You remember that one scene in the original Jurassic Park, where the two kids needed to hide from the velociraptors in the kitchen? The cat-and-mouse nature of needing to move through the room and escape, only to be hunted by equally smart predators, was thrilling. Now imagine they took that scene and made a four-hour game out of it. If you can see that in your mind, then you can clearly picture Jurassic World: Aftermath Collection. The entire game places you in these cat-and-mouse scenarios that build up a lot of tension, occasionally even a little bit of horror, and it mostly works. While ultimately forgettable once you’ve beaten it, there is some fun to be had with Jurassic World: Aftermath Collection. Emphasis on the word “some”…
Jurassic World: Aftermath originally released as a VR game, which is important to know right off the bat. The gameplay is obviously focused on someone wearing a headset, and thus the moment-to-moment action is…limited. That said, you do a surprising amount of moving around for a VR title. On Nintendo Switch, the developers have clearly worked with traditional controllers, which makes your action sometimes seem stiff yet surprisingly workable.
Most of your time in-game will require you solving a series of puzzles while avoiding getting hunted down. These puzzles range from Simon Says “press the right button in the right sequence” to carrying objects around that make noise. Never was there a puzzle that was too difficult to figure out and surprisingly the game mixes it up so you never get the same thing multiple times in a row.
Other interesting aspects I enjoyed are its cat-and-mouse, “horror-like” sections. You are hunted by velociraptors throughout your experience and everything you do alerts them to your presence. This makes everything you do quite tense, as you can literally hear the raptors as they enter the room you’re in. Your job is to complete the puzzles then hide before the raptors find you, and, believe me, they WILL find you. It’s a very interesting horror element that you might usually see in what I’ll call “mature horror games.” Think being chased down by enemies in Outlast or even the Xenomorph in Alien: Isolation, powerless to defend yourself (an element I absolutely loved in those titles). Although I must admit that Jurassic World: Aftermath Collection definitely dials the horror down considerably from those other experiences, even if the raptor AI is surprisingly competent. You will die and you will hear and see them hunting you, but it won’t be quite as horrific.
The downside to this gameplay element is that some deaths feel quite cheap. There were many instances where I died simply because. It wasn’t that I was in the enemies line of sight, or that I failed to hide properly in time. It was simply because the game decided I should die (or maybe it was some behind-the-scenes bug). It did cheapen certain parts of the experience because it would force me to redo an entire section or set of puzzles, while still trying to avoid whatever caused my death.
It’s also a gameplay element that happens too often, to the point where it starts to become predictable. If you start working on a puzzle, the raptor is nearby. If you pick up or interact with a noisy object, the raptor is nearby. Think you’re nearly done with the section and in the clear? Yep, raptor is nearby. It all becomes quite predictable and acks variety. Don’t get me wrong, that cat-and-mouse element can be fun…when it’s broken up by something else. The reason Alien: Isolation does it so well is that entire sections (even whole levels of the ship) don’t have you fearing/hiding/running from the alien. It has you do something different to let up on the tension. Jurassic World Aftermath Collection never really lets up on this, so it starts to lose its fun after a while. While not a long game, Jurassic World: Aftermath Collection does feel like it starts to drag on after a few hours.
Jurassic World: Aftermath Collection is a decent experience for those looking for a horror-like game of cat and mouse set in the Jurassic Park universe. It does a decent job building tension with its gameplay, its surprisingly competent raptor AI, and its unique ability to switch up the puzzles. That said, deaths can feel quite cheap, especially when the game has you die for reasons you can’t understand (I’m telling you, I was completely under that desk before that raptor came in!). It also drags on a bit too long and doesn’t change things up nearly enough, making the experience become quite predictable. Jurassic World: Aftermath Collection provides you with some fun but ultimately a mixed time.