You can hear them, talons tapping as they search for you. They haven’t seen you but they heard you tamper with the security door. You’re feeling claustrophobic, breathing is heavy and they’re getting closer. From your hiding place you need to decide to stay put and hope they don’t see you or take a chance on the vent on the far wall. Become the prey in Jurassic Park Aftermath Part 2.
Jurassic Park Aftermath Part 2 does a great job of meeting the high bar set by the first installment in the graphics department and the cell-shaded style works well given the processing limitations of the Quest 2 headset. It’s slick and never skips a beat with no lag or stuttering no matter how hectic things get.
The first episode unfortunately suffered from a lack of variety with only two different dinosaurs on offer with a fair amount of repetition in the stealth gameplay sections as you played through the story. It’s good, then, that Aftermath Part Two adds to the Dino repertoire whilst introducing additional puzzles and more variety in the situations it places you in. You do have to progress a fair way through part two before the fresh thinking kicks in though and for much of your time you’ll still be avoiding the same raptors who plagued you in the first installment.
What Jurassic Park Aftermath Part Two, as with the first, does well though is tension. Whether it’s the sound of raptors, the sight of a tail flashing past as you turn a corner or the realization you’ve just walked into an area and instantly become prey. Like Alien Isolation before it, your enemy is indestructible for the most part and your only path is to avoid or trick it. The differentiation here however is the immersion that Virtual Reality offers.
It’s hard to describe. The creeping feeling of dread that washes over you as you hear the sharp toothed killing machines prowl around a loading bay, as you cower in a storage locker. Hearing the claws and talons of the Raptor scratch on the floor tiles around your left ear and smoothly around the back of your head and into your right ear as it prowls the floor. The sound is almost worse than the actual encounter and it’s what makes Jurassic Park Aftermath stand out. Excellent environmental acoustic design.
Now it’s not only the sound design that sets the brown trouser alarm going either. For a game that relies on you listening and watching for dinos there’s only one thing worse than hearing them, not being able to see them – turning off the damn lights and giving me a flashlight. Get me a paper bag as these sections got my heart rate going to the point my watch thought I’d started exercising.
That said, these massive reptiles are extinct for a reason. They’re not the brightest bulbs in the box. Most encounters end in the same way with you figuring out the path and engaging some method of distraction like an alarm or a tv screen and waiting for said Dino to pass you on its way to investigating the thirty third news segment it’s watched today as you make your way across the base. Players who recently smashed through part one will see the familiar signs of danger as they enter a room and react appropriately given the raptors come running as they hear you tampering with doors or switches.
Jurassic Park Aftermath Part Two picks up the story from Part One and closes it out nicely. Your off screen partner continues to offer advice and guidance on your mission and the recorded elements of the story featuring geneticist/madman — Dr Wu — or chaos enthusiast Malcolm (including the Jeff Goldblum phone in performance) add to the authenticity and it’s a great use of the licence whilst filling a gap in the genre’s available on Facebook (read: Meta) portable headset.
Shame the cast wasn’t widened further to include the more recent (and likely more recognisable) cast to the demographic likely to purchase this, such as Chris Pratt or Bryce Dallas Howard.
It’s nice to see further variety although anyone fresh into the complete package will wish the variety kicked in earlier. Those with a midpoint save can use it as a showcase for how immersive VR is, especially in the flashlight sections and I cannot recommend it enough for that but the lack of puzzle / Dino variation is hard to sell given many thought this should have been part of the original purchase and not paid DLC.
Jurassic Park Aftermath Part Two is out now on Oculus Quest 2