E3 Second Look: Jurassic Park
Posted on Thursday, June 16 @ 18:49:38 Eastern by Eduardo_ReboucasWe've already done a preview on the new Jurassic Park, but I couldn't resist checking it out and chatting with the folks from Telltale while I had the chance at E3.
The Jurassic Park franchise has seen better days in regards to games. Well, not better days, since there has never been a decent video game version of the (mostly) awesome trilogy of films that were originally based on Michael Crichton's 1990 novel. Telltale has stepped up to the plate and is going out of its comfort zone to send chills down our spines in their own interpretation of Jurassic Park.
Similarly to Back to the Future: The Game, Jurassic Park's gets started with a side story that fits into the mythos. Like the duplicated DeLorean from Back to the Future, Jurassic Park begins with an unanswered question from the movies: What the heck happened to Dennis Nedry's fake shaving cream can of dinosaur embryos that he stole during the first movie? You know, Newman+acid-spitting dino=crashed car+death?
At the beginning of the E3 demo shown off at Telltale's booth, we got to meet Miles and Nima, two new characters set on discovering the answer to the above question. They touch down at the dreaded Nublar Island in the hopes of getting the can for their own dark purposes. It's clear from the get-go that both characters have their own agenda and dislike each other, but are working together in order to survive the chaos of revived dinosaurs running amok.
It's safe to say that Jurassic Park isn't the normal Telltale adventure game. For one, it's extremely tense. You're never running around feeling safe. No one is truly protected from death and Telltale was clear when they said that no one is sure to live through the tale. That was made abundantly clear when a pack of dilophosaurs make a meal out of Miles and proceed to attack Nima, who jumps into one of the park's jeeps and attempts to make her escape.
The Telltale rep playing the game was sure to botch the escape at least once in order to show how easily you can die in Jurassic Park. The action is this game is based around button prompts, so before driving the jeep, you're forced to mash on a particular Xbox 360 controller face button in order to get the car started. If you're too slow, like he was on the first try, a dino jumps through the window and goes for your neck. You're still able to escape from its clutches, albeit with much more difficulty.
But it goes much further than button mashing when you're exploring. A picture-in-picture system divides the screen at crucial moments so that you can get a look at many points of interest at once. A lock-on system sets your controlled character's sight on particular objects from the environment—some that are useful, others that aren't. It'll be up to you to decide what's crucial, and according to Telltale, clues to completing puzzles and challenges aren't as clear cut as the P.I.P system first seems to show.
This is one of the best looking polygonal Telltale games so far, with a lot of dramatic lighting and acting. The few dinosaurs I glimpsed had very smooth animations and looked like I'd expect a dinosaur to look like—something I wouldn't want to be within a mile's radius of.
Telltale mentioned that each new episode in the series will introduce new characters into the story. So far, I had a glimpse of Miles, who was quite arrogant but a scaredy cat when it came down to it. Nima also has her personality flaws and hidden motives, but seems to have more keen survival skills.
My eyes were glued on the screen throughout the entire lengthy presentation, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited about the possibilities that such a game posseses in the Jurassic Park universe. The press kit for Jurassic Park was also particularly awesome—a recreation of the now coveted Barbasol shaving cream can, with a USB dongle in the shape of an embryo container inside.
Jurassic Park is set for a November 2011 release for just about every platform known to man (except the Wii and Colecovision). It's worth pointing out that Telltale is mentioning that the game is getting a retail release on consoles when the series is over, and I can assume that it'll have the same season pass purchase system seen in previous Telltale franchises so you can play each episode as soon as it's out. I, for one, I can't wait to die some awful deaths, let me tell you...
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