Overdue Reviews is an occasional series in which I appease my younger self's brief desire to be a videogame journalist by ranting or raving about part of or all of a game I've played in the past. This week: Lego Jurassic World on PC.
Whenever positive things stack up against negative ones in a game it's difficult to decide where the tipping point is. If there are more good points than bad points, is it a good game? Or does the severity of one of the bad points cancel out all of the good ones?
Take Lego Jurassic World, for example.
Its beating heart is almost pure joy; a colourful, brick smashing, item collecting adventure, set in a variety of landscapes populated by dinosaurs, child-friendly humour, detailed Lego models and moderate puzzle solving. Sadly, this is all wrapped in clumsy menus, poor navigation, repetitive music, confusing controls, slow load times and frustrating level design.
It feels like for every positive I can find a negative. The Jurassic Park setting is appealing, filled with painstaking recreations of scenes from the films, all set to that fantastic John Williams score. But realistically, there was only one good Jurassic Park movie, so the nostalgia evaporates quickly, and the soundtrack gets repetitive fast. Exploring the levels and the islands that connect them is fun, but hampered by terrible map navigation and controls that change depending on the camera angle. There are hundreds of things to find, but eventually monotony kicks in. Dinosaurs as playable characters is a great idea, but they're hard to control and ultimately unsatisfying.
There's another problem on top of all of this. Framed against the backdrop of the many other Lego games produced by Traveler's Tales since 2005 this feels like just another installment churned out to pay the bills. There's little to make Lego Jurassic World stand out from its siblings - the sparkle of originality of the first few games is a distant memory.
I keep playing it, though. It annoys and frustrates me, but every so often I find myself drawn back to it, if only to try to unlock one more hidden item and edge the completion meter towards 100%. Maybe this time, I think, the good parts of the game will outweigh the bad ones.
Lego Jurassic World is inventive, interesting and fun. It's also frustrating, clumsy, repetitive and unoriginal. In other words, it's quite difficult to review.