Jurassic World Evolution - PC Review

Jurassic World Evolution is Frontier Development's latest foray into the park management simulation field, following on the heels of their wildly popular Planet Coaster though this time with a bit of a Jurassic theme to it. Placing you in the roll of an illustrious park manager, your goal is to build the perfect dino-friendly money-making park in everyone's favorite bevy of islands off of the coast of Costa Rica, Las Cinco Muertas. Take a trip to beloved locations like Isla Nublar, Isla Sorna, or build on new islands like Isla Matanceros, Isla Tacano, and Isla Pena, but the primary goal here is to build the best dinosaur attraction money can buy! Though a little light on the actual park management aspects, any would-be dino-cloner will be outright thrilled with the genetic customization options for each of its impressive 40+ dino embryos. Jurassic World Evolution is, finally, a solid Jurassic Park franchise game, even if it does lose a bit of its luster after you have unlocked your third or fourth island…

While I am a huge fan of the Jurassic Park theme music, I was completely unprepared for Dr. Ian Malcolm himself introducing your roll, and the various dinosaurs/mishaps/islands, in Jurassic World Evolution. Jeff Goldblum himself lends his luscious laugh and fantastic lilt to the world-building park sim and it is such a spectacular little addition that I immediately had to fire up Jurassic Park in the background as I built my various dinosaur enclosures on the opening island, Isla Matanceros. Acting as a bit of a tutorial island, you can experiment with the various buildings, dinosaurs, and on-the-ground features found in JWE.

Since each island's income is separate, I personally found that if I needed to do research for a particular issue on one of the other islands (where money is often extremely scarce to start), then I would hop back to my extremely successful tutorial parks (that pulls in hundreds of thousands of dollars a minute) to perform research or extract DNA from fossils. Doing that can feel a bit game-breaking at times, but at other times it is a most welcome pseudo-exploit (hint: hopping back and forth between islands also pauses the inactive islands, so if you have an outbreak of a disease you do not have a vaccine for, you can head to your more successful islands, minus Isla Nublar, and you can research there without the fear of continued contagion).

I am rambling, which is easy to do with Jurassic World Evolution since there are so many things that I absolutely love about it; dinosaurs! Stunning Costa Rican visuals! DINOSAURS! Though Jurassic World Evolution is a park simulator it feels far more like a dinosaur simulator with park-themed elements. Building enclosures, upgrading fences, building non-dino attractions like toy stores, restaurants, hotels, and a pile of other money-making enterprises are just as important as ensuring you have the most badass of dinosaurs wandering around doing dinosaur things. Genetic research allows you to add "flair" to your formidable force of carnivores, or if you would like your docile herbivores to be a bit more aggressive, then you can do that too.

The level of customization for your dinosaurs is staggering; it is a pity that the maps/islands are so small since it is awfully difficult to give some of the larger breeds the real room they need to stretch their legs. Some, like Raptors, enjoy the forested hills where they can run and hunt, but more often than not it is difficult to give them the actual space to really get moving (on the note of Raptors, I do wish that they had a pack mentality as is described in all of the Jurassic movies, instead they act 1-on-1, even in battles; kind of lame), or the large herbivores, like the Brachiosaurus variants, as they most certainly need space else they will break out of their paddocks. Managing a dinosaur's comfort is important else you will run into the issue of loose dinosaurs which will result in plummeting satisfaction.

On top of developing and managing your dinosaurs and other attractions, there are three factions, Security, Science, and Entertainment, that all vie for your attention and depending on your ranking with them, you will be awarded new technologies/buildings/research opportunities. While I have yet to come across any serious detriments to choosing one over the other (minus the chain of contracts that force you to pit dinosaurs against one another; I was less fond of that than I was of any other aspect in the game), I often found myself going for the Entertainment aspects as they can often bring in the most money and given how scarce cash can get at times (ever try pumping out 3-4 velociraptors at about $800,000 grand a pop? It gets pricey), especially when you gamble on trying to incubate a new embryo that costs upwards of $1M only to have it fail. It sure is costly and happens often in the early stages of the game. I recall trying to incubate a triceratops as a way to bring some variety to my peaceful herd of struthiomimous only to have the $400,000 incubation procedure fail, thus losing out on much-needed funding. There are even islands that start off in the deficit and it is up to you to manage the existing properties with the hope of turning a profit (hint: when you get there, sell literally everything, you will need every penny).

While I do wish the buildable areas were larger/expandable, what space is there is fantastic to work in and my lifelong dream of being the manager of a park full of dinosaurs has come to full realization in Jurassic World Evolution. With a stunning array of customization options for your dinosaurs, interesting and often challenging contracts, hazardous weather, and some tedious micromanaging (PLEASE Frontier, please give us the option to automatically send out the park rangers for curing dinosaurs or the transport helicopter for removing dead dinosaurs), Jurassic World Evolution is a wonderful experience to behold. To fans of the franchise, of dinosaurs, or park simulators as a whole, Jurassic World Evolution is a must-buy.

Game Information

Frontier Developments
Frontier Developments
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
Sony PlayStation 4
Microsoft Xbox One


Article by Robert