Platforms: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, PC
With Colin Trevorrow’s trilogy capping Jurassic World: Dominion in another seven months, dinosaur fans may feel a reptilian-shaped hole in their entertainment life. Fear not: Frontier Development is here to bring together the equivalent of five genetic accident films, plus an original campaign, into one thrilling… uh, business simulation?
No, wait, come back! Yes, Evolution 2 – like its 2018 predecessor – is primarily a management game, but it packs enough of it that even players who normally run around shouting from a descending grid can find something to enjoy. After all, you’ve probably never had to calm a fleeing triceratops from a helicopter in Sim city, Have you got?
The main campaign takes place the day after Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, with dinosaurs now roaming the wild on the continental United States. Guided by Claire Dearing and Ian Malcolm (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard and Jeff Goldblum, adding a touch of star power to the game) – plus a sound not very much like Owen Grady in Chris Pratt’s absence – you’ll save dinosaurs and them. move to new enclosures for their own protection.
These are the sections where the game comes to life more than many other sims. You’ll be able to take direct control of ranger teams and their vehicles, browsing the maps extensive enough to spot stray dinosaurs, mark their locations and, yes, sedate them for safe transport. It’s a mechanic that adds a lot more immersion than most city or park building games, allowing you to be a part of the world, rather than remaining an all-knowing god overlooking the world.
While you are in divine omniscient mode, Evolution 2 proves its credentials as a management simulation. All the facilities one would expect from building a dinosaur park are here to be experienced, from variable fences to hold creatures of various sizes, to a plethora of maintenance and splicing research facilities. from genes, to environmental tools that allow you to create suitable habitats for each species. However, it is not just about geo-mapping: scientists must be recruited to carry out research, new types of facilities can be developed, and a host of other highly specified features can be invested.
As the stories unfold, the campaign is perfectly adequate but feels somewhat held back by being caught between the events of two blockbuster films, unable to knock over carts of apples. Ultimately, this is a glorified tutorial for the game at large, and the pace at which it gives access to some of the more interesting facilities and search strings can be frustrating.
Or Evolution 2 really does come to life though Chaos Mode – think And if… ? : Jurassic Park Edition. As you delve into the events of the five films of the 1993 original, you’ll be tasked with playing through key storylines, with the potential to change the outcome of events. However, the clue is in the name – chaos usually reigns, as you’ll be faced with escaped dinosaurs, unpredictable weather conditions, and other random factors that test your time and resource management skills. It is perhaps at the other extreme that the countryside, often threatening to be overwhelmed by the amount of thing to do when everything inevitably starts to go wrong, but fans of the movies will love the chance to tackle major events on screen.
The sheer complexity of Evolution 2 creates frustrating obstacles that can slow down an already methodically paced game.
Sandbox mode, which functions more like a “pure” construction simulation, provides a balance between Campaign and Chaos. Any genetic research, setups, decorations, and – of course – dinosaurs unlocked in other modes are automatically available here, and rhythm is basically what you do when trying to build the most successful setup.
Unfortunately, the very complexity of Evolution 2 creates frustrating roadblocks that can slow down an already methodically paced game. Even moving dinosaurs between enclosures – to separate prey from predators, for example – apparently still requires the beasts to be sedated and then airlifted, each time, for each individual creature. While there is a less strenuous route, it is buried in an overabundance of menus – and the little text that goes with them – beyond easy or logical access. While time could be sped up to pass the time for scavenging, researching, or building tasks, there are many actual in-game tasks that could be streamlined.
Maybe ‘complexity’ isn’t the word – most of the time, Evolution 2 just feels bogged down in a busy job. The installations are low on fuel and have to be recharged manually. Dinosaurs get sick, or sometimes injured if they fight, requiring manual intervention to send them vets. The workers in your parks and reserves often need to be put to rest. These tasks and dozens more add up and end up looking like distractions from the more interesting aspects of building a park. The fact that all of these minor activities cost money can also quickly slide you into virtual bankruptcy, triggering what seem like impossible scenarios.
For those with a lasting passion for cinema Jurassic, Evolution 2 will always be a welcome distraction between movies. Frontier has the almost impeccable world tone, and the Chaos Mode in particular is a great addition. Sadly, there’s just a little too much frustration scattered throughout the game’s myriad of systems for it to really impress.