Jurassic World Dominion finished the current run of Jurassic franchise movies in dramatic style. While it might not be held up as a great film, its arrival did add new lore to the series, and fresh ground for the accompanying video games to draw from. Jurassic World Evolution 2: Dominion Malta is the second DLC to add detail to the blockbuster movie’s setting and characters, and while the films may be winding up, Frontier don’t seem to be done with them yet.
Spoiler warning! You should maybe watch Jurassic World Dominion before playing, if you care about the story.
The events of the Malta campaign focus on the shady underground dinosaur trade while throwing in a healthy dose of park building, with it dropping into the timeline prior to the events of Dominion. Your companions in this new endeavour include banal park manager Cabot Finch, as well as a string of characters from the movie itself – Kayla Watts (voiced by DeWanda Wise), Soyona Santos (voiced by Dichen Lachman), Barry Sembène (voiced by Omar Sy), and Lewis Dodgson (voiced by Campbell Scott). It’s great to have the actual actors reprising their roles as it really cements the events as part of the Jurassic franchise canon, though there isn’t the same level of excitement that you’ll find in the main Evolution 2 campaign.
The first new feature is the ability to herd dinosaurs using your Ranger Team vehicles. This is called Summon Equipment and it calls the prehistoric creatures to you, with three different control zone types with which to then move them about. This is basically sheep-dog trials with extinct creatures and a jeep, whistling and even shouting “come by” at a bunch of unruly Stygimoloch. It’s cool to have a new action-based activity, even if it’s underused through the expansion.
There’s also now a Dinosaur Exchange where dinos, eggs and genomes can be bought or sold. It’s basically eBay for dinosaurs. Some of these transactions, and also your mission choice, influence Trust with either the illegal Underground or the seemingly more altruistic Authorities. In an interesting spin, as some sellers are not reliable which introduces an element of uncertainty, and cements the idea that you’re involved in a somewhat shady activity.
As Cabot Finch says, morality and capitalism rarely go hand in hand, and Frontier have done a good job in trying to reflect that. The morality system extends its wider influence into the campaign, and as different events happen in your park – like a worker being injured during building – you’re offered a batch of choices which will have a bearing on your standing with either of the two groups.
Building your park is as intuitive as it was previously, and I continue to marvel at the graphical detail Frontier have achieved throughout the game. There’s a bunch of new decorations and building models to fit the Maltese setting, with a great deal of sandy brickwork finding its way into the design, and while it’s a purely visual change it’s great to have some more variety. Some of these, like the Hotel, look amazing, though the Restrooms may have seen better days.
That extends to the stars of the game: the dinosaurs. Some of the inhabitants like the Allosaur and the Carnotaurus have new skins, and there are of course some new species to add to your park, and probably to subsequently feed some humans to. The Oviraptor, one of the key creatures from Dominion, appears in all its terrifying feathery glory, adding a blast of vibrancy amongst the more restrained tones elsewhere. The Lystrosaurus is the other end of the spectrum, being cute, cuddly and very brown.
The tasks in the Campaign are pretty tough, and you’re going to have to work hard in order to unlock all three of the new islands, with balancing your income a real headache at times. Along the way you’ll encounter the other new feature, the natural lagoon, a shore-based habitat for your sea creatures that adds a unique new flavour beyond the regular lagoon.
All in all, the Dominion Malta DLC adds a welcome batch of extras to your park building inventory, while its campaign mode adds further context to a world where dinosaurs present both a capitalist and a conservationist proposition.