A few weeks ago, I had a great, limited opportunity to get hands-on with Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition on Switch. During the time, I played around with the title to see how Frontier had managed to get such an expansive styled game onto such a small piece of hardware with quite frankly, limited technology capabilities compared to the larger consoles, or PC. I was generally quite amazed with the experience, even though there were a few areas I wished had a little different implementation. As the title is soon releasing, the question arises, does Jurassic World Evolution really stack up on the Switch in the Complete Edition?
To find out an answer to that question, I am once again going to focus on the technological adaptations for the duration of this review, as Gamereactor has already produced a more detailed story/gameplay review for this title in the past (you can find it here). With that being said, I will mention that the Complete Edition will contain the most recently updated base game and all expansions, making for two years worth of gameplay, and 68 dinosaurs, 19 of which are included DLC.
Anyway, without further ado, let's dive right into the visuals. Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition looks great from a far, both on the smaller handheld screen, and on a larger docked screen. You can clearly make out buildings, foliage, infrastructure, and even the smaller dinosaurs. When you zoom in however, and get up close and personal to the world and fauna (something Dr. Ian Malcom would not recommend), the title becomes a little ugly. It's obvious that textures have taken quite a hit to make this package deal work, and whilst it does look slightly better zoomed in when docked, it's still not great.
The user interface was an area I felt struggled more than most in my preview, due to it being incredibly small and challenging to read. However, now it seems much clearer, still very small, but clearer and much easier to read and understand. That even extends to how the UI is presented, as now it feels less challenging to manipulate, and much simpler to process in general. It's brighter, more obvious and implemented slightly better, to the point where the experience is significantly improved.
Frame rate still seems to be an issue with this title, but I will say, when zoomed out, the gameplay runs quite smoothly. When you get into the nitty-gritty details the game does struggle, often chugging along like a slideshow at times. Does this mean the frame rate hasn't improved? Absolutely not, the gameplay glides when you are in a bird's eye view, which is something it previously didn't.
Loading times within Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition were already pretty great for a Switch, meaning it's no surprise to say they are still fantastic. There has been a lot of talk regarding next-generation loading times recently, and whilst this won't compete with those records, it is still pretty quick for a simulation title running on hardware that is over three years old. It also has a small file size considering the scale of the game, sitting at around 5.6GB, making it one of the bigger Switch games, but still reasonable to manage, unlike some - yes, I'm looking at you The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
The audio still sounds great, capturing that sense of awe every Jurassic Park piece of content seems to create, even the slightly disappointing newer movies. Whether it's the signature soundtrack, or the calls of the dinosaurs, the whole lot sounds fantastic, docked coming through your TV, or handheld with the Switch's speakers.
On the topic of handheld and docked, and considering I've mentioned it a few times before, this title really doesn't have any significant reason to play one over the other. It looks, feels and sounds great on-the-go and on your TV. The main issue I still have revolves around the control scheme of which doesn't utilise the Switch's two main unique factors, motion controls and a touch screen. Sure, every other part of this title controls and handles fine, but why can't I do some of the more menial menu tasks with the touch screen, or drive using motion controls? These are the sorts of additions that take a move to a new platform from being okay, to amazing.
For what it's worth, I like this title a lot, and I think Frontier has done a stellar job at moving it over to Switch. Considering the differences in hardware potential between what the Switch offers and the other platforms, the fact this title runs as well as it does is a marvel. There are still a few issues with it, such as low frame rates and often grim textures, but at the same time, it brings two years worth of content in a bundle that is less than a fifth of the size of The Witcher on Switch. That's pretty impressive!
Considering you can now take your simulated dinosaur park on the road, the limited qualities of this game can feel irrelevant against its portability. If you have the choice, would I recommend the PC, Xbox or PS4 version of Jurassic World Evolution over this one? Probably. But if you are a fan of the series, or are just looking for a solid Switch title for the next time you hop on a plane (probably in a decade at this rate), Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition is a great choice for some quality fun.
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