Review: Lego Jurassic World (Wii U/3DS)

Once again, TT Games… Finds a Way.

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 07/21/2015 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1-Up Mushroom for...
Great Humor; Terrific Sound; Faithful Recreations
Poison Mushroom for...
Traditional Lego Formula; Some Weak Characters; 3DS Version Omits a Lot

I can still remember my parents taking me to see the original Jurassic Park. While Jurassic World is currently toppling box office records, no film in the franchise has been able to quite match that experience of seeing the original in theaters. Jurassic Park is an unquestionable masterpiece, and probably one of the most quotable movies of all time. When I heard Warner Bros. and TT Games were going to give the franchise the Lego treatment, I was ecstatic, to say the least. The developer has a proven track record, and I couldn’t wait to see them handle one of my favorite films. Once again, the team at TT Games has found a way to prove themselves masters at their craft.

The title Lego Jurassic World is a bit misleading. While the game does follow the events of the new movie, it actually follows the entire Jurassic Park film franchise; all four movies are represented in the game. Knowing that the original film will likely appeal the most to players picking up the title, developer TT Games smartly offers players the chance to start up Jurassic Park or Jurassic World very early on. After arriving at Isla Nublar, players can either elect to continue following the events of the first film, or start up Jurassic World. After completing Jurassic Park, The Lost World is unlocked, then Jurassic Park 3 after that.

Lego Jurassic World delivers a faithful recreation of each film’s major events. Everything from the attack in the Tyrannosaur Compound, to the kitchen scene with the raptors is recreated, and it’s all accompanied by voice samples taken directly from the films. Of course, given that the title is rated “E,” some compromises have been made. Each of the deaths from the movies has been written around, often with very funny results. For me, one of the greatest joys in the game was guessing exactly how those characters would be written out of the story, without seeing them chomped into Lego bits. The writing in Lego Jurassic World is very clever, with tons of in-jokes and cameos highlighting the gameplay. All of those little flourishes make Lego Jurassic World a joy to play, and it’s the reason that TT Games is one of the best developers of licensed games in the business.

While Jurassic Park and Jurassic World are pretty well regarded, the same can’t often be said for The Lost World or Jurassic Park 3. While both are serviceable films, neither offered quite the same level of wonder that the original had. It would have been easy for TT Games to phone in these segments, or leave them out of the game entirely. Instead, the development team shows those films the same level of reverence. As a result, I might have actually enjoyed these segments more than I liked the films themselves! The Lost World segment in particular boils the film down to its best moments, cutting out a lot of the fluff and offering some of the best action in Lego Jurassic World. It also had me actually anticipating one of the film’s silliest moments, because I knew it would be a better fit in the Lego world than it was in the movie itself. I was not disappointed.

Many of the game’s minifig characters have been given some very clever weapons and abilities. Alan Grant has a raptor claw he can use to cut through certain objects. Ellie Sattler can water plants and search for items inside dinosaur droppings (seriously). Ian Malcolm can light areas with a road flare. Tim Murphy has night vision goggles. The game also allows players to control the dinosaurs themselves. The dinos are fairly similar to the big figures from previous Lego games; they can smash certain objects, and take out enemies more quickly than smaller characters can. They can also be customized, which seemed to be a popular option on Miiverse.

Unfortunately, not all of the game’s minifigs are as well thought out. Because Lego Jurassic World has you retracing the biggest moments from each of the films, sometimes the player ends up having to take control of a minor or nameless character to move the story forward. The franchise simply doesn’t have the same diverse lineup of characters offered by other Lego games. Instead of enlisting the Flash or Thor to start up electric panels, Lego Jurassic World gives you a generic park employee with a cattle prod instead. It really exposes the fact that, while the Lego games are always fun, the gameplay doesn’t change all that much between titles. If you’ve become tired of the Lego game format, this title isn’t likely to win you over.

While it wasn’t a persistent problem, I did notice a few odd glitches in the home console version of Lego Jurassic World. These were few and far between, but occasionally, my Triceratops would start floating in mid-air, or a character would get stuck in water. These problems were quickly fixed by switching between playable characters, but they did lead to some confusion. It’s not a problem I’ve run into in other Lego games before, including the 3DS version.

Lego Jurassic World offers a very similar experience on both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. For the most part, they’re essentially the same game. Unfortunately, the handheld version has seen some compromises made in order to accommodate the format. Levels are shorter than they are in the console version, and story bits are omitted or glossed over as a result. This has apparently become common with the handheld versions of the Lego games. When I reviewed last year’s Lego Batman 3 on 3DS, I didn’t notice until after I finished the game that the story was a condensed version of the console game. It was a little bit easier for TT Games to pull off since Lego Batman 3 featured an original story. Because Lego Jurassic World is based on a series of films that are very well known, it’s a lot more glaring, here. The cinema scenes also look washed out on the handheld. The 3D is nicely utilized, but it isn’t used at all for the cinema scenes (likely because they’re recycled from the console versions). While I was disappointed by how much the 3DS game cut out from the console version, I did prefer the shorter levels that the handheld game boasted. Sometimes it feels like levels in the console game could be broken in half, though the provided checkpoints make that a minor quibble.

Fans of the Jurassic Park franchise would do well to check out Lego Jurassic World. The title is a joyous celebration of the films from a developer known for getting the most out of a license. If you’re a fan of the Jurassic Park films and you aren’t sick of the Lego formula, Lego Jurassic World is a great title. Our “B” grade applies to the Wii U version, while the handheld version receives a “B-.” The console version is the clear winner here, but Jurassic Park fans are sure to find something they’ll enjoy no matter which version they choose.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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