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Lego Jurassic World review: Better than Jurassic Park III

Hayden Dingman | July 8, 2015
I'll be honest: Lego Jurassic World is the first Lego game I've finished in quite a while now. Probably since 2012's Lego Lord of the Rings. And that's because in broad swathes all of these games are exactly the same--take a beloved series, convert the characters (and some of the scenery) into Lego bricks, then punch things apart and pick up about a million different collectibles.

Lego Jurassic World

I'll be honest: Lego Jurassic World is the first Lego game I've finished in quite a while now. Probably since 2012's Lego Lord of the Rings. And that's because in broad swathes all of these games are exactly the same--take a beloved series, convert the characters (and some of the scenery) into Lego bricks, then punch things apart and pick up about a million different collectibles.

If it sounds like I'm down on the series, I'm really not. Even the worst Lego game is about a billion times better than most of the licensed tripe I played as a kid--major exceptions made for Spider-Man 2, Cool Spot, and GoldenEye. But it's a known quantity, and a repetitive one at that. One made primarily for kids, and maybe parents. You have to be really enamored with the source material to want to play a Lego game.

The moral of Lego Jurassic World: Never underestimate my affinity for Lego-fied dinosaurs.

Lost worlds

Despite the title, Lego Jurassic World in fact covers all four of the Jurassic Park films. Yes, even the bad one. The most amazing thing about Lego Jurassic World is it manages to make a halfway decent game out of what's really one fantastic film, two decent follow-ups, and the giant pile of bargain-basement celluloid known as Jurassic Park III.

Never before has Traveller's Tales had so damn little to work with. I mean, Lego The Hobbit comes pretty close, but at least you had the scope and spectacle of Tolkien's larger Middle Earth saga to work with. Jurassic Park III is just awful on every level. It's probably the film I'll look back on when I'm dying and go "I wish I hadn't wasted that two hours of my life."

Lego Jurassic World even manages to turn Jurassic Park III into something if not amazing at least engaging--and really, that's all we can ask. Anything more and we'd be talking about a legitimate earthly miracle, on par with turning water into wine.

Key to the process? Dinosaurs. Enormous Lego dinosaurs. And some smaller Lego dinosaurs.

I predicted this would be the highlight of Lego Jurassic World in my preview at GDC, and I was right. Each level in Lego Jurassic World contains a hidden "Piece of Amber." Find this collectible and you then unlock the ability to spawn dinosaurs into the hub world in preordained paddocks or--in the case of certain smaller dinosaurs--even take them into the story levels as free-play characters.

You can also embody Dr. Wu and customize the dinosaurs in question, changing their color schemes or creating new dinosaurs by (for example) swapping a triceratops head onto a velociraptor body.

 

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