Need More Dinosaurs? Check Out the Trailer for ‘ARK: The Animated Series’!

While the Jurassic World films and expanded stories may be taking a break after the release of Jurassic World Dominion and the final season of Camp Cretaceous earlier this year, a new era of dinosaur media is roaring to life. Take a look at the Season 1 trailer for ‘ARK – the Animated Series’ below!

Featuring an unparalled voice cast with the talents of Michelle Yeoh, Gerard Butler, Russell Crowe, and Executive Produced by Vin Diesel, ARK: The Animated Series is an adaptation of the hit video game. In a sweeping story that spans eons of human & world history, 21st century paleontologist Helena Walker finds herself resurrected on a mysterious primeval land after tragedy. There she must learn to survive and find new allies, or die again at the hands of ruthless warlords — all while trying to uncover the true nature of their strange new world. ARK: The Animated Series will release on a to-be-announced platform in 2023. Join us then for an ageless adventure beyond life & death itself!

Series written by Marguerite Bennett and Kendall Deacon Davis, with fully-orchestrated music by Gareth Coker.

Voice talent and character descriptions, in alphabetical order:

Dee Bradley Baker vocalizes many of the ARK’s furry and scaly creature friends. Monica Bellucci plays Cassia Virila, a strong-willed Roman noblewoman during the Augustan Empire. Gerard Butler plays General Gaius Marcellus Nerva, a brutal ancient Roman despot. Devery Jacobs plays Alasie, a peppy 17th century Inuit teenager, now finding her place on the ARK. Cissy Jones plays The Gladiatrix, a formidable commander in Nerva’s army. Madeleine Madden plays 21st century Australian paleontologist Helena Walker, newly awoken on the ARK. Deborah Mailman plays Deborah Walker, a 21st century Aboriginal Australian activist, and mother to Helena Walker. Zahn McClarnon plays Thunder Comes Charging, a 19th century Lakota warrior who leads a thriving community on the ARK. Malcolm McDowell plays Senator Lucius Cassius Virilis, a manipulative aristocrat during the reign of Caesar Augustus. Juliet Mills plays Chava, a wise healer and village councilmember. Elliot Page plays Victoria Walker, an idealistic humanitarian aid worker, and wife of Helena Walker. Ragga Ragnars plays Queen Sigrid, a bellicose 10th century Viking warlord. David Tennant plays Sir Edmund Rockwell, an egocentric 19th century scientist harboring dark ambitions. Alan Tudyk plays The Captain, a crusty buccaneer who profitably sails the dangerous waters around the ARK. Karl Urban plays Bob, a recent square-jawed ARK arrival. Jeffrey Wright plays Henry Townsend, an 18th century American watchmaker and Patriot spy. Michelle Yeoh plays Meiyin Li, a 3rd century Chinese rebel leader, known on the ARK by her reputation as the formidable “Beast Queen.” Ron Yuan plays Han Li, a 3rd century Chinese rebel leader and brother to Meiyin. With Russell Crowe playing Kor the Prophet, an eccentric ‘dino-whisperer’ hailing from a time before recorded history. And Vin Diesel playing 24th century ‘Mek’-pilot, gearhead, & freedom-fighter Santiago.

For those of you unfamiliar, ARK is a popular dinosaur survival video game which has continued to evolve over the years with new expansions. While the first game is light on story, the sequel planned for 2023 will expand upon that and likely tie into the animated series which seems to have surprisingly complex lore amongst exciting dino-riding action.

Are you interested in the ARK series, or do you simply wish the Jurassic franchise would expand its storytelling into the more dynamic video game spaces, alongside an animated series that skews for older audiences who prefer the films over Camp Cretaceous? Be sure to let us know!

Exclusive: Jurassic Park 30th Anniversary Captivz Collector Figures Roaring Into Walmart Soon!

Are you looking forward to Jurassic Park’s 30th Anniversary on June 11th, 2023? I know we are, and the good news is the celebrations are starting much sooner: the 30th Anniversary Captivz collection will be roaring onto Walmart shelves January 2023 in the US!

This all-new lineup of mini pop-and-lock collectible dinosaurs come packaged within mystery eggs, and feature every on-screen dino from the first Jurassic Park (plus select dinosaurs from The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 in the second wave), sporting movie accurate details and colors. From the Gallimimus to the baby Velociraptor, your favorite species and moments can be brought to life in your collections. Best of all? Each dinosaur comes with a collector token inspired by the collector cards included with the classic Jurassic Kenner toys, featuring beautifully rendered art bringing the scenes to life in unique ways.

Check out the exclusive sneak peek below!

Jurassic World CAPTIVZ 30th Anniversary Slime Egg (Wave 1)

Celebrate Jurassic Park’s 30th Anniversary with a new exclusive release of CAPTIVZ Build N Battle dinos!

Featuring 9 species to collect from the original movie and a rare gold baby velociraptor to chase – this collection will be the most authentic release yet.

Just crack your egg, ooze through the stretchy AMBER slime and reveal your epic species and build to BATTLE! Collect them all!

Each Slime Egg contains:
1x Build N Battle Dinosaur with epic paint detail
50g Amber slime
1x Collector guide
1x Exclusive Collector Card

$4.99 MSRP

Alongside the standard eggs, there are also the larger eggs with the super-sized Captivz dinosaurs inside:

Jurassic World 30th Anniversary Surprise Build N Battle Dinos by CAPTIVZ

Celebrate Jurassic Park’s 30th Anniversary with the all-new SURPRISE Egg by CAPTIVZ!

DIG through Pre-Historic Sand, SLICE through Amber sap gel and OOZE through Biosyn Lab Slime to discover which ALL-NEW super-sized exclusive species you have unearthed!

Featuring 6 super-sized species to collect from the original Jurassic Park movie. Collect them all and get ready for the ULTIMATE BATTLE!


Each SUPER SIZE Surprise EGG contains:
1x Super-sized Build N Battle Dinosaur with epic paint detail
53g Amber Sap Gel
35g Pre-historic Sand
120g BioSyn Slime
1x Sticker sheet
1x Collector guide

$12.99 MSRP

For more on the Captivz collections check out their website and be sure to stay tuned to Jurassic Outpost for more Captivz, Jurassic Park 30th Anniversary, and everything else Jurassic!

The Nublar Six Struggle for Survival in This Exclusive Clip From the Upcoming Interactive Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous Hidden Adventure!

While the story of the stranded Nublar Six came to a conclusion during the 5th season of Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous in July, their stories aren’t quite done yet. Debuting this month on the 15th of November is the ‘Hidden Adventure’, a standalone interactive episode of Camp Cretaceous sandwiched between seasons 2 and 3.

For those unfamiliar, the interactive episode format was popularized with ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” and act much like a ‘choose your own adventure’ book which you may remember from your childhood bookshelves or school book fairs. As a viewer you are met with key choices for the characters during pivotal moments, and those choices determine how (or if) the story continues to play out.

We’re excited to have the chance to debut an exclusive clip ahead of the Hidden Adventure’s debut where Darius, Brooklyn, and the other campers come between two giant dinosaurs in the tunnels of Jurassic World and are faced with one of the aforementioned choices.

Check it out below!

INTERACTIVE SPECIAL SYNOPSIS
In a standalone interactive adventure, the campers, desperate for food, work together to find a hidden stockpile. They must risk everything to uncover clues in search of its location, ultimately exposing previously unknown secrets of Isla Nublar.

ABOUT JURASSIC WORLD: CAMP CRETACEOUS
Inspired by the Jurassic World franchise, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous follows six teenagers chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Camp Cretaceous, a new adventure camp on the opposite side of Isla Nublar, who must work together to survive when dinosaurs wreak havoc across the island. From DreamWorks Animation, Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, the series is executive produced by Steven Spielberg, Colin Trevorrow, and Frank Marshall, alongside executive producers and showrunners Scott Kreamer and Aaron Hammersley.

SPECIAL DETAILS:
Release Date: November 15, 2022
Episodes: 1 Episode – 32 min

 
Voice Actors:
● Paul-Mikél Williams as “Darius”
● Jenna Ortega as “Brooklynn”
● Ryan Potter as “Kenji”
● Raini Rodriguez as “Sammy”
● Sean Giambrone as “Ben”
● Kausar Mohammed as “Yaz”


Executive Producers and Showrunners: Scott Kreamer, Aaron Hammersley
Executive Producers: Steven Spielberg, Colin Trevorrow, Frank Marshall Consulting Producer and Developed By: Zack Stentz
Animation Studio: DreamWorks Animation
Production Companies: Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

While this doesn’t tell us much about the story of what exactly this ‘Hidden Adventure’ is, it does give us an idea of the thrilling sequences and difficult choices you’ll have the chance to play out and watch. If you want to dig a little deeper into the clip, and what it all may mean, check out our breakdown analysis below:

As a fan of the choose your own adventure books (and also of the flawed yet fun ‘Jurassic Park the Game’) this is hitting all the right notes for me, and I can’t wait to explore Isla Nublar in an all-new way.

Hidden Adventure debuts on Netflix November 15th, 2022 – and remember to choose wisely, lest you potentially become a Carnotaurus chew toy.

Tickets Now Available to ‘Generation Jurassic’ Event at Universal Studios Hollywood!

UPDATE: Thank you for your interest in the Generation Jurassic event! Unfortunately, we have reached full capacity for this event. Please follow us for more details including on how to watch the event unfold.

Tickets are now available to the recently announced ‘Generation Jurassic’ event occurring at Universal Studios Hollywood on April 28th, 2022! RSVP here or read on for more information.

Working with Universal Brand Development, we’re excited to be part of the upcoming after hours fan-event occurring at Universal Studios Hollywood on April 28th, 2022. The event is limited capacity RSVP only – read on for more details about what to expect, and additional information on ticketing.

TICKETS:

TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE – RSVP NOW
Due to the limited capacity of this event, tickets will be at a first-come-first-serve basis here.

Generation Jurassic is a free after hours event, and tickets do not include general admission into the park. Valid photo ID matching name on RSVP required. Universal Studios Hollywood follows all current Los Angeles County COVID protocols. Please refer to the additional info on ticket form here.

ABOUT:

Generation Jurassic Event – April 28th – Presented by Universal and Target

Universal and Target, along with super fan site, Jurassic Outpost, have come together to create an exclusive event for Jurassic fans of all ages – Generation Jurassic will be held on April 28th from 7:30-10pm at Universal Studios Hollywood. Against the backdrop of “Jurassic World—The Ride” within the theme park, fans will get to celebrate all things Jurassic and experience a variety of activities, including:

  • Participate in a LIVE “Jurassic World: Beyond the Gates” panel discussion, plus Q&A with toy designers from Universal, Mattel and Funko, including reveals of all-new Target-exclusive items
  • Explore product displays of the latest and greatest toys, apparel, collectibles and more
  • Experience the thrills on Jurassic World: The Ride, including coming face-to- face with the stunningly realistic dinosaur Indominus rex
  • Explore DinoPlay, a fun interactive area for kids
  • Take part in photo opportunities with fan-favorite dinosaurs and vehicles (thanks to the Jurassic Park Motor Pool!)
  • Try your luck with giveaways of awesome Jurassic World products!
  • We’re excited to bring ‘Beyond the Gates’ alive in an all-new way, showcasing the talent of artists creating the numerous Jurassic World products. This is a unique opportunity to dive deeper than ever into the making-of process, let fans ask their burning questions, and of course, feature some exciting exclusive reveals.

    More details about what else to expect will become available as we inch closer to the event .

    As always, be sure to stay tuned to Jurassic Outpost for more information coming soon. We hope to see you there!

    ‘Generation Jurassic’ Event Presented by Universal Brand Development and Target Coming to Universal Studios Hollywood April 28th 2022

    Update March 28th, 2022 at 9pm EST: Tickets now available.

    UPDATE 2: Thank you for your interest in the Generation Jurassic event! Unfortunately, we have reached full capacity for this event. Please follow us for more details including on how to watch the event unfold.

    If you missed the recent episode of Beyond the Gates then you may have missed the news about an upcoming exclusive event occurring in California. So what are you waiting for? Check out the episode below, and then read on for all the important details:

    Working with Universal Brand Development, we’re excited to be part of the upcoming after hours fan-event occurring at Universal Studios Hollywood on April 28th, 2022. The event will be limited capacity RSVP only – read on for more details about what to expect, and information on how to lock your tickets in.

    ABOUT:

    Generation Jurassic Event – April 28th – Presented by Universal and Target

    Universal and Target, along with super fan site, Jurassic Outpost, have come together to create an exclusive event for Jurassic fans of all ages – Generation Jurassic will be held on April 28th from 7:30-10pm at Universal Studios Hollywood. Against the backdrop of “Jurassic World—The Ride” within the theme park, fans will get to celebrate all things Jurassic and experience a variety of activities, including:

  • Participate in a LIVE “Jurassic World: Beyond the Gates” panel discussion, plus Q&A with toy designers from Universal, Mattel and Funko, including reveals of all-new Target-exclusive items
  • Explore product displays of the latest and greatest toys, apparel, collectibles and more
  • Experience the thrills on Jurassic World: The Ride, including coming face-to- face with the stunningly realistic dinosaur Indominus rex
  • Explore DinoPlay, a fun interactive area for kids
  • Take part in photo opportunities with fan-favorite dinosaurs and vehicles (thanks to the Jurassic Park Motor Pool!)
  • Try your luck with giveaways of awesome Jurassic World products!
  • TICKETS:

    TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE – RSVP NOW
    Due to the limited capacity of this event, tickets will be at a first-come-first-serve basis here.

    Generation Jurassic is a free after hours event, and tickets do not include general admission into the park. Valid photo ID matching name on RSVP required. Universal Studios Hollywood follows all current Los Angeles County COVID protocols. Please refer to the additional info on ticket form here.

    We’re excited to bring ‘Beyond the Gates’ alive in an all-new way, showcasing the talent of artists creating the numerous Jurassic World products. This is a unique opportunity to dive deeper than ever into the making-of process, let fans ask their burning questions, and of course, feature some exciting exclusive reveals.

    More details about what else to expect will become available as we inch closer to the event, and we hope to make the attendance RSVP available ASAP.

    As always, be sure to stay tuned to Jurassic Outpost for more information coming soon. We hope to see you there!

    ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ Featured in Winter Olympics Crossover Ad!

    After what feels like 65 million years, the Jurassic World Dominion marketing campaign has officially kicked off in full swing. First making its debut on the TODAY Show, a new advert has roared its way online featuring Velociraptor Blue and a Tyrannosaurus rex alongside Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin.

    Check it out here:

    According to the NBCUniversal Press release ‘Shiffrin is one of three Team USA athletes who will appear in ads merging Winter Olympics competitors and the upcoming film, Jurassic World: Dominion. Snowboarder Shaun White and figure skater Nathan Chen will also each encounter dinosaurs created by the artists at Industrial Light & Magic.’

    Shiffrin had the following to say: “We’ve all grown up being awe-struck by the incredible dinosaurs in the Jurassic World films, so to suddenly be able to step into the world of these films and interact with [raptor] Blue myself was exciting and unforgettable.”

    “This is an extraordinary year for NBC Sports as we broadcast and stream the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl to audiences around the country this February,” said Jenny Storms, CMO of entertainment and sports for NBCUniversal. “This Haley’s comet of media events gives us an unprecedented opportunity to reach, engage and captivate consumers like never before. We are taking this to colossal levels by partnering with our friends at Universal on the biggest event in film this year, Jurassic World Dominion.  The spots we have created with our Olympic athletes are jaw-dropping, innovative and thrilling.”

    Per the NBC Universal press release, this campaign will continue throughout the Olympics with the other key dates being January 31st plus February 3rd & 4th:

    Beginning at 8 p.m. ET on January 31, all three of the individual athletes’ individual [Jurassic World] spots will appear simultaneously in a “roadblock” across multiple platforms. This will be followed on February 3 by a primetime exclusive preview of the 2-minute spot featuring all three athletes and the campaign will culminate with the official premiere of the 2-minute spot during NBCU’s coverage of the Opening Ceremony on February 4.

    According to the NBC Universal media event we reported on yesterday, this is all leading to a larger payoff that will occur during Super Bowl LVI on February 13th. While these unique Olympics adverts do not actually include footage from the film itself, it is expected to lead into more traditional film adverts during the NFLs ‘Big Game’ on February 13th.

    Jurassic World Dominion is the 6th film in the Jurassic Park franchise, starring Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Bryce Dallas Howard, DeWanda Wise, Jeff Goldblum, Chris Pratt, BD Wong, Cambell Scott, Mamoudou Athie, and many, many more. Dominion will release exclusively in theaters on June 10th, 2022.

    Are you excited to finally see the Jurassic World Dominion marketing kickoff? Let us know in the comments below and stay tuned for all the latest news!

    Raw HD Gallery of the Prehistoric ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ Prologue

    The ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ Prologue dropped this morning on YouTube, and while it certainly was beautiful, there is no denying YouTubes compression crushed the details. Thankfully, we have the raw ProRes HD file, and have created a gallery for your viewing pleasure.

    Enjoy!

    The Prologue to Jurassic World Dominion Is Here – Watch Now!

    Hold on to your butts – the first footage from Jurassic World Dominion has hit the internet!

    This original 5 min prologue to Jurassic World Dominion, directed by Colin Trevorrow, rockets audiences back 65 million years into the past to experience the world before humans existed—and offers a glimpse of a world in which dinosaurs are living among us.

    The story will continue in theaters this Summer.

    Stay tuned for our gallery of pro-res HD screenshots, and our breakdown of the footage coming soon!

    Jurassic World Dominion Prologue to Air on NBC Tuesday November 23rd

    After many – too many – months of waiting, the ‘Jurassic World Dominion‘ prologue that premiered in front of IMAX screenings of Fast 9 will make its way to home audiences. This upcoming Tuesday November 23rd the preview of next summers Jurassic Park sequel will debut on NBC at roughly 8:56pm EST, after ‘The Voice‘.

    “A preview of the Jurassic World saga revealing the origins of the dino DNA that started it all.”

    For those unfamiliar, the prologue opens during the cretaceous period showing dinosaurs before extinction, later cutting to show some brief glimpses into Dominions present day action 65 million years later. While the prologue is not entirely new, this will be the first time it’s been officially been made available outside of IMAX which is something fans have been asking for globally.

    This of course may come as a small disappointment to fans who’ve already seen the very preview months ago and would like to finally see Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, Claire Dearing, Owen Grady and Ian Malcolm in a proper trailer – however it seems than will not come until February of 2022.

    If you want to learn more about the upcoming prologue, be sure to check out our breakdown from over the Summer and stay tuned for more coverage once it releases!

    Note: this article has been updated to reflect the final official airtime should be 8:56 PM, and not 9 PM as previously reported.

    Jurassic World Evolution 2 Review

    The Park is Open – again

    It’s been over 3 years since the original Jurassic World Evolution released on consoles and PC, and the anticipated sequel delivers on the promise of Fallen Kingdom: we’re not on an island anymore (except when we are, but more on that later).

    Jurassic World Evolution 2 offers some new updates to the established gameplay from the first title, but will also be immediately familiar to players of the first – perhaps too familiar at times. However, for those unfamiliar with Evolution, it is a park building and management game where you’re tasked with creating your very own Jurassic worlds.

    The core gameplay loop in Jurassic World Evolution 2 is all about building park attractions with key operation and exhibition facilities, seeing to guest and animal comfort, all while making sure you remain profitable and don’t run out of money. As you may expect, things don’t always go to plan, and chaos will come into play – from natural disasters like tornadoes and blizzards, dinosaurs growing distressed by their health and needs, and occasionally, dinosaurs breaking free and eating your guests (which is a very quick way to run out of funds).

    You can help avoid unhappy dinosaurs trying to escape by making sure you’ve crafted an enclosure meeting their environmental needs, such as making sure you’ve grown the correct prehistoric flora for herbivores to feed upon, have enough water, open space, and other factors such as making sure species cohabitating a particular enclosure actually like one another.

    If your dinosaurs break free you’ll need to send in ranger teams to round up the ramping threats before they cause too much mayhem, so it’s important to have them placed close by. While this may be easy in the early stages of your park, it becomes more of a challenge as your park grows and is something that will greatly affect your ability to mitigate the collapse of your park – especially as some maps are quite restrictive in size (but fret not, others are quite large).

    Likewise, you’ll want to make sure you’ve researched the best facilities to contain and care for your dinos – such as the new medical center for taking care of sick and injured dinosaurs. As sick dinosaurs can die or spread illness, you’ll want to make sure your mobile veterinary teams can access the species as quickly as possible.

    Research is integral to keeping your park well managed and profitable, and will also provide you the means to train your scientists whomst are integral to the core game mechanics. Scientists are hired staff required to be assigned to all management tasks such as aforementioned research, expeditions for fossils and dinosaurs, DNA synthesis, and egg incubation. 

    Each scientist has three skill categories with associated levels: logistics, genetics, and welfare. The various management tasks, such as sending out a team to look for fossils, have required skills in the category or categories, therefore making sure your various staff are properly leveraged for the tasks ahead is crucial. Likewise, each scientist has a specific perk. Some simply have a higher stamina rate, meaning you can assign them more tasks in a row without them needing a break from overworking, while others may allow for things such as 50% cheaper DNA synthesis or 30% faster egg incubation. You’ll have to make hard choices to make sure you’re saving as much money and time as possible while having enough skill points for the tasks your park requires, and this staff system brings a lot of strategy into the game.

    As I mentioned before, the staff can get overworked and require rest. If you’re not careful, the scientists may become disgruntled, causing setbacks in your park such as sabotage. These new functionalities make the gameplay more dynamic as you expand your park, requiring more strategy in your choices as opposed to only arbitrary wait times while tasks complete.

    The way you edit the environment is far more dynamic than the first game. For example, herbivores no longer have feeders and rather require the proper plant life to support their diets. While some may feed off of ground fiber and nuts, others will feed off tall leaves. With limited space in each paddock for what you can grow, you need to be mindful about the species you place together so their dietary and general comfort needs (which include things like open space, the amount of rocks, and more) can sync up.

    Then, of course, there are the park guests – the people you want to keep happy to fund your dino-park escapades. Their comfort in the park boils down to amenities such as food, shopping, and restrooms, the placement of emergency bunkers, transportation, and of course attractions. Your star attractions are the dinosaurs, and you want to make sure you have the other desired amenities in close proximity to them. Viewing galleries are a primary way for guests to see dinosaurs, and the placement of the galleries is key to make sure the guests actually have sight-lines on the various species. Guests also don’t like to travel too much by foot, so researching and placing structures such as hotels and monorail stations around your focal dino-hubs really helps maximize the success of your park.

    Each level features different environmental locations with different sizes and shapes, sometimes including narrow choke points where building and movement will be restricted. Making smart use of that space to fit all the needed structures, pathways, and dinosaur paddocks is crucial. If you’re not careful, you can easily build yourself into a corner where the needed facilities cannot fit. This will affect profit, guest comfort, and your ability to properly care for the dinosaurs – this can become even worse if disaster strikes.

    Another great feature is the ability to pause time and assess a situation while assigning tasks within the park or choosing building placements. When a park is large, a lot can happen at once, and this feature allows you to manage many occurrences simultaneously before resuming the action and letting your choices play out. Likewise, you can speed up time by 2 and 3 times, allowing for tasks to complete in a blink of an eye. Be careful though – if things start going wrong, every second counts.

    While many of these elements existed in the first Jurassic World Evolution, there are many small quality of life adjustments across the board which make the gameplay more dynamic, and in theory, more fun.

    Unlike the first game, Evolution 2 offers 4 different modes of play: Campaign, Chaos Theory, Challenge Mode, and Sandbox.

    Campaign mode picks up after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, with dinosaurs now free in the mainland across various wilds in the US and elsewhere. The story picks up with Owen Grady and Claire Dearing now employed by the United States Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) working to help humans and dinosaurs successfully co-exist. The United States Government is concerned by the potential threat dinosaurs pose, and have set up many departments to help keep a close eye on the dinos. These include the DFW and another key player: the newly formed Dangerous Species Division (DSD) of the CIA. While the DFW and DSD cooperate together, there is some tension and distrust between the government agencies, particularly as the CIA isn’t the most forthcoming about their activities with dinosaurs outside of those the DFW directly assist with.

    The single player mode marks the largest departure from Jurassic World Evolution and frankly even Evolution 2’s core gameplay mechanics. Rather than building parks, worrying about guest comfort, and profits, you’re simply tasked with tracking down nuisance dinosaurs and containing, observing, and relocating them – just as normal, non-prehistoric nuisance animals are often dealt with.

    As such, the levels are divided into distinct playspaces within each map: the “buildable area” for creating and maintaining the DFW’s facilities and the “wild area”. The wild area consists of large expanses of wilderness where you cannot build but can take direct control of ranger teams to drive and fly across, tracking down dinosaurs, capturing them, and bringing them back to your containment facility that you build. Primarily you will build simple operation facilities such as paleo veterinary centers, paddocks, and observation platforms for the DFW to study the dinosaurs. Essentially, you want to make sure you have the right size paddock with the right terrain inside for the dinosaurs’ comfort, and once you’ve done that, you’ve got nothing else to worry about.

    As such, you wont utilize most of the game’s core gameplay features and building options in the single player which, quite frankly, is a bizarre choice in a park building and management game. In fact, the the entire single player feels like a short, snappy narrative driven tutorial for a larger game that Frontier forgot to include. The story ends abruptly, only running a few hours, with a narrative that feels like it’s just setting up the first act. While the campaign of the first Jurassic World Evolution admittedly could drag, it was much larger and felt more content complete. The sequel’s main story can be beat faster than it takes to achieve a 5-star rating on some of the challenge mode locations.

    It truly feels like rather than adjust the story to account for the fact that Jurassic World Dominion was delayed, they kept the initial set up and cut the rest of campaign that would intersect too closely with the upcoming film. The story makes mention of a third party and unknown location (seemingly alluding to BioSyn), and it seems like things are just getting ready to explore that thread when the credits role unceremoniously.

    If you’re a player more interested in the narrative single player campaign be warned: campaign feels more like a small expansion to the first game rather than a standalone sequel experience. While the new environments are gorgeous, you won’t spend much time in them within the context of campaign. Some levels, such as Pennsylvania’s beautiful Appalachians, aren’t even featured in the various sandbox and challenge modes.

    Chaos Theory mode feels like a secondary campaign, only smaller in story scope. It does offer some expanded narrative “what if” situations which are introduced with absolutely stunning intro cut-scenes narrated by Jeff Goldblum, reprising his role of Ian Malcolm (though he sometimes sounds less like Malcolm and goes into his weird and whimsical Goldblum voice). Each level is its own standalone story with simple premises attributed to the five films: build and open Jurassic Park successfully for the first film, Build and open Jurassic Park San Diego successfully for The Lost World, Create Jurassic World and successfully remain open with the Indominus Rex for the fourth movie. However, all of those quickly become repetitive gameplay with less narrative threads as your task is simply to achieve a 5-star rating with certain arbitrary chore-like challenges thrown at you along the way. This mode is hit and miss, particularly as it limits player freedom and can quickly become a little too chaotic if you make one wrong move. Personally, I found the San Diego level to be more engaging than the other two which just felt like they dragged on too long. I’m pretty sure I spent more time on Jurassic World’s Chaos Theory level than I did the main campaign – most of my star dinosaurs dying of old age before I cleared the level.

    The issue in Chaos Theory mode is that it mostly assumes you understand the intricacies of park building and management. While it does introduce you to some basics, they’re not enough to realize the long road you have ahead to reach 5-stars. The mode may have felt like less of a chore had the main campaign done more introductory legwork work to introduce the player to the expanded core park management mechanics, but as it stands, the average player may find the experience overwhelming. Spending hours on a simple ‘what if’ scenario shouldn’t be a trial by fire to learn the games core mechanics – because if you make too many mistakes, you may be forced to start from scratch.

    Jurassic Park 3 and Fallen Kingdom’s Chaos Theory modes shake up the formula, and while the other three levels may last too long, these two feel too short. Fallen Kingdom’s plot essentially boils down to returning to Nublar sans a volcanic threat, scanning a few dinosaurs, and then using the removal tool to destroy the pre-built park. It’s weird – and not fun.

    Jurassic Park 3 stands out, as it seems to be an actual lore expansion set between the events of Jurassic Park 3 and Jurassic World rather than a “what if”, returning to Isla Sorna to capture dinosaurs and relocate them to Isla Nublar for Jurassic World. This level plays more like the single player where you capture wild dinosaurs and create basic paddocks for their comfort only. As such, it is short, but it is also a fun break with some curious lore implications.

    Challenge mode is where the game really shines and seems to find better balance between pacing, mission structure, and player expression. It features entire suite of gameplay mechanics all with the goal of reaching a 5-star rating in various locations, while contending different challenge modifiers (for example, a level where dinosaurs are more prone to sickness). While this may sound similar to the Chaos Theory mode, you have more freedom and less arbitrary requirements, allowing you to build and respond to the various challenges in the way you personally wish. Likewise, this mode offers the full suite of ways to obtain dinosaurs for your park, including finding them within the map, sending expeditions to find fossils, and occasionally expeditions to capture wild dinosaurs transporting them directly to your park. It’s a shame the game’s more narrative-driven campaigns don’t embrace this wider sandbox of gameplay, as it offers a sense of freedom and diversity critically lacking in the campaign and Chaos Theory.

    That said, much like the first Jurassic World Evolution, the game still lacks a sense of personal freedom to entirely craft a park as you wish with the many facilities and attractions you would come to expect from the films. While the Gyrosphere tour returns, as does a Jurassic Park and World themed vehicle tour, no new rides or dinosaur themed attractions are present – such as the river tour, Pachy arena, or T. rex kingdom. While some of these additions may seem arbitrary, the idea of this game very much revolves around building your own park – and when each park has the same limited suite of options, it quickly becomes repetitive.

    This is an issue the first game suffered from, and by result, it often times felt boring when compared to other park management titles. While this game has some new additions, and thus can be more engaging, many of the changes feel more like lateral moves. This is especially because most of the buildings, features, and dinosaurs are straight out of the first game. In fact, some species featured in the first didn’t even make the cut for the sequel.

    A fun albeit small addition is the ability to customize some buildings, choosing from a few presets like Jurassic Park or Jurassic World styled walls, entrances, and decorative displays – while also being allowed to customize portions of the colors and lights. While this doesn’t effect gameplay, it does give the player more forms of expression. Although most of it is hard to notice while properly playing the game in its birds eye view.

    Some of the buildings you would expect to have alternative models and skins from various eras – such as the aviary or paddock fencing – sadly do not. And while you can choose skins for your vehicles, including the pre-order and deluxe addition bonuses, in sandbox mode you cannot freely choose any skin. If you want Jurassic World-themed ranger teams, you have to choose that building style for the ranger station, and vice versa for Jurassic Park, only allowing for the bonus skins to be freely swapped in. Curiously, the DFW vehicles from campaign seem to be absent.

    The ability to genetically modify your dinosaur returns allows you to adjust things like their temperament, lifespan, and of course, how they look. Each species has a variety of skins – imagine them as basic color presets and patterns. You can apply a pattern to a skin to bring out more complexity, usually resulting more contrasting colors and striping. Sadly, like the first game, you cannot actually preview the skins to know what they create and there is no proper database for all the varieties of species designs in-game.

    Some of the legacy dinosaur designs also appear as skins, and they also can result in model changes. These include the Tyrannosaurs with skins from all 3 Jurassic Park films, Parasaurolophus from the two sequels, Velociraptors from all three films, the Brachiosaurs from both Jurassic Park and JP3, Stegosaurs, Triceratops, and more. Some legacy species don’t have skin that directly calls out the film its from – such as Spinosaurus, Dilophosaurus or Pachycephalosaurs – yet they do have film accurate colors achievable by choosing the correct generic skin/pattern combos. Just good luck figuring that out on your first try.

    While some dinosaurs are incredibly accurate and offer a fantastic look at their film counterparts, others are lacking or have issues. For instance, Jurassic Park 3 female raptors have great colors, yet sport the quills of the males. The Allosaurus retains its look from the first game, which predates Battle at Big Rock and does not reflect Fallen Kingdom either. This means it’s an entirely canon on-screen species with entirely fictional in-game design. The Pteranodons do not have their Lost World or JP3 skin/models, and sadly the Mamenchisaurus does not reflect its design from the The Lost World which was recently shown in better detail for the first time.

    The aviaries are engaging and the flying reptiles can escape from them wreaking havoc on your park – however they don’t offer much in the terms of customization, theming, or shape. The species list is on the small side, but does include the Jurassic World Pteranodons and Dimorphodons. Sadly the Dimorphodons lack the fuzzy filaments called pycnofibres that they sport in the films.

    The ability to build lagoons and breed marine reptiles also makes its debut, but these facilities have even fewer customizations and gameplay options.

    Despite the various frustrating inaccuracies, when the game looks good, it looks fantastic. However, it’s not always firing on all cylinders in the art department or engine performance. While some levels look gorgeous, with the environments looking rich, realistic, and detailed, others have a decidedly dated and lower detailed look which effects visual readability. The same could be said for the dinosaurs. While some species are so detailed you can see each scale and bump in crisp detail up close, others look waxy with muddier textures. That said, as the game is often played at distance from the dinosaurs, the animation, lighting and environments are what really make or breaks the visual experience.

    The game suffers from some noticeable draw distance pop-in, especially with shadows which just blip in and out of existence – which can be very distracting. Likewise, lighting effects turn off and on at various distances, and while that may not be obvious when hovering in one location, as you pan across your park it jumps out more and more. This is very obvious while in “capture mode” which turns off the hud and gives you more cinematic control over the camera.

    I played the game on the Xbox Series X, one of the most powerful home consoles out there, and these issues were immediately obvious. While I didn’t play the game on the less powerful Xbox One or PS4, I imagine they’re even more notable. Which brings me to the other, more important point: performance.

    When things really get going this game struggles, with huge frame hitches as you zoom in and out or pan over particularly complex areas. Again, I can only guess how it runs on the less powerful machines, but it feels like a certain layer of optimization and polish is missing – further illustrated by the numerous crashes I experienced while playing. Thankfully, autosave meant not much progress was lost, although I do recommend saving frequently.

    The game also suffers from frequent bugs, and while most are minor and don’t impact the game some can lead to frustrating results. Sometimes dinosaurs can become stuck in place – they attempt to move, making flying or walking motions, but they go nowhere. This leads to them slowly dying from starvation and dehydration. At the very least, that can sometimes be fixed by tranquilizing the dinosaur and relocating them. However, it’s not always that easy in an aviary as you can’t exact direct control over the task. You have to let the AI do it by deploying a drone into the aviary, and guess what: the drone can become stuck. There is no easy fix for that – I found myself destroying aviary hatcheries and rebuilding them simply to allow for a new drone that hopefully doesn’t get stuck. Unfortunately this issue popped up frequently, enough to deter me from flying reptiles in the more difficult challenge modes if possible.

    With so few changes from the first game, a shockingly short and simple campaign mode, and the various performance issues I can’t help but feel this game was rushed and surely could have benefited from a delay to release alongside Jurassic World Dominion – if not further out. I also have no doubt content was removed from the game due to the films delay – I suspect it will be released next June alongside the upcoming sequel – but this sadly contributes to what feels like an incomplete package.

    Don’t get me wrong, the game can be fun, but much like the first it has the foundations of a decent park management simulation without the much needed finer level of control, freedom, and variety. The gameplay can be repetitive and oftentimes doesn’t feel rewarding. While the dinosaurs do have more behaviors this time, such as pack hunting, they’re essentially just pretty looking props to challenge you that you can’t really appreciate outside of sandbox mode – where you can turn off disasters, have unlimited cash, and can get up close taking your time without concern of park collapse. Even there, there’s not much to do with the dinos if you’re not interested in building environments and then using capture mode to grab cinematic footage of them. I just can’t help but feel there is some core gameplay element lacking here that would make it all more worth it.

    While this game isn’t bad – it’s also not great. I suspect it will find its real home with modders and content creators, but the average player likely won’t entirely get what they’re looking for. Likewise, park management fans may find the gameplay more shallow than they’re used to. This was easier to forgive with the first Jurassic World Evolution, but it’s doubly frustrating with the sequel, which seems more interested in re-skinning the first game than offering a proper evolution and improvement. While I do believe Jurassic-fans will find something they enjoy in this game, if you don’t mind waiting a little, I recommend waiting for it to go on sale. 

    I can’t imagine it will take too long.