Again, like past titles in this franchise, LEGO Jurassic World
is a mix of open world exploration and set levels. Similar to the style introduced in LEGO Harry Potter
and LEGO Batman
, but refined more over the years, you are thrown into an area that is explorable, but with locked areas. As you progress through the four stories, more characters and their special abilities will be unlocked and you will gain more freedom of movement.
Of course, just making it through the game's stories is about half of the overall content. With each Story Mode level completed, a Free Play Mode becomes available. In these run throughs, you aren't restricted to the specific characters that the game dictates. Instead, you have access to all of the ones that you've unlocked. This means that areas you could see but not get to during your first run through can be attempted, provided you have the right skills on hand, of course.
These skills range from Allen Grant's ability to dig and assemble dinosaur bones, to Ellie Sattler's botany skills and strange lack of compunction against digging in dino droppings. Other characters like Robert Muldoon and Owen can act like hunters and trackers, while Paul Kirby has a handy grappling hook, Tim Murphy has night vision goggles and his sister Lex can hack computers and scream so loud that she breaks glass.
Fans of the LEGO games might think that a lot of these skills sound familiar, and quite frankly, they are. There isn't really anything new offered here, especially when you consider the huge array of skills developed for the DC Heroes and Marvel Heroes games. Where LEGO Jurassic World does provide a new skillset is that you get the chance to play as dinosaurs.
While these moments are few and far between during Story Mode, as you unlock dinos, you can switch to them during the Free Play and open world parts of the game, and quite frankly, there are a lot of little things scattered around the world for you to unlock and uncover as a dinosaur. These skills include being able to dash and break through objects, bite through large obstacles or even climb up particularly high platforms as a Velociraptor. To add a bit more fun to the dinosaur play time, you can go to a couple of locations in the game and fiddle with the genetics of your giant lizards. With one set of controls, you can customize the color and patterns of specific species, while another lets you roll the genetic dice and mix-and-match different aspects of the dinos to create your own special park attraction. It's basically the same feature that has been available for customizing minifigs, but given that it's dinosaurs, it just feels bigger than simply swapping out which tools, clothes, head and hats a character uses.
While a vast majority of LEGO Jurassic World felt like the past titles with a new skin (which I still enjoyed, mind you), the chance to charge around as a Pachycephalosaurus or hunt down a scent trail as a Raptor really adds a uniquely Jurassic Park feel to the game.