In Jurassic World Aftermath you play Sam, a Security Expert on your way to Isla Nublar after the fall of the Jurassic World Theme Park. Naturally, during your flight over to the island your plane is beset by massive Pteradons, causing you to crash land near an abandoned research facility. It turns out, being a main character anywhere near the “Islands of Death” is hazardous to your health. It’s time to dodge dinosaurs, find even dodgier information, and try to escape the island without being eaten.
Jurassic World Aftermath was released in two parts for the Oculus Quest 2, but now it has come to the PlayStation VR2, just in time for launch, and thankfully as a single cohesive product. Tie-ins with movies and shows can be hit or miss, but surely you can’t mess up the danger of giant dinos, right?
Much of the gameplay for Jurassic World Aftermath revolves around exactly what you’d expect – trying to not get eaten by raptors. After learning the basics, and picking up some basic equipment to help with tracking and to remote hack devices, you suddenly find yourself beset by bitey beasts and with little to defend yourself with. Instead, you’ll be spending a lot of your time running and hiding. Not unlike Sega’s incredible Alien: Isolation, encounters with a dinosaur are immediately fatal, unless you can seal yourself inside a container of some kind. Unlike that game, however, the raptors aren’t sharp enough to open said containers.
To help keep from becoming shredded meat in a raptor maw you can use your gloves to activate devices such as boomboxes, loudspeakers, demo signs, and other electronics to attract them to another area. This can give you a window of opportunity to sneak past them. Once they do catch your scent or hear your movement, they’ll be on your tail. You’ve got mere moments to get to a locker or crate, slide it open, get inside, and slide it closed. This is where the first hitch will cause some headaches.
On more than one occasion I found myself reloading a sequence because the game didn’t recognize that I’d grabbed the handle to close it, leaving me exposed. Thankfully, the game does checkpoint with each major action, so if you are supposed to activate four things, but get caught by this hiccup on your third, you may respawn at the beginning area, but you’ll only have the fourth thing to do. It reduces the frustration, if not eliminating it.
These stealthy moments, along with some backtracking and fetch quests are the bulk of the gameplay in Jurassic World Aftermath, but there are a handful of puzzles and a lot of audio logs to break things up. Those logs are delivered by Dr. Mia Everett (voiced by Laura Bailey who also voices Nadine Ross in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – just one of a metric ton of credits), Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcom, and BD Wong as Dr. Henry Wu.
Awesome as it is to have the principal voice actors reprise their role, the audio work in general in this game is fantastic. The positional audio serves the stealth mechanics perfectly, letting you hear where the critters are moving about. Similarly, their screeches are terrifying at close range. Hearing them full body bang against a locker will make you jerk backwards the first time, that’s for certain.
While there are some original tracks delivered by the team at Coatsink Software, you’ll also be happy to hear that the memorable John Williams score from the movie also makes an appearance in several forms. It’s immediately evocative of those moments we all remember from the films.
Further into the game you’ll eventually leave the confines of the lab, and that’s where things get interesting. While the raptors are interesting, their gameplay moments are somewhat limited to running and hiding. Some of the other beasts you’ll encounter on the island at large are far more interesting. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but they’re typically the kind where that running won’t matter. Thankfully you’ll also run into a few “Veggiesauruses” as well as “Meatysauruses”. Enjoy!
One of the best parts about Jurassic World Aftermath is that the team used a distinct cel shaded look. The PlayStation VR2 version benefits from an upgrade to those graphics, as well as a bump to 4K and 90fps. There are four distinct comfort options available, but the rock-solid framerate let me, a chronically-sensitive nausea sufferer, use the natural movement without issue. This should be safe for anyone to play, thankfully.
There are a handful of smaller haptic feedback interactions, but none that stand up in a big way beyond the heartbeat. It pulses in your head, indicating you’ve run further than your stamina will support. Beyond that, I can’t readily recall a memorable haptic feedback moment. Given how well it’s done in some other titles, I was frankly hoping for a bit more.
Ultimately Jurassic World Aftermath is a somewhat middle of the road experience that ultimately leans on repetition a little too much for its own good. While the improvements from the move to PlayStation 5 improved the visuals and framerate, it did little to improve some of the more basic experiences. Thankfully, the bright spots outweigh the moments where things go sideways, making the 7-8 hour run time worthwhile.
Jurassic World Aftermath
While the early game’s repetition doesn’t match the second half, there’s something to be said about the experience of evading dinosaurs while solving puzzles. I just wish they’d have taken more advantage of Sony’s new hardware with this port.
- Excellent audio across the board
- John Williams score contributes to authenticity
- Excellent cel shaded graphics
- Rock-solid 4K / 90 framerate and resolution
- Multiple comfort options
- Some repetitive gameplay elements
- Occasional hand tracking issues
- Fetch quests can sometimes feel like padding