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Lego Jurassic World Review

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Once more, with bricks in

★★★★★

The welter of Legoised game versions of blockbusting films that Warner Bros has released in recent years have provided some of the best ever opportunities for parent/offspring bonding. And thanks to British developer TT Games, they’ve been consistently shot through with humour and have managed to poke gentle fun at the films on which they are based. But sadly, the format is beginning to show signs of having gone past its sell-by date.

Not that Lego Jurassic World is devoid of plus-points. It’s the first Lego game that looks current-gen on the current-gen consoles. It doesn’t confine itself to the latest film, but instead, the storyline takes in pivotal moments from the first three films also – each given an extra Lego-style spin of whimsical humour, which will get fans of the movie franchise chuckling. It sports two open-world free-play areas, in which you can perform plenty of exercises when you’ve played through the story. And you can play as dinosaurs, plus even create your own hybrids of different dinosaur breeds.

The way in which TT Games has taken the characters from the films and given their characters in the game appropriate puzzle-solving skills is clever, too. As ever, the bulk of Lego Jurassic World involves solving puzzles by building Lego objects and swapping between characters with different skills – the whole game is playable co-operatively by two people. Thus, some characters can dive into heaps of dinosaur-dung in order to heal (and then control) sick dinosaurs, whereas others can cut through dense vegetation, follow trails of clues and dig for essential items, shoot targets and so on. Jeff Goldblum’s Dr Ian Malcolm character (who, pleasingly, looms large and has been rendered even more bumbling in his Lego incarnation) can solve mathematical puzzles on blackboards, for example.

Lego Jurassic World places a bit more emphasis on action than previous Lego games, which ought to be a good thing but isn’t. Whenever you’re beset by a dinosaur, for example – or controlling a dinosaur taking on other dinosaurs – everything plays out in disappointingly unimaginative quick-time events, and there are several chase sequences which are ludicrously easy. Indeed, the general difficulty level seems to have been dialled down from previous games, rendering what should be challenging tasks trivial. And the ability to brawl with the smaller dinosaurs seems great at first, but swiftly palls.

Lego Jurassic World scores highly in the humour stakes – dinosaurs come out of character and behave in human ways occasionally, and their traits (such as gluttony) are exaggerated to comic effect. And there are plenty of moments involving the human characters that will strike a chord with those who know all four films more or less by heart. TT Games, in its very British way, hasn’t been afraid to poke fun at script clunkers or characters with over-the-top personality traits, and that at least gives the game some adult appeal.

But Lego Jurassic World has more drawbacks than we expected. Despite the presence of stories from all four films, it’s very short. The open-world areas help extend its life somewhat, but they still make the game feel disjointed in comparison, say, with Lego Marvel Superheroes, which has a single, much better populated sandbox. And Lego Jurassic World has done away with the Master Builds. Despite all the inventiveness involving characters with very specific skills, it doesn’t feel like it brings anything new to the blueprint, and leaves you wishing TT Games hadn’t left out some aspects of Lego games of yore.

Lego Jurassic World is by no means a bad game – it’s still ideal for parent-sibling bonding, and is a curiosity that will give Jurassic Park film franchise-fanatics plenty of vicarious pleasure. But it never gives you the impression that in making it, TT Games felt the need to do anything but take it easy and coast. There have been so many Lego games in recent years that they TT Games and Warner Bros will have to up their games to stop the franchise fizzling out through sheer ennui.

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