Jurassic World Aftermath is a 3-D video game for the Oculus Quest where you play as a scientist trying to escape Isla Nublar after it’s been overrun by dinosaurs. Although not an actual sequel to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Aftermath does provide allusions and references to the events of the film throughout the game.The game has you play as the protagonist, who’s given many names throughout the game. You are a scientist who was working with Benjamin Lockwood, John Hammond’s former partner before Ian Malcolm. Your character worked in his lab, but most of your backstory is left up to interpretation or discovered through reading documents found throughout the game. It never stated what type of scientist you are or why you were on the island. Your goal is to escape the island with your life, but throughout the game, there are many obstacles that stand in your way.
The game’s story starts with a slideshow explaining some background info on Isla Nublar and Jurassic World. It tells us that after JurassicWorld was shut down, the dinosaurs were left to fend for themselves on the island. A year goes by and large carnivores are now starting to hunt humans. Your character has been recording their encounters with these dinosaurs (and living ones) which is what you play through during this game. As you progress through each level, you find more of your fellow colleagues who have also been stranded on the island. The further you get, however, the more dangerous dinosaurs show up and many of your colleagues end up getting killed by these new threats.
The gameplay itself is very straightforward. You shoot various dinosaurs with a crossbow to turn them into tranquillizer darts so they don’t harm you anymore. Depending on the dinosaur, they either become tranquillized or die. This dynamic can be changed by collecting some of the eggs scattered throughout the game. If you collect these special eggs, the dinosaurs will all become tranquillized instead of dying. It’s not really explained why this happens or if there is any significance to it whatsoever. All I could gather was that the dinosaurs were somehow becoming more docile throughout the game. At first, they are extremely aggressive and trying to kill you, but as you progress through the game, the dinos that show up are slower and not nearly as threatening.
The graphics are very basic with nothing too spectacular to note about them. The dinosaurs look okay but are mostly just blobs with eyes and teeth. Some of the environments can be pretty cool, especially when you are deep underground digging up dinosaur bones or in the lab looking at dinosaurs under microscopes. As for playable areas, you mostly just run through jungle-y areas with a constant red hue to signify that it is nighttime on the island. There are some caves, laboratories, and high-tech facilities that you get to explore later in the game. The game also started with a slideshow explaining some backstory before starting, which would be great if it actually played while the slideshow was going on (but it doesn’t). All said and done, there is nothing here worth writing home about when it comes to graphics. The controls, on the other hand, are not very good. When you’re walking around with your lightsaber like a crossbow, it works pretty well and doesn’t get in the way at all. However, when you come across more dinosaurs that require different strategies, the combat becomes a little difficult. For example, some of them can only be tranquillized from behind and you have to look at them through your binoculars or else they’ll see you coming. Other dinosaurs that are very fast need to be shot in the head (which is hard when they’re running around). Many of these dinosaurs require different strategies and it is very frustrating when trying to plan ahead, using the incorrect weapon for each dinosaur. This problem is only exacerbated by the fact that you can not change weapons while playing through a level. For some dinosaurs, you will have to go back to your spawn point and get new ammo and then try again.
The game’s main selling point is its VR integration which makes for some great gameplay once it gets going. There are various VR activities that you can do in between levels such as looking through microscopes and interacting with the dinosaurs in your lab. There is also a shooting range where you can shoot turrets when enemies show up. You hold two hand gesture controllers and aim by moving them around to target objects. It works pretty well after some calibration, but the range is very limited and you can’t really do much with your hands (no reloading or anything like that). It’s a bit ironic that there is such emphasis on VR in the game since it is really only prevalent between gameplay.
There isn’t much of a story to Jurassic World Aftermath, but one does exist if you look closely enough. When I first started the game, I thought it was going to be a survival type of shooter where you have to survive the night on the dangerous island. Instead, there is a much deeper story involving a corporation and how they were trying to revive dinosaurs from their fossils. This dinosaur resurrection turns out to be less than pleasant as some of them turn into mutants that start attacking you while searching for your parents. You find out that the mutation was caused by experiments being done on the island, which makes sense when you finally see what’s going on at the lab later in the game. There is a definite story here and it isn’t too difficult to understand if you follow along with it, but most people will probably not pay too much attention to it.
Jurassic World Aftermath is a fairly short game, depending on how good you are at FPS games and whether or not you get lost trying to find where to go next. There are only five levels in the game, but they do take a while to get through since there aren’t any checkpoints anywhere. I finished the game in around 40 minutes and it was about an hour before I started repeating levels because they’re really just not that exciting. The dinosaurs are decently detailed, but there is nothing new or innovative here.
Jurassic World Aftermath feels like a rushed product with little care put into it. If you were hoping for a successor to the Jurassic Park series that you didn’t get from Jurassic World Evolution, this isn’t it. It has potential if more effort was put into it and it wasn’t rushed, but as is, I’d pass on this title.