Imagine, if you will: being in charge of running a park. But not just any park: one of several burgeoning Jurassic World locations, spread throughout the world. Your mission is to create unforgettable sights and living biological attractions so astounding, they will capture the imagination of everyone who visits. But as you start, you begin to realize there are problems: your enclosure is too small, the wrong type of vegetation is there, you put Ceratopsids and Stegosaurids together (a huge no no), and now one of your Suchomimuses died (for some reason you need 3 of the big guys!), which means you need to make more, otherwise the other two might get mad and attack the fences. But alas, the scientist you need to synthesize the DNA is overworked and needs to rest. And then the power runs out on the fence of the Raptor enclosure and now they are escaping! And just as you restore power and get them back, a storm rolls in! And just as you barely recover from that, one of the Pachycephalosaurus has suffered organ trauma due to fighting one another, again! Nevermind that this is the 3rd time in just a few minutes that this has happened (they seem to constantly do this!), so you need to heal him, AGAIN!
If all of this seems like exaggeration, honestly it is not too far off. Jurassic World Evolution 2 will do its best to keep you busy, but not always in good ways. There are, conversely, times of tedium and throttling that are outright annoying. Now there is a lot of good to be had, I will be fair, but I have to be honest, there is a lot that also goes wrong and I will detail that. So hold onto your butts, and let’s go on this adventure: Welcome to Jurassic World Evolution 2: An In-Depth Review! (cue Main Theme)
What do they got in there? King Kong?
For newcomers to the games, allow me to briefly explain: Jurassic World Evolution is a park building simulator, where you are tasked with creating Dinosaurs and housing them, while providing for the comfort of your guests. The first one took place on Las Cincos Muertes, where you managed parks on all five of the islands, and could even build on Isla Nublar in Sandbox or Challenge Mode. In Jurassic World Evolution 2, things have changed a bit: Instead of simply Campaign, Sandbox and Challenge modes (which Challenge was added to JWE later), there is also Chaos Theory, where you go back to the previous movies and take on challenges to improve on what could’ve been disastrous, like taking the helm of Jurassic Park (to ensure it is a hit); creating Jurassic Park San Diego (featured briefly in The Lost World); and even making sure Jurassic World is successful. I will touch on all of these modes, but I will be honest: some are SEVERELY lacking in content.
The biggest offender in this category is the “Campaign”. Set after Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom where (spoilers) a bunch of dinosaurs have been released into the wild and are now roaming North America (and somehow the world? It gets confusing, honestly. The whole idea is janky, since there was like, not even two dozen dinosaurs released total and now there are hundreds roaming America. I have a suspicion Dominion is going to be terrible and nonsensical and this is setting it up). You are tasked with assisting the Department of Fish and Wildlife to help enclose the more dangerous or temperamental dinos for safety, while observing the more docile ones in their now natural habitat. As natural as can be, given that most dinos lived in a hot, humid climate, and seeing dinos in a snowstorm makes me roll my eyes. We’ll come back to this eventually.
Anyways, the Campaign reunites you with Claire, Owen, and even Dr. Malcolm, along with the group from the first game (Cabot Finch, one of the Hammond Foundation leaders, now working with the DFW; Dr. Dua, former JWE Science Division leader and working for the CIA (maybe evil now?); Lambert, former Head of the Security Division; and Isaac Clement, former Entertainment Division leader). Dr. Woo shows up too (maybe less evil, hard to tell). You go to various locations in the US, and learn some of the basics of building a park, along with showing off some new mechanics, like finding, tranqing and bringing in wild dinosaurs, and tracking dinosaurs in the Ranger jeep. Each mission takes around 20-30 minutes and you can finish it in about 2 hours. It is little more than a glorified tutorial, with hints at something else going on, but given that it probably was supposed to be launched around Dominion (but Dominion got delayed), and was supposed to continue. For now, we are stuck with this. Very underwhelming.
For Chaos Theory, this mode offers at least more to do. Well, some do. There are 5 missions available (with a spot for a 6th curiously empty), and 3 of them are more or less standard park building. You will interact with some of the movie characters, like Hammond and Masrani, and try to build the park up to the acceptable levels. 2 missions, however, have little park building at all, with one of them a simple (and boring) tranq, scan, and ship game, repeatedly, and the other is more hopping around from place to place, doing what is essentially busy work. Truth be told, I was not a fan of either of these missions, and thought that they were not very well thought out. It seemed like they needed a Chaos Theory for each movie and ran out of ideas. One plus, however, is that Jeff Goldblum (as Dr. Malcolm) narrates the beginning of each one, and honestly, I never get tired of hearing him! All in all, this should give you a good 10+ hours or so in total, so not a bad deal.
The last game mode is Challenge mode, where you are tasked to go to different locations around the globe (though honestly it is just North America and Europe) to make Dino Parks, but with certain criteria. For example, one map doesn’t allow genetic modification, another has nearly exclusively carnivores (and you need to get to 1.5 Stars to unlock feeders!), and another one makes any negative health or combat traits cut your Dinosaurs life expectancy dramatically! There are 4 difficulties to play at, and by completing each, you unlock more skins for the dinosaurs. Depending on the difficulty, these can run you anywhere from a few hours each map, to upwards of 10 hours (if you are on Jurassic Difficulty)! Also, each biome comes with different unique challenges: desert maps create sandstorms, which can knock out your power stations (forcing you to rely on gas fed backup generators) and cause various illnesses and injuries to your dinosaurs; taiga can have snowstorms, which, while they don’t hurt your buildings, last a long time and if you aren’t careful, can cause your Amenities to lose you money. They also slow your ranger teams to a crawl and oftentimes cause some of your dinosaurs to develop hypothermia, which you have to treat at a Paleo-Medical Facility.
To supplement your income, contracts will periodically appear, giving you a condition (like build an extra amenity, take a picture of a dinosaur hunting or get x amount of money from ticket sales) in order to get a cash reward. The ultimate objective is to get to 5 Stars, which now is based solely on income per minute. All in all, while often interesting, the challenge modes were occasionally disappointing, as each map had specific dinosaurs that could be unlocked and created, with no one map having all the dinosaurs. JWE1 had all the dinos available on each challenge map and you could even randomize the unlock order for dig sites if you so chose. Also, the map design is often frustrating, as many times there were narrow areas that prevented me from making the enclosures I wanted, or having my buildings crammed in. Part of me longed for the Isla Nublar from the first one, where it was large, wide open and mostly flat, allowing me to build as I wanted. Though I did like roleplaying with my Theropod Peak map (until I ran out of room).
There is also the Sandbox Mode, but it is just there to play around with whatever you have unlocked in the other modes. That is right: to use the Sandbox, you have to play the other modes first. This seems a lot like throttling (which will become a theme), especially for those who just want to build the park of their dreams. Also, other less desirable features of the main game also creep into the sandbox, which I will also get to. Honestly, I don’t use the sandbox, since my enjoyment is in building the park as progression, unlocking things and seeing the money roll in as I do well, and my park rating improving gives me a thrill. Having all the money in the world is boring, but I know there are those out there that will love it. If you want to make your dream park, with no repercussions, go for it!
Absolutely fantastic! Spared no expense!
Well, now that we have gotten the main modes out of the way, let’s see what has been improved on, compared to the first JWE. For starters, the dinosaurs themselves! Each model has been updated, and is even more detailed than before. Even the eyes are detailed, making looking at the dinosaurs so rewarding. But the best part is the improved behaviors. In JWE1, they mostly just mosied around, and were, for the most part not very lifelike. In JWE2, however, they can be seen nuzzling each other, rubbing their faces on the ground, sitting and looking around, and their fights are much more responsive. In short, they look like actual animals! The animations on feeding are also improved, with special detail to the feeders, where carnivores grab pieces of meat, and, depending on their size, eat little bits or huge chunks. In fact the T-Rexes do the “Eddie Carr” on the Carnivore feeder, which is great to behold. There is also pack hunting in the game, where Raptors and the like will gang up on herbivores or larger carnivores, and attack en masse. But herbivores are not defenseless this time around! Even Hadrosaurs will buck and kick to get the carnivores off. Sometimes they even win! Seeing how much effort went into this, you can really see that Frontier (the developers) wanted these creatures to come alive.
Along with the improved dinosaurs, there are also a bunch of quality of life updates: Rangers and ACU Copters are now in the same building, and their aim seems to be greatly improved. There is also a tranq and move option, which is fantastic (perfect for getting those escaped stinkers back in their enclosures!). There is also now a move option for buildings, which allows you to keep a building you want, but move it somewhere else. Food, drink and shopping amenities now tell you where they are needed and how many potential customers it will have on any given path, and allows you to customize your income from them to maximize your profits (though there are some problems with it, I’ll address this later).
One of the biggest and most welcome changes, however, is that herbivores no longer need feeders! It was a weird thing to see in the first game, as Dinos were seen grazing, but they still needed food from the feeders. Now, you just need to put the right kind of vegetation down and they will feed themselves, no replenishing needed! Also the carnivores’ feeders have massive stocks, so they rarely need replenishing. Along with this is their new comfort system. Instead of the original Content/Uncomfortable scale, where the minute something is unhappy, it will instantly start bashing fences, now there is a scale of happiness, where, as long as it’s out of the red, they are fine. Now, it is always better to have them at or as close to perfect as possible, but now, you have some wiggle room with their needs, where before, it had to be perfect (or else!). Some dinos might get lonely if their social is down, but they won’t immediately attack the fences, giving you time to make some more and help them out. What is also interesting is that dinos now have expanding needs (for food and area) that scales with their population (which makes sense). Now you don’t need to worry about only being able to put one T-Rex in an exhibit; as long as it is big enough and you provide them with enough prey, you could have as many Rexes as you want! This allows you to have multiple big ticket items in one enclosure, making for some really impressive sights. There are some caveats to this (which, again, I will talk about later), but it is cool to see what can be done with this.
Another change is the incubation process. Instead of incubating one egg at a time, you now synthesize the DNA and then incubate a clutch of eggs, allowing you to create a lot of dinos at one time! Each dino now has certain good and bad traits that can come out of it (like a big carnivore can have a chance to get a Strong Trait, doing more damage, but also has the chance to have a Large Appetite, ballooning its feeding needs). To counteract the bad traits, you research different DNA from other species to either nullify or even counteract the bad traits (like making a Large Appetite carnivore suddenly have a chance to have a Small Appetite, so it needs less food than usual). Some traits can’t be counteracted, like occasionally getting Skittish (more easily panicked) on small dinos, or Aggressive (attacking other species and ranger teams) on bigger dinos, but if you don’t want that egg, you can choose not to select it. Sometimes, however, there will be a bunch of bad eggs, and you might need to start over, which is flushing the synthesis cost down the drain. This does make the dinos seem more life-like and allows for some dinosaurs to be extra special. My favorite trait is Docile, where they never attack ranger teams or guests! Imagine a Docile Indominus Rex: you could let him walk around the park and there would be no problems! You can also customize the skins a lot more than before, though the skin preview still isn’t great (can’t we just get a normal skin preview, please!?). This also shores up the problems of needing more dinos for a particularly social one, and having to create one at a time. Now, you make a batch and are (hopefully) done! Plus, the hatchery now has two very nice release options: one that releases all the clutch at once, which is very cool to watch, and release via Airlift, allowing you to make dinos and then immediately send them to their enclosures (without having to make a janky mini pen, tranq and then airlift them that way).
But now it is not just dinos in the mix: there are now pterosaurs and marine reptiles! Pterosaurs are located in the aviary, which you can customize to fit how the animals want it, and watching them soar and roost on the viewers is always great! Plus, I found out that two of the pterosaurs are found in Ceará, Brazil, a place that is very near and dear to my heart! Marine reptiles, meanwhile, are located in the Lagoon, and includes everything from small Ichthyosaurs to the massive, shark eating Mosasaurs! Watching them be released from their hatchery has an eerie feel to it, especially some of the large ones! Though I will admit: the Lagoon is not customizable and is kinda boring in and of itself. But it doesn’t hurt that both pterosaurs and marine reptiles both have high ratings, which can help out the park quite a bit. Their enclosures are a bit tricky to make perfectly, but usually they need less than you think. Actually, of the two, the pterosaurs are the only ones you really need to worry about: they are the only ones that can escape! I mean, you don’t want the marine reptiles to be uncomfortable, but they are aquatic: they can’t break out! All in all, a very welcome addition to the park.
Another welcome addition is a time control panel. Now you can pause, or fast-forward time, in order to either catch your breath or get things over with faster. Waiting on a research, incubation, expedition or construction to finish? Just speed up time and BAM! Done! It also helps to get a little extra cash during moments when the park is stable, and even to get storms over with quick, so long as everything isn’t falling apart. It allows you to get more out of the park than you could before and it helps in a lot of ways (though not without some drawbacks).
An interesting change to expeditions and extractions is that each expedition gives you more fossils and that you extract several fossils for one flat rate. It entails a grid system, which is a little tricky to get the hang of, but isn’t too hard. This allows you to get lots more DNA much faster, with much fewer trips, and lets you extract as much as you can, for the same price. It is a system that is better in some ways, but there are some aspects I don’t like (later). One neat change, however, is live capture events, where instead of finding fossils, opportunities appear to capture live dinosaurs to put in the park! These were always enjoyable, as it gives you (essentially) free dinosaurs (there is an expedition cost and scientist cost, but other than that), which are ready to go for the park!
Another interesting change is to the fences themselves. Before, given enough time, a Struthiomimus could, if uncomfortable enough, bash down a concrete wall, as little sense as that actually makes. Now, dinosaurs have a rating, and compared to the rating of the fence it is attacking, determines what happens to it. If it is at or below, the fence holds, and more often than not, the dino gets hurt. I had a particularly sad incident, where Coelophysis were constantly hitting the fences, as they had no feeder (Challenge Mode) and were getting so hurt to the point where I had to restart (it was heartbreaking, but I figured out what to do the next time around). All fences are also now electrified by default, and a neat addition is that, since they are carrying an electric current, will allow viewers to be powered as long as the fence has power. Only the biggest reinforced fences are unpowered (though why, I’m not sure, we had Electrified Concrete in the last game). Still, it is nice to have viewers that don’t need substations nearby. Plus, it provides an interesting challenge, as Raptors and the like can climb over an unpowered fence and escape! Make sure those fences are always powered.
An unusual change, present in Challenge Mode, are random events that will occur, and you decide how to handle them. For example, you could be incubating dino eggs, when an offer for a black market egg sale comes up, where you can choose to give up an egg and get over a million dollars, but sabotage risk goes up, or keep the egg and have the chance of something happening in the future. Sometimes a handler gets hurt and you can either pay and not lose face or not pay and the risk increases. My favorite was if I run low on money, occasionally a shady organization offers me $5 million, at some sabotage risk. I always take it, since usually what happens is the guests start a Bad PR Protest, which hurts ticket sales for like, a minute, then everything goes back to normal, only I’m $5 million richer! Goes to show that nothing beats the power of brand loyalty! Sometimes there are pure bonus ones, like building a building and you get extra materials so you either get cash back or you can repair all your buildings for free! Now, while these can be fun, sometimes they can hit you when you REALLY don’t want to, and sometimes can be absolutely game shattering. One time there was a “Loose animal in the building” and one option is to self sabotage the building (which you can reboot with the Ranger jeep). Only, it was the start of the game and it was my Science Center. And I hadn’t researched Rangers yet. So I had already lost. Yay. All in all, an interesting addition, but not always a welcome one. And speaking of unwelcome additions….
It’s all an Illusion!
With all the new, great additions to the game, you would think it would make this game vastly superior to the first, right? Well, not exactly. While there are major improvements to be had, they are often buried under numerous, frustrating changes. One of the first noticeable, and more aggravating is build times. Not on the buildings themselves (though some seem to take much longer than usual), but the fences! That’s right, fences now take time to make. And not just fences, but also monorail tracks! Now you might be wondering what the big deal is, but if you have played this game, you will know the necessity of having the fences up so you can get your enclosures ready. But alas, even with the lightest fences, it takes a long time to make an enclosure. And you go with a heavy fence, FORGET IT! It was one reason I never went with the heavy duty walls for fences, they take FOREVER to make, even with the fast forward! This also means editing enclosures (for the sudden event that it is too small, or I need to make room for a viewer) suddenly grinds to a halt, as I have to wait for every. Single. Part. Of. The. Fence. To. Build. One. At. A. TIME! What would’ve taken mere moments now can take upwards of 10 solid seconds with low grade fences and maybe a minute with heavy fences, time better spent elsewhere! And now, since they are no longer instant, replacing fences takes time too! Which is so stupid, as it now leaves enclosures open as they are being replaced! Now, thankfully the dinos don’t bolt for openings in the fences as often as in JWE1, but it discouraged me from replacing fences in the first place! I used to upgrade my fences often in JWE1, as I got better fences, but now?! NO WAY! NOT WORTH IT! It is equally frustrating that demolition also takes time. Why?! To make it more real?! It just wastes time! I just want the building gone! Moving a building doesn’t take time to have the spot gone, only to set it up again, which I am fine with, so why does demoing it take time?! It is so frustrating, and it only gets worse.
Another problem is the change to expeditions and extracting. While I did like some of the aspects, it now has a problem: to sell the minerals, metals and non-dino fossils, it takes the same amount of money as extracting does. You can’t sell them without paying money. This is beyond stupid, as selling these in JWE1 was an important source of income. In fact, I loved seeing how many minerals I got in each expedition, to give myself that ever important cash bump! Also, now that you get more from each expedition, the sites run out faster, making farming them impossible! You also can only have one expedition out at a time, which slows things down considerably, as you have to wait for it to get back. Before, in JWE1, you could have up to 3 teams at once, and as soon as one got back, you sent it out again. That way you always had a cash flow and were always getting something back, and it could keep you busy. Now, it is more waiting. Not to mention the expeditions now cost more. Like, WAY more. Like, it is ridiculous just how expensive they are now! One dig site for Spinosaurus can cost $4 Million! No dig site in JWE1 even came close to this! It is insane!
And speaking of money problems, Research is also WAY too expensive! Most of the low end ones aren’t bad, but when you want to get the really nice ones, forget it! Researching Indominus Rex costs $10 Million dollars! That is 10x how much it was in JWE1! I don’t even know how much Indoraptor costs, but I bet it costs even more! In JWE1, most of the time I would get everything I wanted, since the research was reasonably priced. And I didn’t even have to use the Reduced Research Cost! Now, I can’t get any of the high end items, because of how ludicrous the prices are. It’s extortion, that’s what it is! I thought this park was for everyone, not just the super rich!
One big problem that comes, which is exacerbated from JWE1, are the storms. As I mentioned, they bring an interesting dynamic to the game, but what is NOT welcome is the fact that they seem to have been considerably buffed. What once was a situation where some of your buildings might be damaged and it would annoy the dinosaurs (to the point some might try and break out), now the storms can damage fences and even gates! It also doesn’t help that, as you should, when a storm hits and you open your emergency shelters, your profits plummet. Now, yes there are less people spending money, but you shouldn’t be penalized so heavily for doing what you are supposed to. What is worse is that often late game you can lose upwards of $1 million during the course of one storm. Needing that kind of a security buffer, when everything is so expensive, is ridiculous. What is worse is that Storm Defense is now a module on key buildings, which, while it does protect those buildings from harm, do nothing to shield other buildings that get damaged. And more often than not, it is the amenities and the substations that get hit the most. Rarely did my Science Center or Hatchery get hit, but the amount of times a Hotel went down was just plain stupid! Having a 40% reduction in an area is better than having nothing for the buildings that need it most. Yet for some reason Frontier thought “Naw, that’s too easy, let’s make it harder for them!” Also, Storm Defense does NOT prevent Power Stations from being disabled by sandstorms. So saying it protects the building from storms was a blatant lie. Hooray.
Another annoyance is the addition of the Paleo-Medical Facility. While it does add a touch of realism that some injuries need professional help at a hospital, the frequency of how often dinosaurs need it is ridiculous. Many times, with either carnivores or certain Herbivores, I would be almost constantly ferrying them to the facilities, for either lacerations, organ trauma, internal bleeding or even concussions, using up valuable time and money to get it done. Honestly, I used the Tranq and Move on medical emergencies FAR more than on escaped dinos, and I was sick of it. The most frustrating thing is that the dinos aren’t upset or uncomfortable: they were always fine! They just felt like killing each other! There were times that a dino would kill one of its own, then be below the population limit and it was now lonely! I wanted to scream at it, “YOU STUPID ANIMAL! IT’S YOUR FAULT YOU’RE LONELY!!!” Another annoyance, in this vein, is the weird situation with dinos that “Like” each other (aka, don’t accrue a cohabitation penalty) and yet will still kill each other. You can put Compys in with practically any carnivore, but they will eat them up like snacks! It doesn’t matter that the Carnivores like them; like to eat them, is more like it.
A minor frustration on the front of cohabitation is the weird conditions of dinosaurs and who they can get along with. Before in JWE1, it was perfectly fine to put any herbivore with any other herbivore, and with carnivores, it was one Big with one small type. While not overly inventive, it did help things out. Now, thankfully you can put certain large carnivores together (though the reasoning is nonexistent), but now there are herbivore combos that don’t work. Stegosaurids and Ceratopsids (like I mentioned before) do NOT go together, and even worse, most herbivores of the same genus can’t go together! So much for making a sauropod paddock or an Ankylosaur Acres (I did this in JWE1, since they were usually fussy)! No more themed enclosures, you have to cater them to the dinosaurs’ whims. And more frustrating is matching the exact right vegetation to all the dinos in the enclosure. Because you are not going to make it work with 3-4 different types of plants and somehow get everyone happy. You are better off just grouping the herbivores with the same vegetation needs in the same enclosure. Until you have both a Stegosaurid and an Ankylosaurid that both like Ground Leaf and now you need to make two separate enclosures!
More annoying is the change to some disease progression. While it was interesting to add different ways of getting dino disease cures (like quarantining and taking pictures), one thing I did NOT appreciate was pneumonia. Now, having the Common Cold being curable in JWE1 was more than a little silly (we can cure the Common Cold in dinosaurs, but not in humans!). But while letting it run its course (but being non-fatal) was interesting, when it progressed to pneumonia, it turned into “Hover over the enclosure with the MVU to make sure no one dies”. It essentially stopped everything you were doing and made you babysit one area of the park. What is worse is that if it was a big enclosure (like a ornithomimid enclosure, where there are going to be at least 20 of those sum-guns), it would spread to ALL of them and you had to constantly be bouncing from dino to dino, darting them with healing juice, to make sure they didn’t die. What hurts the most about this is that pneumonia IS curable: even if it is a case of rhinoviral pneumonia, we have antivirals. What would be better is that if Common Cold progresses to pneumonia, THEN you can cure it, because it becomes deadly and there is a way to treat it. That would work out so much better instead of being a babysitter and ignoring everything else in your park.
Another annoyance, which took the form of “realism” (I suspect) was the mechanic of status checks. When a dinosaur is first released, you get to see how comfortable it is for about a minute and then it needs a Ranger Team to check on it. This becomes a problem as your park gets exponentially bigger, and you have several Ranger Posts (which the Ranger Team will occasionally check on and then scan all the dinos that it covers), which essentially eat up all the tasks of at least one Ranger Team. This system is honestly pointless, since in JWE1, you already knew how your dinosaurs were at any given moment, since, you know, you had trackers in them, and it all fed into the central database of a multibillion dollar dino curation business. Seems like a step backwards, you know? It is a way to eat up more of your resources, with nothing to add for it. Pointless complication with no benefit.
But by far, the most annoying time sink mechanic that was introduced in the game, that adds even MORE pointless complication with no benefit, are the Scientists! Before in JWE1, all you needed to worry about was if you had dig and research teams and the money, and you could get what you want! And incubating? Do as much as you like! Have every single hatchery running, go for it! But now, that is not how we do things! You need scientists to do those things! And you need to make sure you have enough points in either Logistics, Genetics or Welfare to do what you want, on top of the cost of what you want, and make sure that the scientist isn’t overworked. If you push them too hard, they will become disgruntled and might sabotage you later! You need to rest your scientists at regular intervals, which means more often than not, you are waiting for something to finish so you can get your scientist to do what you wanted him to do in the first place! Now some scientists give you bonuses, like cheaper or faster expeditions, research, synthesis or incubation, which would be great, only that you realize that it still doesn’t make up for the fact that everything has been inflated so bad that even with their help it still takes and costs way longer and more than it did in JWE1! In JWE1, the most expensive things were always the dinosaurs (and sometimes some buildings), but now, everything is more expensive (except buildings are now cheaper, which is little comfort). Also getting the right scientist balance can be frustrating, as you will need to upgrade the skill points and number of scientists. The problem is that this also increases their wages, which in turn is the single biggest drain on your resources. The only good thing is that, if you are late game, and not making enough money, you can always fire a bunch of your scientists to bring costs down and rake in the profits! Only, it makes getting what you want that much harder, and you will have to hire new ones, that most likely cost more.
Hiring scientists is a massive game of RNG, as you have no idea what scientists will be available, and what skills they have compared to what you need. This is also a problem early game, as the scientists the game gives you are random, meaning you could get a few really good scientists to start, or a few crappy ones and you have to hire more, putting an even greater strain on your already limited budget. There is also no way to refresh the scientists, you just have to wait a while, until new ones come in. And herein lies the crux of the issue: it is artificial throttling. The game is artificially padding itself out by throttling what you can do. Everything you could’ve done in the game now takes longer because of the scientist system. There have been so many times I had to sit on the fast-forward button, just to get a scientist to get done with something, only to find out he was overworked and needed to rest, thereby AGAIN sitting on the fast-forward button to have him finish, only to find out that he doesn’t have enough skill to either synthesize or research something and in fact it was the OTHER scientist that is ALSO busy and ALSO overworked and I have to wait for HIM to finish (or her, there are also female scientists that ALSO get on my nerves)! It goes on and on like this, the frustration piling up, to the point where I was longing, BEGGING, to go back to the JWE1 system, where I didn’t need to wait nearly as long. In fact, many late game expeditions and incubations are inflated to make the fast forward button necessary, instead of an optional help. I think it is obvious something went wrong. This very much seems like the case of “They were so focused on if they could, they never stopped to think if they should!”
Other smaller annoyances are: when dinosaurs are released, there is no longer the “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are pleased to welcome a (fill in the blank dinosaur) to the Park!” I heard it only once or twice, but not consistently. It was a really fun touch and I miss it; the amenities don’t seem to function as well as they should (can’t tell if it is a bug or just a poor design choice), as some increases to certain demographics, even with the same ups, don’t work as intended, and sometimes some go up, even when they are already in the white. I end up putting the same ones on nearly every time; the attraction system makes no sense and in the end I barely use it, as it is not well explained and doesn’t seem to make much a difference; the UI for tracking guest comfort and park guest potential is confusing and I never knew what it was trying to tell me; the lack of modifying individual dinosaurs makes the game about quantity of dinosaurs, rather than quality (I loved dumping tons of crab blood into my dinosaurs, nuking their viability but boosting their ratings, so I could make amazing dinosaurs. Now all the dinos of a species are the same, aside from their color); some skin combos I miss (the Jungle Suchomimus one in particular, an awesome black and red skin which was really cool!); the fact that in challenge mode you can’t have every dinosaur on at least one map. These and more that I can’t remember at the moment are some things that just didn’t sit right with me and held it back in my mind.
All the problems of a Major Theme Park and a Major Zoo
But if bad design choices were the only problem, I could forgive the game in part. The biggest problem is the BUGS!! JWE2 was one of the buggiest releases I have ever been a part of (though MW 2019 and BOCW do come to mind as being runners up). In my time of playing, I experienced around 9 hard crashes, with around 4 of which during Chaos Theory Jurassic World. I have complied a comprehensive list of every single bug I encountered (and there are probably some I forgot or missed), so here they are:
Flickering Sky box in Arizona, and at least a few times at Jurassic World.
Several Chaos Theory (Site B and Jurassic World) had problems with the toolbar for the finances and rating (couldn’t click on them, had to go to control center)
Chaos Theory Jurassic Park, had an issue where I couldn’t release the T-Rex with airlift (the airlift chopper was perpetually stuck almost there, but not quite). Bug resolved with reloaded save.
Chaos Theory Jurassic World, Archeornithomimus research said it was in progress, but gave no time when it would finish and when I tried to cancel it, I couldn’t.
Amenities randomly going to zero guests for no reason.
Dinosaurs getting stuck in roaming, socializing or panicking loops, to the point they would starve or become dehydrated to death. Note that they will often be standing still and not doing anything. Can sometimes be fixed with healing them, or moving them. Had a similar problem with JWE, but they fixed it. This is a returning bug.
Chaos Theory Jurassic Park, transporting Apatosauruses, the model starts freaking out, shooting randomly in all directions, settles when the Apatosaurus lands.
No less than 6 crashes in 2 days of playing. Chaos Theory Jurassic World had the most crashes. (Up to around 9 crashes during total play time).
Clicking on fences would not always fix them with Ranger Team (when unobstructed or not near dinosaurs).
Chaos Theory Return to Isla Nublar, when in the Ranger Team scanning the Dinosaurs, the Right Click to back out doesn’t work. You need to hit escape to back out of aim mode.
Medical Vans will repeatedly heal and scan dinosaurs (particularly with Cold and Pneumonia) at the expense of more injured dinosaurs.
Chaos Theory Jurassic Park: San Diego visual bug, where the Expedition Chopper is stuck flying in place forever. Did not affect gameplay.
Challenge Mode Canada, in the Dinosaur research unlock screen, the picture and icon for Giganotosaurus is the same as Herrerasaurus. On Challenge Mode United Kingdom, the Compsognathus unlock has the Proceratosaurus icon and picture instead.
Lots of flickering, some in the sky and often on the ground in menus (Challenge Mode Canada).
Chaos Theory Jurassic World: Management views disabled on Guest View due to “escaped dinosaur” despite none being out. Fixed itself after save reload. This bug returned during Challenge Mode Northwest America
Occasionally when a dinosaur is released, the population will go to 30 for a few moments, then resets itself. This can also happen with cohabitation.
Challenge Mode Canada, had a Nodosaurus stuck in the Paleo-Medical Facility, though the bay claimed it was empty. The pick up chopper was stuck perpetually, and because the Nodosaurus was still there, it prevented any other dinosaurs from being delivered there, or from being demolished or moved. It essentially hamstrung one whole med bay (MVU still worked).
Several times, the emergency shelter noise will continue indefinitely, even if the shelters are closed.
At least once the building noise was still being played indefinitely even though no buildings were being built.
Challenge Mode Canada contracts would often not appear on the main screen,I had to go to the mission page to find them. This also happened often on all Challenge modes.
Challenge Mode Canada, was in the Red for a while, but after completing a contract, I got out of the Red, and yet it still failed me.
Challenge Mode Canada, Dimorphodon phased through Aviary and ended up outside in another enclosure. Had this happen with Cearadactylus multiple times, and at least once with a Corythosaurus, on Southwest.
Chaos Theory Jurassic World has a monorail point at the Arrival Point that looks like it should connect, but it is outside the buildable area and is essentially worthless.
Challenge Mode Southwest America, had an extra Ranger Team 1 below the real one, was unusable and pointless. Persisted through save reloads.
DLSS creates a weird phantom effect on moving objects. No idea why.
One that might be a bug or not, but seems off is Chaos Theory Jurassic Park: San Diego ends after getting 4 Stars. This doesn’t seem right.
I posted all of these bugs to give you an idea of how bad of a state this game launched in. Just to report all of this, I made an account solely to voice my displeasure.Frontier says they patched some of the issues, but the fact that this many bugs still persisted even after their patch shows that the game was NOT READY and they released it anyways. I hate to say that this is a disturbing trend in games these days. I hope someone at Frontier sees this, because it is disgraceful! FIX YOUR GAME!
I Have Decided Not to Endorse Your Park
Having considered everything I have experienced through my nearly 80 hrs of play time with this game, I have to say at the end, it was not worth it. Yes there was some fun to be had, and there are some improvements to the system that are welcome. However, the Scientists and the other changes, that all seem to throttle the gameplay, combine to make for an unsatisfying experience. It is a real shame because the truth is I LOVE Jurassic Park: I loved dinosaurs when I was a kid and I still love them to this day (though not to the same level, it was obsessive). Jurassic Park was a beautifully made movie, with dare I say John Williams’ finest work. Not going to lie, JWE1 made me smile every time I booted it up, just to hear the main theme playing, and I would often just sit and listen to it, a touching, majestic theme, befitting the dinosaurs that inspired it. But with JWE2, as much as it tries, it just misses what made the first game so enjoyable, bogged down in pointless overcomplication with no payoff. I was worried about this the minute I learned about the Scientist system and I was sadly right. JWE1 had a rhythm, a pace that worked well with keeping the park going; JWE2 kept throwing up roadblocks, for no reason other than useless padding.And the buggy release just kept my frustrations high, even when I was succeeding. I had high hopes for this game: a goal not devoid of merit. Maybe Frontier can tweek the systems, make it smoother and improve on things, as they did with JWE1 as its life cycle went on. Who knows: Life might just find a way…