Game Reviews

Jurassic Park: The Game 3 HD

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Jurassic Park: The Game 3 HD

Telltale has always struggled to pair interactivity with fiction in this series of Jurassic Park-inspired games.

In every episode, the action scenes are barely-interactive movies that you occasionally need to nudge in the right direction with a tap, a scribble, or a gesture. The downtime usually consists of prodding every available hotspot until the game moves along.

But this third episode sees perhaps the strangest attempt yet to shoehorn some activity into the story. Dino doctors Sorkin and Harding are escaping from Isla Nublar - now overrun by terrible lizards - and they stop to have a heated argument about the fate of the dinosaurs.

What about the lysine contingency?

The resurrected reptiles are genetically coded with a faulty enzyme that stops them producing lysine. The humans give them supplements, but without the regular top-ups the dinos would all die off. Again.

Harding wanted the lysine turned off so the predators would keel over. Sorkin, being the lefty animal-rights hippy that she is, has left it on. A feisty debate between the two dino docs erupts. Is it ethical to kill all the animals? But what if they swim to the mainland and eat everyone?

Only, in this conversation, you choose the dialogue options in both sides of the debate. You're essentially arguing with yourself, slinging accusations and rebuttals at yourself in a shouty attempt to prove yourself wrong.

It's an utterly bizarre piece of game design, and the latest misstep in Telltale's ambitious attempt to change its well-trodden formula.

It also goes to show just how rigid the game's structure is, and the way you have no meaningful event on the outcome of the tale. You can't change the story by successfully arguing either side. No matter how well either side argues, one of them is destined to win.

Clever girl

But it does at least give us a little more information on the characters. They're people, and not just mannequins that run away from raptors. We see that the dino doctors disagree, we learn more about Harding's rebellious daughter Jess, and we see a different side to mercenary grunt Billy.

This episode doesn't have the action of episode one. There are more dinosaur chases and fights, but they're still few and far between. It's also lacking in puzzles. The previous episode saw something vaguely resembling a puzzle as you walked through the logical steps to revive a defunct rollercoaster. This episode is all about blindly following orders.

But it at least focuses on the cast and gives us motivation to keep them away from a T-Rex's toothy grin.

That's, that's chaos theory

The series normally looks good. Characters and dinosaurs are rendered well and plopped into visually distinct locations. But this episode takes place in long, featureless corridors beneath the island. It's a really dull environment and walking from grey corridor B7 to grey corridor G9 just makes the whole thing drag on.

At least the presentation is better. We didn't restart our iPad 2 before playing this time and we only saw a few stutters and freezes. Some progress, at least.

Jurassic Park has tried to create an exciting dinosaur thrill-ride. But with only the occasional button-prompt and too few puzzle sequences the result is a very hollow, passive experience that demands little.

While learning more about the characters is welcome, the dull action scenes, complete lack of puzzles, and dreary environment of episode three makes this the worst one yet. Hopefully there will be a little redemption in the final episode, but we're not holding our breath.

Jurassic Park: The Game 3 HD

The Jurassic Park games have always been disappointing, but with less action and virtually no puzzles, episode three is the worst one yet
Mark Brown
Mark Brown
Mark Brown spent several years slaving away at the Steel Media furnace, finally serving as editor at large of Pocket Gamer before moving on to doing some sort of youtube thing.