So this is a bit of an odd impressions piece for me. The game is many years old, though not old enough to even be considered to be retro. I played it when it first released with very little knowledge of Telltale and their games. After a number of years, I went back to it (mostly for achievements) armed with more knowledge of Telltale games and what to expect. I had remembered parts of it and forgotten others, but overall it was an interesting experience, to say the least.
First let me state the glaringly obvious, this game has an incredibly weak story. It is one of the worst I have ever experienced with Telltale games. It tries to tie in with the story of the movie but makes a number of missteps in that effort. Not only that but it’s pacing is awkward and the characters often stop to have “development” in ways that are unrealistic considering what else is going on. I say this because my overall impressions of this game are probably not as harsh as many people. I want to make it clear that I am not blind to the huge issue this game has, a weak, if not simply bad, story.
In spite of this, I find myself still unable to hate this game, and I think it boils down to one reason. For better or for worse this game is more of an actual game than a lot of what we’ve been seeing from Telltale in recent years.
Telltale has a format we are all used to now. They pick, license, and do a game that will sometimes tie into that license or sometimes be its own thing. Gameplay involves a number of QTEs, picking dialogue options, and the occasional choice of which direction to go. As the years have passed Telltale has gotten to be a lot less game and a lot more visual novel. There are moments in many of their more recent games where you are not an active participant for long amounts of time. There is a huge emphasis on dialogue choices with a few QTEs thrown in every once in awhile.
Jurassic Park: The Game doesn’t completely break from this formula, but there is a large emphasis on actually doing things. It has a significantly larger number of QTEs than many of their games now, but it goes beyond that. There are many moments where you are given almost puzzle like moments in order to move forward. From things like having to herd dinosaurs, fix rides, or even find things in the dark. You as the gamer have to take a number of steps and work out how to progress forward. This is something you will occasionally see in Telltale games but was fairly standard in this game.
The take away becomes that when I am more actively engaged and enjoying the gameplay I am more able to sit through what can be a painful at times story. Is it enough to make me love the experience? Of course not. I spent most of the time laughing about it and even groaning at certain parts. I did, however, have fun, which is something I just haven’t been doing with most Telltale games.
I guess this isn’t much of an impressions piece, in fact, I should probably call it something else. However, there is a bottom line here. Telltale would do themselves a huge favor if they remembered to bring more the “game” part to their video games. I’ve slowly fallen out of love with them as developers, and am realizing more and more it’s because I just can’t enjoy the “gameplay” experience anymore. Jurassic Park is flawed in a lot of different ways, but if you can embrace the bad there is some entertainment to be had. I am actually surprisingly happy that I went back to it, it was a fun experience.