Is Jurassic Park an Evolution of Telltale Games? [Jurassic Park: The Game Review]

By Rich Shivener in Reviews
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 10:00 am
T-Rex playing with her toys.
As evidenced by Back to the Future: The Game, Telltale Games has a knack for adapting blockbuster movies. Beautifully, it brought Doc and Marty back to pop culture, offering an original story coupled with fun point-and-click puzzles.

Can the same idea work more than once for Telltale Games?

Definitely. Enter Jurassic Park: The Game, a four-episode adventure that returns to Isla Sorna, more than 100 miles from Costa Rica. For better or worse, it's an evolution of Telltale Games, and a new chapter in the Jurassic Park series. Grab it if you enjoy intense, interactive cutscenes (think Heavy Rain) and lots of crazy dinos, including T-Rex. Hand it back if you like difficult puzzles and lighter fare from the Telltale catalog.

I say go with the former.
Jurassic Park: The Game has several narrative threads, shifting focuses on mercenaries, an injured thief, Dr. Harding and his daughter, as well as others they meet along their escape routes. Know the first movie? Like it, the game is a tale of humans surviving against rampant dinosaurs in a once-secure park, suffering from power outages and faulty communications.

Maybe it's my experience, but the puzzles of Jurassic Park: The Game were much easier than those of such offerings as Tales of Monkey Island and, in fact, BTTF: The Game; in this game, the characters do not move unless you send (click) them to another 'scene' to investigate dino tracks, a crash landing, a computer, among other things. No need to click and drag a character around or check your inventory and combine items (i.e. wasting time). Oftentimes, you are navigating dialogues, chases (Raptors! Fuck!) and manipulating items (e.g., helicopter batteries, radios, a roller coaster) in time-sensitive environments. Plus, the characters can die, restarting you at the last save point, or cutscene.

Did you hear that?

Qualms for some gamers: It plays like a movie, and it lacks a hint system, a comfortable feature in other Telltale games. Right are those who think its cinematic narrative overshadows its gameplay. Such line of thinking, however, is nothing new to Telltale Games. Those who are curious need look no further than the Sam & Max series or Tales of Monkey Island.

Unlike the aforementioned titles, however, Jurassic's graphics are less cartoony and so sharp, you might seriously consider the possibility of a T-Rex crashing through your screen. Voiceovers and visuals, that is, compensate for its compact gameplay.

Xenodochial gamers might enjoy Jurassic Park: The Game as a movie disguised as a video game. What if this is the new future of video games? You've seen the reviews of Heavy Rain and Uncharted 3, champions of interactive narratives. Zesty as they are, they have carved a nice home for Jurassic Park: The Game, a wild evolution.

The Official Verdict: 4 out of 5

This review is based on a Mac copy of the game provided by the publisher.

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