Tag Archives: dinosaurs

Life never really finds a way in LEGO Jurassic World

It used to feel good to hit 100.0% completion in these sundry LEGO games. It was a victory well-earned, through being meticulous and dedicated and clever. You go back into levels you already played, now with a crew of varying abilities and skills, and you’d do things you were unable to prior, truly experiencing everything the level had to offer. Alas, the last few LEGO games I’ve played, specifically LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, have turned it into a real chore. I’m saddened to say that LEGO Jurassic World is also now a part of this troublesome family, and methinks this just may be the way all future LEGO games go, so allow me to predict now that I will greatly enjoy my first few hours with LEGO The Incredibles, but will be busted by the end of it. Sigh.

You may recall that I actually already played through LEGO Jurassic World some years back. Well, that was the Nintendo 3DS version, and I found it…underwhelming. A part of me hoped that its bigger console version would remedy some of the issues I had with it on handheld, and it does, but that still doesn’t mean it’s the best of the bunch and not without its own set of problems. Mel and I played it together, and that’s always fun, but the grind after completing all the levels to get every last red brick, gold brick, piece of amber, minikit, dinosaur, worker in peril, vehicle, character, and photograph is beginning to wear on my mind.

LEGO Jurassic World, despite its name, covers the first four films in the series, with each movie getting a handful of levels–roughly about 5 or 6–as well as its own minihub area to run around on and dig up collectibles. These levels are bigger and better than the 3DS version, but there’s still too many sections involving running non-stop toward the screen as a dinosaur chases from behind, and these sections are even more frustrating if you miss a collectible. Other than those, the big moments in each movie are tackled and play out, more or less, as one might expect. Traveller’s Tales still infects the narrative with its kooky humor–they love bananas and pigs–but a lot of the dialogue is taken from the movie and its quality is noticeably poor, to the point that I’d rather have this take go back to the silent pantomimed style of earlier LEGO games.

My biggest issue, early on, with LEGO Jurassic World revolved around its hub world maps and how the developers never tell you that you need to interact with a computer terminal to open up fast-traveling waypoints. For a while, I just couldn’t travel to a map area quickly, and my only solution was to load up a level and then save and exit from it, which meant sitting through several loading screens just to pop up on my island of choice. You could say I goofed a bit on that, but the blame could also go on the developers as I don’t recall other LEGO games requiring this. Also, there are multiple layers to each map that you constantly have to click through to exit back to the main game. Not really ideal, when all I wanted to do was drop on a pin on the nearest red brick.

Y’know, a lot of people like to muse about future or potential LEGO games–myself included–and I’m coming to realize that not everything can fit the mold. For instance, I’ve seen a lot of clamoring for things like LEGO Jaws and LEGO James Bond. The problem is that, often times, there’s just not enough excitement there to warrant games in these franchises. For instance, say there was a LEGO Jaws, you would get a handful of named and well-liked characters to play as, but then you’d have to spend all your time unlocking upwards of 50 no-namers like Ben Gardner or Harry Meadows, and their abilities, unlike superheroes, would be beyond bland, like interviewing witnesses or using fishing rods. That happened here in LEGO Jurassic World, wherein I mostly played as only the main characters from the films via the top two rows of the character select screen and touched nobody else except for Mr. DNA and a dinosaur when a puzzle required it…because nobody else seemed all that exciting to control, and there’s next to no experimenting.

If you are nostalgic for things adjacent to Jurassic Park, I wouldn’t recommend this. If anything, watch the films again. I have recently and can continue to put them high up on a pedestal, beacons of fun storytelling and lovable characters. Sure, you don’t get to bounce around as an ultra cute and tiny velociraptor, but that’s probably the only noteworthy difference between the films and the games. Heck, go back and play Jurassic Park on the SNES if you want something super engaging and full of tension though, in my heart of hearts, I know that those first-person sections do not hold up.

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2018 Game Review Haiku, #36 – LEGO Jurassic World

Four dino movies
In usual LEGO form
Not a clever girl


For 2018, I’m mixing things up by fusing my marvelous artwork and even more amazing skills at writing videogame-themed haikus to give you…a piece of artwork followed by a haiku. I know, it’s crazy. Here’s hoping you like at least one aspect or even both, and I’m curious to see if my drawing style changes at all over three hundred and sixty-five days (no leap year until 2020, kids). Okay, another year of 5–7–5 syllable counts is officially a go.

2015 Game Review Haiku, #50 – LEGO Jurassic World (Nintendo 3DS)

LEGO® Jurassic World™_20150402175119

Dinosaurs and man
The lack of humility
Big ideas, small game

From 2012 all through 2013, I wrote little haikus here at Grinding Down about every game I beat or completed, totaling 104 in the end. I took a break from this format last year in an attempt to get more artsy, only to realize that I missed doing it dearly. So, we’re back. Or rather, I am. Hope you enjoy my continued take on videogame-inspired Japanese poetry in three phases of 5, 7, and 5, respectively.

Decided not to endorse LEGO Jurassic World on the Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DS LEGO Jurassic World impressions

In July, I went on vacation to Walt Disney World and knew that I was going to hate the plane ride to Florida–mind you, only a two-hour plane ride at most, but two hours of hate hate hate–and thought that perhaps playing a new videogame set in a beloved franchise about terrible lizards while miles high in the air would help distract me from the fact that I was miles high in the air. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to focus too much on LEGO Jurassic World on my Nintendo 3DS due to nerves and that infrequent turbulence. Since then, I’ve dabbled at it and have, after some consideration, decided not to endorse any further LEGO videogame iterations on handheld consoles. Yup, all that build-up…for a stupid quote tie-in.

Before I truly get into it, I have tried out a few other LEGO games on my Nintendo 3DS in the past, which is a fantastic system, but one not built for the scope of these stud-collecting, brick-building adventures. LEGO Lord of the Rings for the handheld seemed fine, much better than LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes. Regardless, I was hoping by now that the different iterations on consoles and handhelds would be much more similar; alas, that is not the case, as LEGO Jurassic World feels like ten percent of what one could experience–and enjoy–on a home console, which is where I do like playing these games.

Everything is smaller, more streamlined. One might say that’s a good thing, considering that, for many, the point of the Nintendo 3DS and its ilk is for bite-size action, enough to kill a bus or train ride to work by keeping your head down and not having to speak to another human soul. However, several of the levels in LEGO Jurassic World are auto-scrollers, with someone either running or driving towards the screen, and they are finishable in under a minute or so if you don’t stumble over too many obstacles. That just doesn’t seem right, like the moment when you learn that InGen’s scientists are playing god and denying dinosaurs hormones that determine their gender. The remainder of the traditional levels are extremely linear, with little-to-no chance for exploration and discovery; also, so long as you punch and break every LEGO object along the way, you are nearly guaranteed to earn the “True Survivor” challenge, which asks you to collect a specific number of studs.

On more than one occasion, a puzzle in a LEGO videogame would bring everything to a halt. Either I wouldn’t be able to figure out what person or special ability to use to advance or missed a teeny tiny detail earlier in the level. Here, on the portable LEGO Jurassic World, there’s never been a glimpse of such roadblocks. You go into a level with only so many characters, and if you try to use something that is not for your specific ability, the game tells you who is needed right away. There’s been a few boss fights against velociraptors and the T-Rex, which boil down to quick time events.

There’s also terribly long load times in LEGO Jurassic World. I feel like it’s been ages since a load time–on a modern device–has been tedious enough to warrant complaining. I mean, this is a much smaller game, with shorter levels and less to do in each one. Why does it take over a minute to move from the visitor’s center to the outside? Or even back to the main menu? Believe it or not, but this waiting is extremely off-putting, especially when all you really want to do is get into the thick of things, collect some studs, and see some dinosaurs. Here’s how bad it is; once I finish going through all the levels for all four major film titles, I will consider the game done and take it out of my Nintendo 3DS. Yes, in a rare twist, I will not be replaying any of this game to get all the collectibles or red bricks or what-have-yous–it’s just not worth it, especially when I know that I’ll eventually get to play all of this again, but on a grander scale, with Achievements to boot.

Even though this iteration is kind of a tiny pile of dino droppings, I still plan to get LEGO Jurassic World for the Xbox 360, but only after I finish it off here, in its stunted form, as well as after I get 100.0% completion rate in LEGO Marvel, which is not being played on a handheld console. Progress on that one is slow and sporadic, but we’ll get there in the end. There’s also this forthcoming LEGO Dimensions to think about too. Gah, too many LEGO games, not enough LEGO time to get it all LEGO done. Er, wait. I think I need to rest now.

2013 Game Review Haiku, #56 – Jurassic Heart

2013 games completed jurassic heart

Girl meets large T-Rex
Find a new ukulele
Got the “good” ending

These little haikus proved to be quite popular in 2012, so I’m gonna keep them going for another year. Or until I get bored with them. Whatever comes first. If you want to read more words about these games that I’m beating, just search around on Grinding Down. I’m sure I’ve talked about them here or there at some point. Anyways, enjoy my videogamey take on Japanese poetry.

The ending to Jurassic Park: The Game is a big pile of dino droppings

There are several problems with Jurassic Park: The Game, but none bigger than its ending, and I’m going to discuss it at length in this post, so if you don’t want to be spoiled beyond Spoiled City, get out now. Just go. Put in a VHS copy of the 1993 classic Jurassic Park, play with the tracking buttons, and then sit back, soak in, and be at peace. Trust me, you’re better off; I mean, I wish I wasn’t thinking about these things, but I am. And the only way to get rid of them is to dump them here.

::insert Tyrannosaurus Rex roar::

As the remaining survivors–Gerry Harding, Jess Harding, and Nima–race to reach the boat that can take them off Isla Nublar, a choice is presented, one that’s extremely easy to make: save Jess or save the Barbasol can of dinosaur embryos. If you go for the can, Nima dies. If you save Jess, the can is stomped flat, but everyone lives to see another day. The latter is deemed the “good ending” and was what I earned first, later going back to see what would happen if you tried to grab the can before Mean Ol’ Mr. T-Rex caught wind of your antics. Right. So, they all live and are motoring away on the escape boat as that familiar tune plays. Hooray. Except Nima is pretty downtrodden and not because her partner in crime Yoder got eaten: that Barbasol can represented a way to get her and her daughter into a new life, with food and security and all the things that a mother/daughter combo need to survive. Without it, she has nothing. Gerry promises her that he’ll do whatever he can to help the both of them, but before he can work out a plan, his daughter Jess interupts to inform them about a bag full of cash she just found.

And that’s where Jurassic Park: The Game ends. No, really. It’s that, followed by the boat scooting away into the sunset and a flock of Pterodactylus passing by overhead. Roll credits. Put the controller down.

Which means we–the viewer, the player, the puppet master–are left to interpretation. And the game seems to imply that Nima will take the money found on the boat. That Gerry Harding will totally be okay with Nima taking all that money, that it’s for a good cause. For the entirety of Jurassic Park: The Game, Harding has been constantly reminding his daughter that stealing is wrong and trying to teach her to be a wiser teenager, to make good, wholesome choices. To not smoke or talk back to elders or, y’know, steal stuff. And he did all of this while dinosaurs of varying sizes and skins tried to eat them. Good for him.

But here, at the end–and granted, he did just outrun a T-Rex–he says nothing about the bag of money. Nothing about going to InGen about what happened on the island and Dr. Sorkin or anything like that. Maybe he actually does. The scene cuts away after the literal money shot, and we don’t know what other conversations the trio have as they make their way home, but that’s the game’s fault. Again, it doesn’t tell us, and so we have to go off of what is presented, which is that Nima is going to get all the money, the money she was originally going to get anyway from stealing from InGen. If Harding lets Nima take the money, he is again approving of stealing, which I’m sure Jess would find contradictory.

It’s an atrocious piece of writing, that doesn’t make sense, but comes across as extremely unlikely and Hollywood-like. I’d rather have seen them sail away without a bag of money, happy to be alive, promising each other that they would get through whatever came next, especially considering what they just survived. Maybe even Nima would become a motherly figure to Jess since her parents were not going to work it out. Of, if anything, as a wink to the first film and a meta joke to the fact that Jurassic Park: The Game is in itself a wink to a throwaway plotline, Harding could’ve acknowledged the bag of money, zipped it up, and tossed it into the water–y’know, for someone else to find. As is, the game’s “good ending” is far from good.

And all of this makes me extra nervous about Telltale Games’ forthcoming The Walking Dead game. The only light there is that in a world overrun by zombies, a bag of money is pretty much useless.

2012 Game Review Haiku, #10 – Jurassic Park: The Game

Push left to avoid
The Tyrannosaurus rex
Mash the A button

For all the games I complete in 2012, instead of wasting time writing a review made up of points and thoughts I’ve probably already expressed here in various posts at Grinding Down, I’m instead just going to write a haiku about it. So there.