'Jurassic World: Aftermath' Review
It plays like Dead by Daylight, it looks like Borderlands, but it feels more like Jurassic Park 3 than the 1993 original.
Reviewed by Liam Noble Shearer
It's a lot like Fallen Kingdom...
I love dinosaurs. It'll no surprise for you to hear that I was energised by the trailer for Coatsink Software's Jurassic World: Aftermath. But this was only in part because of my affection for all things '-asaurus.'
It was also because my greatest fear, something I like to refer to as "the curse of the movie-game", seemed to have been avoided once again.
I'll cut a long story short: there's a lot to love about Jurassic World: Aftermath, just as there was a lot to love in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. But, also like in Fallen Kingdom, it falls just short of Steven Spielberg's 1993 classic.
The best three hours of your life?
I couldn't help but compare the visual style of Jurassic World: Aftermath to Fun Train & Stonepunk Studios' Tarzan VR™. However, Tarzan's visual style was specifically meant to pay tribute to the source material. With Aftermath, it seems like the graphic style was more practical - it's unlikely the Quest 2's complacent processing power could have handled anything else.
Aftermath handles these limitations with grace and decorum. It looks beautiful, and the game works extremely hard (notably with sound) to build a compelling atmosphere in which its thrilling gameplay can play out.
Don't get me wrong, that gameplay IS compelling. The game takes place in between Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. You play as a researcher, returning to the island in order to hunt for some research materials that have been left behind. However, your mission quickly gets side-lined by something more primal - stay alive and find a way off the island.
But the game is only three hours long. Even worse, it ends before the story comes to a meaningful conclusion; throwing up an ad for the upcoming (paid) DLC instead of anything resembling a climax or resolution. Even worse, it's almost like the game was originally even shorter. There are a couple of puzzles and interactive environments, but these seem wholly tagged-on.
Imagine if all the characters in Jurassic Park were played by Wayne Knight...
...then you'd have a good idea of the fantastic premise of Jurassic World: Aftermath - and it's fatal flaw.
Knight was hilarious as the sneaky Dennis Nedry - up to and including when he was attacked by the acid-spitting frillster Dilophosaurus. Like a Knight-only Jurassic Park would be, Aftermath is centred around Jurassic World's most famous inhabitants - the scientifically-inaccurate (yet incredibly terrifying) Velociraptors.
As I say, this is a fantastic premise. But as you play through the three-hour campaign, you'll notice that Velociraptors are a lot more compelling in the movies, when they're padded out with alternative threats and spiced up with alternative scenarios. There is no such luck in Aftermath - and even the Raptor encounters get old, fast.
Not only that, you'll quickly work out how to beat them... and it's really not that hard. Sure, if you make a lot of noise - slam a door, or run on a loud floor - they'll find you.
But these "hunters" hunt more or less solely by sound. Raptors will wander around, smell for you, search for you, but so long as you're quiet and stay out their line of sight you'll probably be fine.
The entire point of the Jurassic saga is that Velociraptors are apparently uber-intelligent, super-efficient hunters. So it would have been awesome for the game to offer you a number of strategies to contend with them. Alternatively, they could have more dynamic ways of finding you.
Instead, you'll find these encounters getting old - and fast.