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Old 11-28-2011, 05:02 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2008
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Telltale, what the hell happened? [wall of text ahead]


What went wrong this time, really?
When Back to the Future came out, i was amazed. Everything about it was perfect, the atmosphere, the music, the writing, heck, having an impressively skilled VA for Marty and Cristopher Lloyd himself for Doc. Those were a bunch of little things that made you think "Wow, did they put some love into this game". It really felt like a fourth movie, maybe fifth given the span of the events in that.

So, with that premise, when Jurassic Park was announced i started anticipating it. A lot.

What i got was not quite as expected.
First issue: technical work.
Sure, there's the usual TellTale relatively low standards of graphics and animation, but i don't care about those, since they make up for that kind of flaws in style.
The real problem is how the game was thought. QTEs forever being the start of the problem.

Despite what many would say, making a whole game based on QTEs doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be a horrible wreck, see Heavy Rain, which probably inspired TellTale to do what they did.

But see, the way QTEs work in Jurassic Park feels just wrong. Sometimes it feels like they don't detect properly, or the input timing is off. The mashing ones can turn out to be IMPOSSIBLE because they can stop working, which i had to solve by mashing the same key on WASD and the arrow keys. Often, you get insanely fast QTEs, faster than any other game that has QTEs. And how do you go through those? Button mashing. Sure, it tells you to do a sequence, but guess what, it doesn't matter if you do a mistake, so you can go through all QTEs of the sequence kind by literally mashing all arrow keys and WASD keys. Don't stay focused! MASH THOSE KEYS!

Also, i can understand it was sometimes functional to changing the controlled character, but were the location switches in the puzzle/exploration parts really necessary? Walking around by mouse or keyboard like most point and click games went out of fashion or what?

Then there's the writing and the direction, or in other words, how much the game actually delivers in making this feel like a Jurassic Park game. Game-film. Whatever.

I thought it started well, i really did. The music was there. The dinosaurs were there. The shoutouts to movie fans like "We got Dodgson here" were there. All of the characters looked interesting, and the setup had a lot of potential, since we soon learn that the events take place on Isla Nublar at the same time of what we saw in the first movie, as proven by the finding of Nedry's fresh remains and car.
There's the landmarks and facilities we learned to know, plus new ones.

But then so many things go wrong.

After all the main characters have been introduced, that's the last you see of any humans. That's it. As a consequence of that, the movie lacks ANY of the characters from the three movies. Not even the most unimportant ones, there's just Nedry, and he's dead. The best you're gonna get is THAT and people mentioning Hammond and Wu when they complain about them.

Some of the cast goes horribly wrong as well.
Oscar: you could see his death coming miles away, being the burly silent veteran type he was, after he had one knife fight with a raptor it was obvious he was gonna go for more while sacrificing himself for the sake of the group, but it's okay, sometimes you're excused to carry a stereotype on.

Sorkin and Yoder, not okay.
Sorkin looks like a character with considerable depth, working for InGen while despising them and Hammond's administration, with a past as an animal rights activist and being the "ethically good" rival of Wu. She cares about the dinosaurs enough to even take the rest of the group hostage and threaten to release a dinosaur free, and what happens? She dies of a horribly forced death that makes her look about as important as the lawyer in Jurassic Park. What's the matter, writer couldn't come out with anything interesting for her in the ending?

Same for Yoder. I guess they really couldn't decide what he was going to be. At times he's the constantly ironic military guy and a womanizer, then he's the reassuring hero type with moral conflict about his employers, then rigt after he's the SCREW NATURE AND MORALITY AND COMMON SENSE, IF IT'S IN THE WAY BOMB IT strand of the military type, ends up being just a horribly forced villain with personal interest in mind, somewhat of a dimwit too (would it have been so hard to both rescue Gerry and Jess AND sneak out with Nima?).
I probably skipped a couple more bad stereotypes.

The troodons. The game makes such a great deal of them, their looks and nature kept hidden for the first part of the game, save for the 100w-flashlight-bright eyes. Then you get to learn about them being extremely intelligent, and understand just how nightmarish the toxin they have (for some reason that would have probably been explained with "AMPHIBIAN DNA DID THAT" anyway) and what do you get after that? Nothing. A bunch of lame chase scenes where their features don't really get used. Hostile compies or accurately sized raptors would have done the SAME trick.

Who the heck worked on the ending? We don't know ANYTHING. What happens next? Do the bombing runs start? Is the mesosaur free? Sure, one can figure out the rest (Hammond, how the island ends etc.) from the movies (possibly books, which unfortunately i never read), but was it too hard too give those two plot points a conclusion after making such a fuss about them?

I don't know what to think. Maybe having different writers and directors for each episode is to blame? Because after all, it DOES sound like a horrible idea. Was this done with Back to the Future as well?

Anyway. I can really see why this game had such a bad reception now. Personally, i don't think it's plain bad, but it's still a thousand miles far from what a great Jurassic Park game should be.
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