Jurassic: The Hunted
Dinosaurs might have gone extinct millions of years ago, but the last couple of decades have been very good to them. Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” ignited the imaginations of the millions who watched, spawning an entire industry of dinosaur-related museum exhibits, documentaries and television shows. And of course, video games. Some of these games have been very enjoyable, most notably the early Turok games. Sadly, some have been Jurassic: The Hunted, miserable games that weren’t worth the time and money spent on their development.
In Jurassic, players assume the role of a Gears of War stereotype named Rock. Rock and his buddy Dylan are badass mercenary types hired by Sabrina Sayrus to travel to the Bermuda Triangle – yes, really – to find her father. Along the way, an electrical storm creates a temporal anomaly that damages their plane, forcing the team to bail. Separated when their parachutes land on a strange island, Rock soon discovers that the anomaly has brought them back to the age of dinosaurs. From here, the rest of your play time will be spent trying to regroup with the team and get off the island. While the plot might sound like campy fun, it’s actually taken seriously, with voice actors attempting to make it dramatic. The results aren’t good.
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In other games, such a mission usually requires the player to use their brain, but this is not a necessity for Jurassic. History’s greatest hunters are incredibly dimwitted, often running straight at the player without any real tactic other than striking head-on in huge waves. It’ll be difficult at first to take down waves of dinosaurs when you’re armed only with a pistol, but combat quickly goes from difficult to minor nuisance once the player gains access to the shotgun, which single-shot kills every small dinosaur you’ll encounter.
And boy, will you encounter a lot of small dinosaurs. For whatever reason, the developers thought players would have more fun slaughtering small, annoying dinosaurs instead of giant, fearsome dinosaurs. You’ll literally kill hundreds of Velociraptors and Deinonychus, two almost identical creatures distinguishable only by one species being red and the other being green. You’ll only encounter a handful of Tyrannosaur and other intimidating dinosaurs and when you do, you’re always given a leg-up in combat thanks to unlimited ammo caches that you can tap over and over again for a resupply.
I can only come up with three reasons that I even played through the game. First, it’s really short. The game clocked in at less than four hours. When you finish, you’ll unlock a defense mode, which takes the least enjoyable segments of the single player experience and makes it last longer. Jurassic’s also extremely easy. You’ll follow an extremely linear path through the jungle and a large icon in the center of the screen will point you exactly where you need to go at all times, so you can get through it without ever putting any thought into what you’re doing or need to do. Finally, you’ll earn a ton of really easy achievements.
Those aren’t reasons to celebrate. Jurassic: The Hunted is in all categories a bad game, produced by a developer with a track record of producing bad games. If the developers had put more thought into the level design, gave the players more opportunities to explore, included more dinosaurs and hadn’t taken the plot seriously, it could have been a decent game. Unfortunately, they didn’t do any of these things and instead we got this downright lousy game.