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Jurassic World Aftermath Collection

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: Coatsink
Release Date: Nov. 10, 2022


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Switch Review- 'Jurassic World: Aftermath Collection'

by Cody Medellin on Jan. 3, 2023 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Crash-landing on Isla Nublar after the fall of the Jurassic World theme park, players find themselves trapped in an abandoned research facility when their mission to recover valuable information goes disastrously wrong.

Several games have made the transition from PC and console to VR. Some do it better than others because of the game's viewpoint, and while some experiences merely make VR a gimmick, most use the technology to make the old experiences feel exciting again. However, few titles attempt to make the leap from VR to traditional gaming platforms, even if the game seems like a perfect candidate. Jurassic World: Aftermath Collection makes the attempt to do this, but the execution is less than stellar.

The story takes place two years after the events of the original "Jurassic World" movie. You play the role of Sam, someone who was hired by Dr. Amelia Everett to go into the quarantined site of Isla Nublar to retrieve some valuable data from the doctor's research. As you would expect, things go pear-shaped, with you surviving a plane crash and the doctor hiding out in a tower with a bum leg. No one else in the world knows that you're there, so the plan has changed from retrieval to escape; you must find a way to get yourself and Amelia out of there before the dinosaurs get you.

The story is fine if you're interested in lore. It does a good job of filling out the human characters like Amelia and Dr. Henry Wu, and it acts as an origin story of sorts for Blue; there are also cameos from the likes of Jeff Goldblum reprising his role of Dr. Ian Malcolm. The only issue is with Sam, who is the silent protagonist. Considering that you're spending less time listening to audio logs and more time taking instructions from Amelia, the one-way street of conversation is tired. Even a tiny bit of conversation from your character would've done wonders to keep things engaging.

Much like the original incarnation, Aftermath Collection takes the form of a stealth adventure game from the first-person perspective. For the most part, you'll find the correct switches to open the necessary doors to access the next area and plot points. The switches range from simple buttons to levers and hand cranks. More complicated switches include stabilizing the frequency for the multiple locks, repeating patterns, or hitting the button at the exact moment when the wave goes over a key area. Puzzles follow that same philosophy, so there will be a ton of instances when you'll try to match frequencies or enter codes to keep moving forward.

Of course, there are still the dinosaurs to worry about, with the main antagonists being the engineered velociraptors that roam the island. With no weapons at your disposal, your only course of action is to hide under tables or in lockers and crawl spaces, all of which are abundant since you'll mostly travel through indoor areas. The only tool you have at your disposal is a special remote that activates other machinery in your line of sight. There's nothing of the lethal variety, but turning on a radio or activating a printer act as distractions; you can trick the raptors into paying attention to that while you sneak away to another hiding spot or the room's exit.

On the Nintendo Switch, there are some concessions for the platform change to make it feel more like a proper Switch title. Things that were located on your wrist, like your compass, are now permanent parts of your HUD. The game adopts first-person controls, so your right analog stick is used to look around. Analog sticks are also used in conjunction with your d-pad to manipulate some cranks and get the right wavelengths for puzzles. Leaning is done with zL and zR, and general movement is smooth, without an option to perform jumps as expected in a VR title.

This feels like it wasn't enough to make Aftermath Collection work well on the Switch. The controls for ducking and sprinting are mapped to the LS and RS buttons underneath the analog sticks. While it frees you from having to move your thumb away from the sticks to the face buttons, the tiny Joy-Con sticks don't make them ideal. Some actions, like turning cranks, feel awkward on the sticks; the lack of precision from the d-pad makes some of the frequency puzzles feel clunky. By far the most noticeable thing about the camera is your slow movement speed. While it works to stop people from getting sick in VR, it feels sluggish even when you're actively sprinting. You won't get caught often because of your slow speed, but it makes the game feel unresponsive.

The lack of VR to dazzle players with immersion also exposes some other flaws in the game design. The raptor AI isn't as smart as you think it is. They only seem to react to things by sight some of the time, but they can also sense when you're running even if they're in another room with the doors closed. While they'll initially attempt to break down the doors or peek their heads underneath table openings to snatch you, they'll roar when they can't reach you, and they immediately return to their routines. You'll rarely use the distraction tools you have, and since you need to hide from them often, it stops becoming exciting and becomes more of a chore before the next story beat.

The presentation is really strong on the Switch. Although the audio isn't going to be as immersive as it is in VR, it still packs a punch when it comes to things like hearing the raptors stalk you on the metal floors. The voice work is excellent throughout, and the effects come through quite clearly. Graphically, the title still looks stunning thanks to the heavy use of cel shading, which works wonders in hiding anything with a lower polygon count. The deliberate art style looks amazing even in portable mode, and the fact that it still moves at a solid 60fps is a treat for players who are used to seeing heavy Switch ports top out at 30fps.

VR really makes the Jurassic World: Aftermath Collection experience enjoyable, and while the move to the Switch isn't terrible, it still loses something in the process. The slow walk and run speeds make for a sluggish-feeling experience, while the controls feel awkward when compared to other first-person games on the system. The stealth experience shines at first, but the repetition makes it dull by the halfway mark. The story is fine but doesn't have the chops to keep you glued from beginning to end. The effort is admirable, but unless you're a big "Jurassic World" fan, you're better off waiting for a VR headset before experiencing this one.

Score: 6.5/10

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