previews\ Feb 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Jurassic Park


When Telltale Games announced that they would be bringing adventure game adaptations of Back to the Future and Jurassic Park, fans of both the films and adventure games were left scratching their heads. How in the world would Telltale bring these franchises to fruition? After the fantastic Back to the Future, we were proven that the studio is more than capable of making a game feel like the lost sequel to that series, setting up a good situation for the dino action franchise.

Taking place concurrent to the events of the first film, Jurassic Park deals with the lost genetic samples collected by the doomed Dennis, who was killed shortly after stealing the specimens. Seems there was a tracking device inside, so a sexy smuggler breaks into the park to track it down. With the electrified gates no longer keeping the dinosaurs in control, things are slowly going to hell. Just like the movies! Very exciting indeed, and while the game generally ignores the characters of the first film (which is a bummer), nothing from Jurassic Park 2 or 3 seems to be around to sully the game.

I was given an opportunity to play some early ten minutes of the game. It appears our Spanish-speaking smuggler has been injured, and she's being taken care of a park ranger and his teenage daughter. The initial puzzle involves moving a triceratops that is blocking the path. Seems like the gates are already down, so the player guides the park ranger through moving the triceratops, unlocking the game and getting it closed. A T. Rex comes along and ends up battling the triceratops as the poor human characters have to leap and dodge past the dinos to get to safety. Yep, Jurassic Park follows the same pattern of including a scientist, a teenage girl, and a grumpy disgruntled anti-hero, like pretty much every single Jurassic Park story line to date, and the scene here played out like the famous T. Rex scene from the film.

Curiously, the game does not play like other Telltale games. Instead of pointing and clicking, or directly controlling a character, a series of Xbox controller icons pop up on various interactive objects. A press on the direction pad will change the scene, and players dictate the actions of the characters through these icons. It's super simplified and very streamlined, which is a good thing for a title that is obviously designed with a game pad in mind.

However, as things get more action packed, players will be tasked with quick time events to rush their characters around. Sometimes there will be different options for the players, such as dodging around a tree or jumping in front of it, but in my scene it didn't really offer any plot differences. However, mess these QTEs and the game can get...messy. Jurassic Park isn't a bloody game, but the teen girl will get eaten right in front of the player, the dad will be squished under a T. Rex, or characters will even be simultaneously skewered and eaten in the moment. It is, to borrow early nineties slang, gnarly, and the deaths are almost gleeful to watch.

Visually, it's probably the best looking Telltale game to date. It isn't quite as clean as Back to the Future, but it certainly looks pure to the franchise. Fans of Jurassic Park will be pleased, and the voice work sounds good as well.

After ten minutes with the game, it's hard to decide if Jurassic Park will be a good or bad game. It's certainly different from other adventure games, but it looks good, and it plays like a series of quick time events. With the game out in early April, players won't have long to wait to decide for themselves as they reenter the world of Jurassic Park.

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