placed them in a canister from the first film) failed to show up at the boat. However she realizes that this is not just any animal park, as dinosaurs swarm from all directions and attack the two of them. The game introduces new characters throughout the four episodes, and it’s always a question of “who dies next”? Sometimes you can predict it, sometimes you can’t. The game is also a matter of getting off the island, but for some people, it’s just not as simple as that. The story picks up well from the film, but to those who have not seen the first film may be left a bit mind foggled. I’d say you should watch, or re-watch the film first before playing as it helps a lot.
The game takes it’s gameplay mechanics from Heavy Rain, but not all of them are as successfully structured in Jurassic Park: The Game. Basically, when a button comes up, you need to press it quickly or dangerous consequences could arouse (aka death, or maybe your character may get hurt and so forth). Unlike Heavy Rain, you don’t get to move around the place. The only things you can do are to choose dialogue options, press a button when it comes up, and use your mouse to drag down tabs. You’ll also need to use the icon in the bottom left corner of your screen, which allows you to scout other areas in your current location in real time. While the mechanics work well in some areas, there are times when I’ll press a button correctly, but then I’ll fail a button which I never even knew came up on my screen. You get a tick if you hit a button in time correctly, and you’ll get a cross if you don’t, meaning sometimes crosses pop out of no where. Depending on how well you do in a button sequence will also depend what medal you earn.
- If you complete a button sequence with absolutely no slip ups, you earn a gold medal.
- If you complete a button sequence with only 1 or 2 slip ups, you earn a silver medal.
- If you complete a button sequence with 3, 4 or 5 slip ups, you earn a bronze medal.
- Any more slip ups after that, you don’t earn any medal.
A lot of the sequences are synced with the Steam achievements, and what’s good about them is that you can just go back and replay sequences without the need of playing an episode from the start, so say if you only need to get a gold medal on one sequence in episode one, you can just go back and play that one sequence. Pretty handy, huh?
With this being the PC version, I honestly thought the game would run a heck of a lot smoother than it actually does. There’s been many times that the game will suddenly lag out unexpectedly, and just to clarify, my PC can run the game as high settings, so my computer is not the problem. There were also moments in the game that a character would be speaking, and then they’ll suddenly stop talking when nobody, or no sound is interrupting them. Two people would just have a normal conversation, and then out of the blue a character never finishes their sentence. For example:
“Gerry: Jess, how-”
“Jess: I’m fine, dad.”
Maybe Telltale needs to look at their engine a bit more and see if they can spot the problem?
Graphically, the game isn’t amazing, but most of Telltale games tend to take off a more cartoonistic sort of look for their games. In a way, the graphics you see in Telltale games help you to recognize that it actually is a Telltale games. Should they start improving on their graphics? Maybe just a little because a lot of their textures seemed quite blurry. Despite the graphics, Telltale have hidden quite a few Easter eggs throughout the game (not the chocolate ones. The kind that hides little bonus items and references). Whilst I didn’t encounter many playing through the game, looking back at some footage I recorded, I can tell where I missed a few of them. It’s just a matter of finding them, and choosing the right moment to access them, as if you choose a door over a potential Easter egg, you’ll most likely walk through the door and never be able to go back to that area.
You’ll probably finish all four episodes in around 8 hours give or take. Personally I would have liked the game to span out over five episodes like Back to the Future did, because not only were we paying more money for one less episode, but the episodes themselves are around 2 hours long each. To have the episodes around 3 hours long would have made me feel like the game was worth spending £20 on. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still good that we only had to pay half the price as a full retail game for 8 hours of content (some of which is even re-playable). And although this next point is minor, I didn’t like how the game started up the next episode right after you finished one episode. I would have preferred if I could move onto an episode in my own time, but instead, it felt like the game was forcing me to play the next episode, even if I could just got to the pause menu and quit the episode.
There’s one final thing I was left disappointed about was that there was really no surprise guest appearance in any of the episodes. Back to the Future: The Game had Michael J Fox play a character in the final episode, while Jurassic Park had absolutely no one. Telltale could have at least had the voice of Richard Attenborough reprise his role for just a few sentences. I know Richard is retired now, but some great actors can be convinced. I think the only voice actor you’ll recognize is the same voice actor who crops up in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim a lot, also known as Jason Marsden.
The game is far from disappointing, but then the game is far from being brilliant. It’s a true Jurassic Park game and sticks to how the first film played out, where characters are often placed in dangerous and realistic situations. For some odd reason, I get a sense that Telltale may not want to do a sequel series, but if they do, let’s just hope they can improve on where they went wrong.