IGN Review of Jurassic: The Hunted
When it comes to shooters, there are the titles that are eagerly anticipated by gamers. Borderlands and the recently released Modern Warfare clearly fall into this category, and for good reason: the action, gameplay and cinematic moments from games of this caliber are top notch. Then there are the games that fall short of this mark, but deserve recognition as a guilty pleasure for players; a title that isn't incredible, but is somewhat amusing if you're looking for some mindless fun. Cauldron and Activision's recently released Jurassic: The Hunted, easily falls in the latter category: it's a shooter that pits you against hordes of dinosaurs. It isn't memorable in the least, but it is amusing as a guilty pleasure.
The plot behind Jurassic feels like it's been ripped directly from a B-movie, which feels rather appropriate to the action of the game. In 1983, an expedition to the Bermuda Triangle disappeared with all hands lost, including the noted Dr. Sayrus, who was leading the journey to the mysterious region. Almost thirty years later, his daughter hires a security firm to help retrace her father's steps, and suddenly stumbles upon his S.O.S. transmission. A few seconds later, their plane is struck by a massive storm that forces them to abandon the aircraft, and as the passengers leap from the plane with parachutes strapped to their backs, they find themselves sucked into energy portals. Players take on the role of Craig Dylan, a member of the security firm that finds himself separated from the rest of his crew on a strange island and surrounded by dinosaurs. It's up to you to fight your way through the scaly beasts, locate your team and figure out a way to escape.
Over the course of fourteen levels, you'll fight your way across the island, fending off attacks from various dinosaurs that lurk in the dense foliage of each environment or warp in via time portals. (No, I'm not making that up -- dinos will actually teleport to your location). You'll do this with a variety of weapons, ranging from pistols to civil war rifles and even crossbows with explosive arrows that conveniently have been scattered all across the island in significant quantities, meaning that you'll never run out of ammo either. While this means that you'll always be able to take out any threats, it brings up one of the biggest issues with the game, which is that the fighting is extremely repetitive. The majority of creatures you go against are Raptors, all of which engage you in the same leaping and circling manner. Yes, they were scary in Jurassic Park, but after blasting through your fourth pack of raptors, it simply becomes a nuisance. You couldn't throw in a rampaging stegosaurus to switch things up?
This boredom is heightened further when you realize that Dylan's special ability to enter a bullet time-like state, which is called an Adrenaline Burst, makes fights much easier. In this state, he can slow down time and see the vital areas of each creature, like their heart, brain and lungs. Being able to target these locations lets him do extra damage and eliminate dinosaurs faster, significantly reducing any serious threat, even in overwhelming numbers. (There are even powerups that you can acquire that provide you with thirty seconds of unlimited Adrenaline, letting you gain a further advantage against the ancient beasts.) Even with the repetitive nature of the game, it's still a lot of fun to blast these prehistoric monsters with RPGs or automatic pistols, which can keep you playing even when you tire of the same creatures.
There is a little variety when it comes to some of the gameplay sequences, as you'll find yourself behind a chaingun or other turret fending off waves of incoming dinos, or ensconced behind the walls of a hastily constructed fort as you try to repel incoming raptor attacks while repairing any destroyed wooden planks that would allow them to flood your defenses. These sections are incredibly fun to play, but it's too bad that there aren't many of them within the game. Just as you start to enjoy yourself, the section is over.
Unfortunately for the Wii, the challenge is considerably less, as you'll face off against a smaller group of dinosaurs during each encounter. In fact, compared to the PS3 or 360 versions where you might be attacked by 10 or more small raptors, you may face two or three on the Wii. Needless to say, this makes play even easier than before. The Wii version doesn't have weapon parts that you'll gather or unlimited Adrenaline Boosts that you can collect, so this really is a basic shooter experience. It also sucks that there is no Survivor mode for the Wii version, so you're solely stuck with the single player game.
As far as the visuals are concerned, Jurassic is one of those games that looks pretty generic, down to the muddy texture work that pops in as you move through each area, generic character models and explosions. The vortexes that spawn the prehistoric beasts are decent for the system, but for the most part, this isn't a stellar visual experience. Dialogue feels appropriately pulled from a b-movie, and while a bit more censored than the PS3/360 versions, the dialogue is no less cheesy. That being said, it's still humorous as long as you're not expecting Shakespeare.
The Wii version also has a bit of a problem in that the motion controls are a bit compromised. After every shot, the reticule will bounce more than recoil should allow, and balancing segments are practically impossible to easily maneuver even if you move the Wiimote the way you need to. You don't get any indication that you're failing at all, so expect to replay these sections over and over or prepare to give up in frustration.
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