A terribly underrated game.
Trespasser: Jurassic Park is an interesting game to review. It's a game that never truly lived up to all the amazing gameplay claims and all the potential it had during it's three-year disastrous development. But then again, could a game with so many promises really be expected to fulfill every single one? I began the game expecting nothing but what everyone had told me for years. I was expecting a terrible, boring, broken, mediocre, irritating, ugly game. Boy, was I surprised. It's a real shame that Trespasser is considered such a failure, because if the hype wasn't so big back in 1997 and if expectations weren't sky high for "the most revolutionary game ever", then the game might have been received better and seen as the unique and very enjoyable experience that it truly is.
Trespasser is a very unusually good game. I very much wanted to give it four-and-a-half stars, but it's far from perfect and does have some issues. The most unusual aspect of the game is it's emptiness. It's just you and the dinosaurs. From the moment your plane crashes on Site-B until the ending moment when your standing on the Helipad waiting to be rescued, you make not one single contact when another human being and even dinosaurs aren't present for entire areas of a level. It's almost eerie. While the graphics are dated and loaded with issues (the graphics are, in fact, the biggest issue in the game), the entire look and feel of Site-B is almost beautiful and serene. The game takes place in many open fields, canyons, valleys, beaches, mountains, abandoned towns, facilities, and all of the environments are very well detailed and realistic. Even more so for a game from 1998. The game really gives you a genuine feeling of loneliness.
The gameplay is very simple, but definitely the best part of the game. On a basic level, Trespasser is just an FPS. Each level is pretty much you moving from point A to point B, killing dinosaurs with whatever weapons you can find, and trying to stay alive. Some levels have you solving puzzles which are extremely simple and usually consist of finding a key or stacking boxes to get to a certain level you can't reach, but Trespasser has quite a few unique gameplay twists. The first twist is the arm. Most FPS games have you simply walk over items like guns or ammo to pick them up. In Trespasser, you have full control of your right arm and in order to perform an action, you have to extend your right arm and literally pick things up. A lot of people reviews complain about the arm dropping things and the controls for the arm being confusing and complicated, but I never had any issues. Picking stuff up eventually became second nature to me. It's actually a lot of fun.
The combat is also a lot of fun. Using your arm to target a dinosaur and take him out can be very thrilling and also sometimes frightening. Many times in this game I found myself turning around to make sure nothing was behind me and, HOLY SHIT, a raptor was about to attack me. I jumped several times in this game. The second twist is the rag-doll physics. Trespasser the first game to feature actual realistic (to a degree) physics, and not just with a few items. With everything in the game. While the physics are a nice touch and very crucial to a few puzzles in the game, the designers really went hilariously out of control with the physics. Tapping something the littlest bit can lead to boxes flying and weapons falling. It can actually be really funny, but also quite frustrating when your trying to jump across a stack of boxes and they fall and you have you stack them all over again.
The biggest downfall of the game is the graphics. Glitches are abounding in Trespasser. Pop-up is all over the place. Hallways warp and bend the closer you get to them. GUNS GET STUCK IN HALLWAYS. Notice how I capitalized that sentence. It happens all the time. Your walking through a hallway and touch the tip of your gun on the wall when your turning around, and suddenly it's hanging out of the wall. While this is irritating, rather than complain, you can just toss your weapon before you enter a building. Another issue that reviews complain about that is easily avoided.
A final highlight is the narration by John Hammond, which is simply amazing. It really adds to the game and is quite interesting in its own right. Some of it is very sad and poetic. Especially towards the end of the game. Trespasser is a terribly underrated game. Though far from perfect, it is a very unique game and a truly atmospheric experience. As I played the game, I found myself completely immersed in the environments, the dinosaurs, the narration, and I couldn't stop playing. Give the game a chance. Ignore the hype and the disappointment, and just try playing game. You might be surprised.