Jurassic World Aftermath: Collection Switch Review

Nov 15, 2022 · 11


Our Score 5/10 - Mediocre
The Good Fantastic sound design helps to create some surprisingly tense moments and a passable story with some actors returning to voice characters which are sure to please fans of the franchise
The Bad The hide-and-seek mechanic does start to feel dull quite quickly, and repetitive puzzles fail to inject any excitement into the gameplay
Release Date November 10th, 2022
Developed By Coatsink
Available On Nintendo Switch
Reviewed On Nintendo Switch

Disclaimer: A code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

I'm hiding in a locker as I stare down a Velociraptor pacing restlessly on the other side of the closed door. This would be a terrifying predicament to find myself in, if it wasn't for the fact that I have been here many, many times before. After a few seconds, the Raptor loses interest and trots off, leaving me alone to exit the locker and carry on my day. Well, at least until the next time I need to hide away in a locker anyway, and from my experience, that's never far away.

Jurassic World Aftermath Collection relies heavily on the above scenario, which makes perfect sense considering it is a Jurassic Park game. Hiding from Velociraptors is par for the course at this point, harking right back to the now iconic scene from the first film, so it's no surprise that Aftermath makes use of it here. What is a shame is just how heavily it relies on this mechanic, to the point that the scenario mentioned in the opening of this review is pretty much the foundation on which Aftermath is built.

Having originally appeared on the Quest VR headset back in 2020, Jurassic Park Aftermath's VR heritage lies heavy around this Switch port's neck, to the point that it almost weighs it down. It is all too easy to imagine how each section will translate into a VR scenario, but some of this magic does get lost on the leap to console.

Jurassic World Aftermath: Collection Switch Review

On paper, this might not seem like too big a deal, but in practice, a game of hide-and-seek between with a couple of genetically-engineered dinos quickly loses its appeal, especially when the AI leaves a lot to be desired. The few dinosaurs you encounter look and sound exactly like they do on film, right down to the clack of the Raptor's claws on the metal floor as they prowl the confines of the play space, but the illusion is quickly shattered when you realize how heavily they rely on field-of-view mechanics when it comes to spotting you. If you aren't directly in front of them, chances are you might not get spotted.

This is a far cry from the relentless predators we've become accustomed to in the films. Instead of being portrayed as intelligent hunters, the Raptors are relegated to little more than guards on patrol that can be snuck around providing you can break line of sight, which does feel a little cheap to see them hamstrung. It is a sacrifice that is understandable when you consider Aftermath's VR roots - transfer the cunning killers from the movies into a video game, and it would quickly become a motion-sickness-inducing bloodbath - but by hindering them in this way it does take away some of the magic. Worse still, it robs you of the feeling that you are outsmarting them because, well, you aren't. You're playing a videogame, and these Raptors are confined by its rules, just as you are.

Jurassic World Aftermath: Collection Switch Review

It is here that Aftermath's biggest shackles present themselves. The illusion is never truly allowed to take hold because it's always restrained by what the game allows, so whatever scenario you find yourself in you are never really given the freedom to deal with it in your own way. You either do it the right way, or you fail.

A few design choices shatter the illusion further. For example, should a Velociraptor spot you, you have a few seconds to react and find a spot to hide. For this reason, Aftermath is littered with hiding places, from lockers to jump in or tables to scurry under, and should you manage to safely tuck yourself away before the Raptor catches up to you, they inevitably forget you exist and wander off after a few seconds, which feels like the exact opposite of what a Raptor would do. Of course, I understand that if this didn't happen you would simply spend hours in-game hiding in a locker, but it does serve to further dispel the illusion the game is working so hard to create.

...should you manage to safely tuck yourself away before the Raptor catches up to you, they inevitably forget you exist and wander off after a few seconds, which feels the exact opposite of what an actual predator would do.

Further compounding this problem is that the rest of the game doesn't do enough of the heavy lifting with the gameplay having a serious lack of challenge.

The premise is that you've crashed on the island it's down to you to save the day and escape, which is accomplished by navigating the island and completing the original mission that put you in this position in the first place. Luckily you have a geneticist on the other end of a walkie-talkie who just so happens to have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of how every other system on the island works, from activating elevators to restoring power to long abandoned areas of the complex.

Jurassic World Aftermath: Collection Switch Review

And so Aftermath descends into a series of repetitive fetch quests - go here and pull this lever before heading there and pulling this switch - all the while avoiding the dinosaurs that patrol the many corridors and offices. It's all stuff we have seen done before but with a Jurassic Park set dressing and some questionable controls.

Much of the game's difficulty stems from how slow and clunky the controls feel, and this too feels like a carryover from Aftermath's VR origins. There is a sprint button, but the chances of outrunning a Velociraptor in Aftermath are slim to none. Moving and turning as slowly as you do here was probably a conscious decision to avoid motion sickness in VR, but that isn't something that Switch players have to contend with. Instead, the slow, deliberate movements feel a little too on the nose, and this is only more noticeable in those sections where you are trying to run to the nearest locker to avoid the dinosaur in hot pursuit.

It isn't all doom and gloom though. The sound design in Aftermath is a real strength, as snarls and grunts haunt the halls, or the clang of metallic air vents constantly reminding you that you aren't alone. All of this serves to crank up the tension, especially during the opening few hours and the few sections where the Velociraptors aren't the prime predator.

Jurassic World Aftermath: Collection Switch Review

Another point worthy of note is the game's presentation. Being cel-shaded, Aftermath oozes charm, and you can tell that this is a game crafted with love for the source material. Dinosaurs you encounter look and feel authentic - as much as the Jurassic Park franchise has led us to believe, anyway. Environments are beautifully crafted too, but they feel empty with very little to interact with outside of mission objects. Each area does feel lovingly designed, but with little to uncover or mess around with, I quickly gave up on exploring.

Jurassic World Aftermath's VR heritage looms large in this Switch port. Sections that no doubt feel thrilling in the confined space of a VR headset feel repetitive and dull on a flat screen. As a result, Jurassic World Aftermath feels like a walking-sim with some survival horror sections. The lack of enemy variety, the overly simplistic puzzles, and some frustrating stealth sections prevent Aftermath from staking its claim as the apex predator of its genre.

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