Unintentionally, Coatsink might have just made the funniest Oculus Quest game yet. Not because it’s laughably bad – it’s actually very good – but because watching people play it should be a new spectator sport. If you want to see, and hear, members of your family, yelping, jumping and cowering in fear while wearing a funny VR hat, then Jurassic World Aftermath has you covered.
Jurassic World Aftermath sees players returning once again to to Isla Nublar. If the last year has taught us one thing, it’s that it’s entirely believable for people to keep going to the same place despite clear evidence and health and safety concerns. Prepare yourself for shock, and indeed horror, as things go terribly wrong.
The opening sees you subsequently pull yourself from the wreckage of your plane and find yourself somewhere you really don’t want to be; trapped in a scientific facility on the island. Dr Henry Wu has returned and his cohort of scientists have been doing pley of dodgy science-y stuff that you’re about to be on the wrong end of. Thankfully, one of the people responsible for the dino dangers, Dr. Mia Everett, is on hand to guide you over the radio and help as you make your way through the derelict, raptor-infested corridors.
Jurassic World Aftermath looks fantastic in VR, opting for a Borderlands-esque cel-shaded look that works extremely well. Despite the stylised visuals the whole experience is wonderfully immersive, and on Oculus Quest 2, even with the comfort settings dialled all the way down, I didn’t experience any motion sickness at all despite the game’s free locomotion.
Fundamentally, Jurassic World Aftermath has one main trick when it comes to gameplay. If you’ve ever played Alien: Isolation you’ll immediately grasp the concept that Coatsink have gone for. Hiding in lockers and under desks is the order of the day as you attempt to reactivate the facility’s power, hack computers, and uncover information while also attempting not to be caught by a trio of highly aware raptors. Aftermath’s positional audio is utterly fantastic, and you’ll spend your time listening out for the tell-tale thud of footsteps in the next room.
Once you’ve unlocked the ability, you can distract those Jurassic predators by setting off bits of electronic equipment, with radios and tannoy speakers proving to be highly useful tools for not dying. Chances are that you will die, and even if you’re prepared for the event these are some of the most effective, genuinely terrifying deaths in gaming. I’ve never jumped or cried out in the same way playing anything else.
The effectiveness of those deaths is largely thanks to the immersive atmosphere that Coatsink have crafted. You will believe that you’re skulking around Jurassic World thanks to the pitch-perfect incidental sounds and positional audio, as well as the excellent soundtrack that evokes a sense of depth and drama at every moment. Besides that, the high-quality voice acting from both Dr. Everett’s Laura Bailey and various returning members of the Jurassic Park cast gives Aftermath the class to cement it as a meaningful part of the Jurassic canon.
Jurassic World Aftermath’s main problems are that there isn’t enough variety, nor enough of the game itself. Despite being sold as a full title, you’ll discover that it’s only half an escape story, with a forthcoming 2021 expansion due to finish the tale. Besides that, the central Raptor-evading gameplay becomes overly familiar by the time you reach the final section. There’s a brief sojourn into a dark underground electrical facility where you’re armed with a flashlight against a nest of Denis Nedry-hating Dilophosaurus, but it’s an all-too-short, if effective, break from the norm.
As a household of dinosaur fans, Jurassic World Aftermath disappoints primarily due to the appearance of too-few of the actual series’ stars: the extinct creatures. Raptors, Dilophosaurus and Compsognathus are the only regular occurrences here, while a brief glance at a T-Rex or Pteranodon does little more than whet the appetite. I hope that the second part of the tale expands on the menagerie, particularly when the Raptors and Dilopohosaurus are so well crafted, their believable animation truly bringing them to terrifying life. You’ll have every opportunity to check it out as you cower yet again under a desk.