LEGO's old game style is in danger of becoming fossilized.
With all that LEGO has been doing in the gamespace lately, it's a little difficult to look at their traditional games with a critical eye and not make a comparison to, say, the upcoming LEGO Dimensions, or their all-ages MMO, LEGO Minigures Online; or their Minecraft-style world-builder LEGO Worlds. With so much going on, their more conventional titles are a little bit harder to see on their own. I'll give it a shot, since they're still solid games, but they just seem to be being overshadowed by more recent LEGO game developments.
LEGO Jurassic World is enjoyable, and it does continue the LEGO games push for higher visual fidelity, but it's a little workmanlike compared to other more recent titles. Part of this may have to do with the fact that TT Fusion produced LEGO Jurassic World with a specific time limit, having to have it ready for release at the same time as the Jurassic World film release last month (Fusion has produced games like this before, the LEGO MOVIE VIDEO GAME, for example, which appeared to suffer for the same reasons).
LEGO Jurassic World isn't structured that differently than their approach to other large franchises, with 4 separate story sections set up for each movie. What's interesting is how differently each movie plot plays, as if each were developed by completely separate teams with different goals. While Jurassic Park is the most faithful, and the Jurassic World segments are the most innovative and cooperative, I found The Lost World section to be the most fun and playful. This was not just the cut scenes (which featured soccer playing raptors, and Lego versions of the Amblin logo of Elliot and ET crossing the moon at one point) but also in the gameplay, particularly the tall-grass section where you had to rescue mercenaries from raptors (something also featured in the Jurassic World section, but more silly in The Lost World). The weakest of all was Jurrassic Park III—though it wasn't exactly bad—it simply seemed there was less heart that went into making the levels, perhaps similar in that respect to the film franchise itself.
Of course, LEGO Jurassic World does have issues that the Jurassic Park series brings to it; unlike other LEGO games, it has a horror element with the dinosaurs. At the time the first Jurassic Park was being produced, there was some buzz that Spielberg was the perfect fit, since it was basically Jaws-on-land, and there's certainly some truth to that in the depiction of horror elements in the films; how scary the raptors are, and the massive size of the T-Rex. This is carried forward with the Indominous Rex in the new movie. LEGO Jurassic World goes more than a bit out of its way to assure players that no one actually dies at the hands of the dinos, which is a bit odd when compared to other LEGO games, where death was handled in a comical, toy-related fashion.
Because of this—or perhaps in spite of it—the most charming parts of the game are the original and additional content added to it to flesh out the world. In pretty much any level where there isn't immediate danger to the main characters, the heroes are constantly overhearing conversations by passerbyes and workers just trying to do their jobs. Often they need some help from the player that ends up being necessary to move on to the next stage or area. Other additions include being able to play chase sequences as the dinosaurs doing the chasing—instead of the humans—and the expansive island hubs, which offer individual open world challenges outside of the replayable levels that allow the player to roam the LEGO versions of the film series' islands. However, these areas are also more prone to have the classic LEGO gameplay issues like difficulty in determining objectives, and difficulty in figuring out where your character is in 3D space during a platforming puzzle.
When all's said and done, LEGO Jurassic World is a solid enough gameplay experience, but it lacks the energy or invention that make their best games standout. It rests on the laurels of prior games with a nice facelift, but also lacks some of the features and puzzles that make the better entries really shine. It's ultimately a pretty average gameplay experience that's sure to delight LEGO fans, and provide amusement for fans of Jurassic Park, but ultimately is one of the lesser entries in the series. Lego Jurassic World, is available on current-and-last-gen systems and current-gen handhelds.