LEGO Jurassic World – Review

Title   LEGO Jurassic World
Developer  Traveller's Tales
Publisher  Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platform  Windows PC, Xbox One, PS4 (reviewed), Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita, Nintendo 3DS
Genre  Action adventure
Release Date  June 12th, 2015
Official Site

legojwrev1If there’s one reliable constant on this toxin-smothered space rock of ours, it’s that if you close your eyes for more than a few seconds a LEGO game will appear behind you like some creeping horror, wearing the skin of something you love. This time, thanks once again to Traveller’s Tales, we have closed the mirrored bathroom cabinet to discover LEGO Jurassic World standing behind us. As with any LEGO game, it’s more about the appeal of the franchise it’s aping than daring leaps and pirouettes in gameplay. If you don’t like the subject matter, then you only need to wait a few months when the next skin arrives. This time at bat – and taking a surprisingly long time to make an appearance – are the Jurassic Park films, here under the umbrella of the latest addition, Jurassic World.

Featuring all four films, Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Jurassic Park 3, and Jurassic World, the game is actually pretty ambitious – after all, the films bounce between two major locations (and a few ancillary ones), each sizeable in its own right, and you will spend the lion’s share of your time on Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna. You start off with the dino-amic duo (yes, I went there) of Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler on Isla Nublar and have only the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World stories open to you – The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 needing to be unlocked through play. Anyone familiar with the original film/book will know the story of the world’s most ambitious (and, arguably, arrogant) science project/exploitative commercial park, and its descent into chaos as the park is hit by storms and espionage/sabbotage, leaving the guests at the mercy of the island’s inhabitants.


Sticking to the LEGO playbook, you’ll have to tackle the story mode first before Freeplay mode becomes accessible, which then allows you to backtrack and tackle puzzles and comb areas for secrets with the benefit of different characters and their abilities. Many abilities are shared by a wide number of characters, which is useful, but some are rarer, meaning that significant progress needs to be made through more than one world before you’ll have every skill required to winkle out all the extras (Red/Gold Bricks, Minikits, Workers in Peril, etc.) An interesting, if not predictable, insertion this time out is the introduction of playable dinosaurs.

Finding a piece of hidden amber on each level allows you to unlock various species to be used in Freeplay mode, although only the small and medium, dinos can be switched to – larger species, such as the Rex and the Brachiosaurus, have to be summoned through one of several special pads around the park.

legojwrev3The dinos have various skills, too, which just makes getting to those tantalising secrets even more convoluted (and you’ll likely be running to the internet more than once to find out who has what ability and where you can unlock them/it). Raptors can pounce and pull themselves up to high platforms, the Dilophosaurus can spit poison to dissolve special rocks, and Stegs and Trics can charge cracked rocks, smashing them open. It’s amusing enough, but when you have to unlock not only people but now dinos in order to piece together the right cluster of skills to get the damn multiplier Red Brick that you need it can be faffy, time-consuming, and often enraging. But that’s LEGO games for you. Faffy, time-consuming, and often enraging. With the sheer amount of skills now on offer, it would have been refreshing to have had more than one way to solve certain puzzles, giving things a less linear feel, but sadly not so.

By now, anyone not down with these games will likely pass – if you don’t love them, unless the subject matter is a real draw, you likely never will. With so many fixed staples, the series doesn’t move much from its formula from game to game, and it is only the ingenuity with which the devs skin up the gameplay and integrate it with whatever series they are tackling that is the big difference. One exception, however, is the all-important hub. These have come a long way from the modest university of LEGO Indiana Jones, or the Batcave/Asylum in LEGO Batman, and are crucial parts of the LEGO games, facilitating transitions between worlds and story segments, unlocking characters, allowing the purchase of extras, and acting as sandboxes in their own right, often with secrets of their own. Over the years they have grown in size and complexity, and if LEGO The Hobbit’s world was confusingly vast, then LEGO Jurassic World’s is similarly monstrous. Like Hobbit, I often found it as inconvenient and, at times, annoying as much as I did charming.

As with the aforementioned game, one doesn’t just simply walk from one story point to the next anymore. Instead, much problem solving and character swapping is involved in order to unlock gates and traverse the environment in order to just get from A to B. It adds more length and makes the whole thing, hub included, feel more involving, but it can be tiring, especially when you just want to get on with things. Jeff Goldblum’s chest hair and wisecracking waits for no one.

legojwrev4I also, for perhaps the first time, found a real issue with finding basic LEGO game elements – I’m not talking about secrets here, I mean the basic stuff. Usually LEGO games make it pretty easy to leap to where you want, and find and do what you want in terms of purchasing upgrades, characters, and extras that you’ve unlocked, etc. This time out, for some reason, it felt like I was constantly flailing about, looking for the right place to do/find things. Whether this was down to the scale of the hub, as opposed to, say, LEGO Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, I don’t know, but it made the basic game staples seem fragmented and less accessible, somehow – at least at first.

With two islands to contend with, trying to jump quickly to exactly where you want to be can be irritating. To avoid trekking between (and across) islands, I found myself having to pop into story Freeplay mode in a location near to where I wanted to go, then quit out in order to jump directly to that particular island/part of the map. While you could jump to certain points on the same island, if you are on the other it wasn’t possible without returning to the manual transition point (falls, docks, monorail) and then going from there once you reach the destination island – it felt like one step too many. While it may not seem like a big deal, this should not have been an issue, especially as, later on, you’ll be bouncing to and fro like a drunk Weeble, hitting up numerous areas to unlock the characters, vehicles, and dinos needed to beat certain puzzles and snag those extras. That the fast-travel was, at times, frustrating and felt limited was a pisser, to say the least.


Thankfully, if you choose to trek around, there is much to see, with the game looking damn fine. See past the LEGO figures and endless smashables for a moment and look at the water, the trees, the backgrounds… all rather lovely, and both evocative and effective in bringing the park and the films we know and (mostly) love to life. Sad, then, that the sound pulls the whole affair down, somewhat. Casting off the mute days of old, LEGO Jurassic World, like others before it, has real speech, much of which is lifted from the films themselves. Which is both good and bad. Good because, hey, Malcolm’s sarcasm and Muldoon’s smart, no-nonsense dialogue are things I could listen to all day… bad because of the way they in which they seem to have been integrated.

legojwrev6The film clips are noticeably different in quality to the scripted game stuff. They are mumbly and muffled, sounding like the cast was speaking through a coffee-can telephone underwater, which was a crushing disappointment when the dialogue was, at times, more outstanding than the dinos themselves in the films. And that soundtrack is beautiful… but it is overused to the point it starts to grate and that fucking horrified me. It is beautiful, uplifting, and hardwired into my being as something I love … so it was quite an accomplishment that it had me teetering on the edge of being fed up of hearing it.

Otherwise, things are mostly on the right LEGO track; smash, build, and solve your way through the levels, weather a few chase sections – this game was made for the LEGO template in this respect, what with so many things to run away from in a variety of vehicles and environments. As good as they looked, however, there are only so many jungles/maintenance sheds/garagey areas that you can stand before the whole thing feels a tad samey and even dull. Obviously the locations are faithful to the films, but here, in a game (and lacking the tension and thrill that often came with those areas), it just provoked a ‘more of the same’ feel, which wasn’t great – especially when you know you’ll be trawling through these locations repeatedly.

The traditional slapstick pratfall humour is here in abundance, and although the game has been toned down (no one is really chomped) it does family-friendly in a way that isn’t patronising, playing to the typical LEGO humour to avoid real dino carnage. That said, the lack of any real tension was a shame – although this has never been the forte of LEGO games, it was much missed and added to the feeling that something was missing.

legojwrev7The characters’ skills have been pulled smartly from their film counterparts in (mostly) logical ways: Lex can hack terminals and hit targets with her baseball, Tim plays the requisite ‘small person who fits through those vents’ role, while Grant cuts vines with his raptor claw, Ellie dives into piles of dino poo, and Muldoon tracks and shoots shit. Even Malcolm has his uses; although his ‘follow the sequence’ board equations seem somewhat silly, his flare ability was a smart fit.

Paying suitable homage to the series, Traveller’s Tales have pulled off a great game, moulding the world and characters around the LEGO endoskeleton to the point where they (and the skills and abilities) seem to be the perfect fit. Although there are a number of irritating things trapped in the amber here, it doesn’t stop the game from being a charming, entertaining experience. While nostalgia can be blinding, here Traveller’s Tales have brought it to life in a way that pays tribute to films we love while making it genuinely fun to sink time into, despite its frustrations. LEGO does indeed find a way.

  • It’s the Jurassic Park series – FINALLY
  • In this world Bob Peck’s awesome gamekeeper character, Muldoon, lives. Take that, Spielberg.
  • That score
  • Seeing the familiar characters and scenes come to life was very enjoyable
  • TT have moulded the world and its characters almost perfectly around the robust LEGO endoskeleton.
  • Humour was actually decent, although still mostly pratfalls and facepalms
  • Backgrounds and water look gorgeous
  • Much to do and see… this game will devour your time faster than Nedry can empty a vending machine
  • That beautiful score is massively overused to the point it was starting to grate and that is unforgiveable
  • The audio lifted from the films sounded at odds with the rest of the sound – muffled and messy, it was a real let down for what is a key part of this series of films
  • Fast travel could have been a hell of a lot better, meaning that it was…
  • Faffy and fiddly at times, getting from A to B
  • Lacked tension
  • Due to the fidelity to the films, many environments felt pretty samey, i.e more jungle/trees
  • Combat stuff could be tedious
  • Time for TT to give us more than one way to solve puzzles?

It’s a LEGO game. That means you should know what to expect by now – smash, build, collect, solve, and repeat - and most gamers either love or hate it. As with every LEGO game, how enjoyable it is can been pretty subjective – if you love whatever series/films/characters they are focussing on, then it’s a good bet you’ll likely enjoy the game.

With LEGO Jurassic World the islands, stories, and characters have been moulded well around the sturdy LEGO framework, making it an easy transition from films to game. Given the over-abundance of characters/dinos and abilities, it can seem overwhelming at times, especially when hunting down extras and discovering that you need yet one more elusive skill, but it means that there is certainly more mileage here, especially if you are inclined to go for a max and winkle out every secret the islands have to offer. Shame though that with the number of skills available, there wasn't a more open approach to puzzles. Sooner or later it feels like TT will have to go down this route to keep things fresh.

Indeed, with two islands and a myriad of locations spanning four films, it does feel more meaty than many of it predecessors and it will take some time to properly work through.

However, a few issues rear their heads to mar an otherwise enjoyable experience, noticeably the faffing about with traversing the islands, and the canned sound of the films’ audio. As parts of the whole however, they don’t detract too much from the enjoyment and entertainment to be had, despite a number of frustrations and samey environments. Seeming to take forever to make Jurassic Park in LEGO form, Traveller’s Tales have ultimately done a fine job. Spared no expense.

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One Comment

  1. Rook says:

    What I found annoying about the game is the map info kiosks dotted around the hubs. When initially playing through the story mode and moving through the world to the next level you would see map info kiosks marked with an ‘i’. While I checked them once or twice at the start they showed my current location on the island, and possibly the location of the next level, I could just follow the ghost studs to get where I needed to go. Therefore, I stopped checking the kiosks but this would later become a problem.

    Once I unlocked freeplay mode,I could see a few red/gold bricks indicators on the map but only around the first couple of areas. It took a while to figure out it was because I had checked the map kiosks at the start that they brick indicators were showing. With 4 hubs to represent the 4 different movies it meant going through them all again trying to find the kiosks. And there are a lot; 36 in total and I only had 2 or 3 checked from the start. Thankfully, they also served as progress trackers for collectables in each area as well as fast travel stations across the 4 hubs.

    If games still came with manuals them maybe we could have been informed about the importance of the map kiosks. Still, aside from this gripe, the game was enjoyable and collecting everything wasn’t a chore like in some other LEGO games. The bonus level was less engaging though.

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