Review: 'Jurassic World Evolution 2: Dominion Malta Expansion’ Rounds Out the Definitive 'Jurassic Park’ Game
The latest Jurassic World Evolution 2 DLC and update feel like Frontier putting the finishing touches on an already supreme Jurassic Park simulator. Life has certainly found a way.
You might recall our largely positive review of Jurassic World Evolution 2 from last year, where I personally praised all the new ideas and systems introduced, but nonetheless closed the text hoping for a bigger focus on the creative side of the gargantuan management sim. More than 12 months later, I’m happy to report Frontier listened to many of those criticisms and has worked on improving the offer of creative tools and content which will keep the sandbox side of the game fresh for years.
While some miscalculations linked to the game’s core philosophy, such as needlessly tedious chunks of management, remain in place and irreparable, Jurassic World Evolution 2 now feels like the definitive Jurassic experience for diehard fans of the enduring franchise. This “evolution” (no pun intended) has happened across several free updates and two major expansion packs, the latter of which I’ve been playing over the last few days. On top of those, minor DLC packs (including the long-awaited Camp Cretaceous content) with extra prehistoric creatures also found their way into the game, but I’d rather talk about the major changes and additions that have made it a more engrossing experience.
The Dominion Malta Expansion serves as a continuation to this summer’s BioSyn Expansion, which accompanied Jurassic World: Dominion as it hit theaters worldwide. While that expansion introduced a campaign, new prehistoric animals, and content which tied into the second half of the film, many fans were left wondering where all the potential content pertaining to the earlier sequences of the sixquel were. This expansion is the direct answer to that, and I’m so glad to now have the entire franchise represented in the game and ready to be used however players want in their sandbox parks.
Of course, a Mediterranean-set campaign is offered, and it packs plenty of extra voice talent from the film. Newcomers to Jurassic World Evolution 2 include DeWanda Wise, Omar Sy, and Dichen Lachman. They’re joined by Campbell Scott as BioSyn CEO Lewis Dodgson, who makes a return after playing a huge role in the previous expansion. At this point, if you go through the entire list of actors who have lent their voices to Evolution 2, it appears that only Chris Pratt and the deceased actors had to be replaced by someone else, so that’s a pretty solid lineup for a game without massive production values.
New animals include the ferocious Atrociraptor, the agile Oviraptor (pictured above), the minuscule Moros Intrepidus, and the cute little therapsid Lystrosaurus. Jurassic completionists can now rest easy, as we’ve almost completed the entire franchise roster (Microceratops is still missing, for example). However, all the new species are eclipsed by new systems and mechanics such as buying/selling specimens, eggs, and genetic material in the illegal market, or jumping between various islands inside the campaign (a nice throwback to the original game’s main mode).
I appreciated this change of pace — morally dubious enterprise included — after the more traditional campaigns of the past. In fact, I might stick around this one a bit longer just to get all my installations up to five stars (there’s an achievement/trophy for that) through the use of the new systems. The end goal might be the same, but these new parks operate in a very different way. And thankfully, those new elements have also been added to the Sandbox experience, where the most dedicated players spend most of their time with the game.
Sadly, the mission design of the campaign isn’t doing anything new, unlike previous expansions for both this game and its predecessor. The “trust” element with authorities and underground market dealers depending on your buy/sell choices never really shapes what the Dominion Malta Expansion has to offer narratively; there aren’t alternative paths to be taken, only another layer of trying to make everyone happy. While it works for the gameplay loop and the overall flow of the experience, it feels like a missed opportunity, at least in the campaign. Needless to say, all new content and mechanics are welcome in the long run, as they only expand the possibilities of the Sandbox and Challenge modes.
I do think this new piece of content is well worth your time and money… if you were already into the base game, as the formula won’t change in a significant way this late into the post-launch support. But perhaps more important is how every little update and patch has accumulated over time and allowed Jurassic World Evolution 2 to become not only an exciting management sim (maybe too much), but also an excellent zoo builder. With plenty of cosmetic options, more flexibility, lore-friendly fixes, and even new game-altering systems added since launch, it’s hard to think right now of a more packed and faithful Jurassic Park video game. John Hammond’s dream has been utterly fulfilled.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 is available on PC (Steam and Epic), PS4/5, and Xbox consoles.
Thanks to Frontier Developments and Heaven Media for the PS5 review code of the Dominion Malta Expansion DLC.
Francisco J. Ruiz is that guy who has watched Jurassic Park a thousand times and loves Star Wars. His hunger for movies is only matched by his love for video games. He graduated in English Studies from the University of Malaga, in Spain. As he keeps writing about what he enjoys (and doesn’t) for websites all over, he’s continuing his studies.