18th Jul2015

‘LEGO Jurassic World’ Review (PS4)

by Phil Wheat

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By now everyone knows what they are getting from a LEGO video game… LEGO Jurassic World sees TT Games recreate the epic storylines of Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III, as well as the blockbusting Jurassic World; in the first video game where players are be able to relive and experience all four Jurassic films reimagined in LEGO form.

Key scenes and action sequences from the films are presented here, allowing gamers to play through key moments and giving them the opportunity to fully explore the expansive grounds of Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna. And for the first time, the characters speak with their own voices, using vocal snippets from the movies to help tell these LEGO stories.

It’s safe to say I’m a huge TT Games/LEGO video game fan, from the very first time I picked up and played the first LEGO Star Wars game on PS2 I was hooked. Since then I have bought each and every game on day one of release, be it a console or handheld title. I’ve loved the likes of LEGO Batman and its two sequels; the LEGO Ninjago games on the 3DS – which have reached the same level of fun, humour and playability as their big-brother counterparts; LEGO Harry Potter; LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (although I did have issues with that games open-world format); hell, I even loved LEGO Rock Band!

But for me not all the LEGO games are as successful as others. The LEGO iterations of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, the Pirates of the Caribbean game and (sadly) the two Indiana Jones games didn’t quite gel for me. And LEGO Jurassic World doesn’t either.

Graphically there’s zero complaints, after all TT Games know what they are doing by now – even on the current-gen systems – there’s absolutely no reason for there to be any issues with the look of the LEGO worlds we, as gamers, can play. The gameplay mechanic hasn’t changed either – collecting LEGO bricks, completing levels and making sure you’ve uncover as many hidden items and collectables as possible is still the name of the game. But, and this is my qualm with all of the movie-related LEGO video games (bar the actual The LEGO Movie video game), the fun factor is missing.

Sticking to a rigid storytelling format, especially here where actual soundbites from the movie are combined with the traditional LEGO video game format, kills all the fun and humour of these games – even when developers TT Games add humour that isn’t in the original source material! How the superhero LEGO video games, even though they too are based on licensed material, can be so much fun and, most of all, REALLY funny and the other licensed properties are not is a mystery. Maybe it’s something to do with the amount of control the licensor has? Or maybe it’s the need to tell each and every story beat? Whatever the reason, it’s why, for me, LEGO Jurassic World fails as a fun LEGO title.

This time round though there are more issues at play. The voice sound bites don’t gel well with their onscreen characters, often taking you out of the “LEGO” experience and reminding you this is licensed title (if that makes sense). Then there’s the larger, more non-linear, aspect to the level design. The setting of Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna is a vast one, which means you can actually spend more time collecting LEGO bricks and destroying scenery than actually playing the story portion of the game. It’s the same issue I had with the open-world format of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. Open world, or in this case larger world, does not equal a better LEGO video game experience sadly.

I really wanted to like LEGO Jurassic World, I really did. That’s why it’s taken me so long to pen this review – I bought this on day one and I’ve played hours and hours of this title in the hopes that it would click with me and provide me with the same fun as the likes of LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Batman et al. But it didn’t. But that’s not to say I’m abandoning the LEGO franchise, hell no! After all, we’ve got LEGO Avengers coming out soon…

LEGO Jurassic World is out now on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita and PC.

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