Eat Your Heart Out, John Hammond
Before anyone flips out about the images, I have all the rights to all the following content and the review in its entirety is my own original work. I work for ESPNVideoGames so if you see the article in other places, it is because i write and have the right to distribute this to other sites. Enjoy the review. -RC
Most of us have matured (and, of course, most of us now are obsessing over women, an entirely different breed of creature that excites and scares us), but we still remember the feelings that are stirred up when a concept involving dinosaurs is brought to the table.
In that vein, I present to you Jurassic: The Hunted, a new first person shooter from Activision. You play as Craig Dylan, a contractor for a private security firm that is hired by a scientist looking for her father whose expedition was lost in the Bermuda Triangle back in 1983. As your plane flies over the ocean and you prepare to parachute onto an island, a storm suddenly appears and lightning strikes your plane. As the plane begins to tail spin out of control, you, your teammate, and the doctor (Gilligan and the skipper escaped the same fate), fall into a bright blue light. When you wake up and begin foraging for weapons and supplies, you come across a lizard...a really big lizard.
Thus begins your adventure as you find out later that you fell through a temporal vortex and that the reversal of the earth's magnetic poles are causing tremendous amounts of unstable energy to pull creatures and objects from all of time. You'll explore a German U-boat, use weapons from the Civil War, and get your hands on a sweet plasma rifle from the future as you search for the missing doctor and end up trying to save the world in the process.
Well, it isn't the most original plot, but it had great potential and like I said before, people love dinosaurs. Unfortunately, great potential does not a great game make. The execution of the plot felt rushed, like Activision was trying to just get this out before the holiday. I blew through the entire game in about five hours and even with the unlocking of a hard mode, and the inclusion of a survival mode that reminds you of a one-man Horde or Firefight mode from Gears 2 or Halo 3: ODST, is not enough to make this an elite game.
I will say that the game at least looks good. Seeing the dinosaurs on-screen in this game is like watching Jurassic Park again. All I would need is John Williams' classic theme and I would be set with the peripherals of this game. Unfortunately, the sound falls flat on its face compared to the graphics. The music and SFX are generic at best and the voice acting would be comparable to Larry the Cable Guy trying to do Shakespeare.
The gameplay is solid, but not spectacular and I would have loved a larger variety of weapons, especially those from different time eras. The whole time travel aspect of the game wasn't emphasized enough in general, but that again goes back to the rush job that Activision seemed to give this one. The boss battles were simple and you shouldn't die more than a handful of times if you are any good at first-person shooters. The adrenaline feature you have is a nice idea and the graphics of seeing the vitals for the dinosaurs are awesome, but aside from that it is mostly unnecessary.
Going back to the survival mode, which is probably the only thing to try to bring you back to this game, but it isn't special in any way and you should get your fill of hunting dinosaurs after a single playthrough of the game.
This game has a really strong core to it, but it just seems that everything was so rushed that it started to unravel at the seams as you continue through the entire game. The gameplay is average and there is no difficulty to speak of for anyone familiar with first-person shooters. A saving point for this game is that it is available on all systems and is only $40 compared to the full $50 or $60 price usually seen. Still, it shouldn't offer you more than five to seven hours of gameplay and for that I would rent this instead of buying it.
Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best.
Graphics: 9.0: Easily the best part of this game is the visuals. The dinosaurs look just as good as if you were watching Jurassic Park and there were almost no glitches to speak of.
Audio: 4.0: Generic music and SFX do a horrible job of setting the mood or immersing you in the game. Add on top of that some of the worst voice acting I've heard in a long time and this game might be better played with the volume off.
Plot/Plot Development: 6.0: A fun idea that should appeal to a wide audience, but horrible execution and a feeling of being rushed through the game really takes you back and out of the experience.
Gameplay: 6.5: There weren't any glitches that I could think of throughout the game, but there were only a handful of weapons to use and the melee feature was not necessary because if the dinosaurs got close to you, you were done for. Of course, every first-person shooter needs to have a melee option though. The adrenaline feature was also unnecessary. Add in the simplicity of the game and you have a barely passing score.
Replay Value: 4.0: A couple of difficulty levels and a survival mode is just not enough to bring me back to this game after the initial playthrough.
Overall (not an average): 6.5: The game gets a barely passing score because even with all the flaws it had, it was still fun. It is sad when a game like this comes out because if the developers had sat on it and put a little more into it, you could've seen this being a solid game that made an impact instead of something that is at best a good rental. The lower price tag does make it appeal a little more to the masses, but I would still rent it over buying it.
Jurassic: The Hunted is out now for Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, and PS2.