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Jurassic World Evolution 2 | Dominion Malta Expansion Review

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“Jurassic World Evolution 2” is the critically-acclaimed sequel to Frontier’s highly successful “Jurassic World Evolution” which builds upon the ground-breaking and immersive management simulation. With it came a new narrative campaign that features new tools and awe-inspiring new dinosaurs brought to life through captivating authenticity. The results and outcomes of managing your own Jurassic Park/World are now bigger and better.

Set before the dramatic events of Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s Jurassic World Dominion, you’ll experience new challenges and exciting opportunities that Massively expand the film and the scope and scale of the game itself as you help lead a brand-new enterprise in Malta. Work alongside Cabot Finch and key figures from the film, including 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) as you set up parks across three Mediterranean locations. Establish key buildings, and trade on the dinosaur exchange to acquire more species, eggs, and even genome data. Work with both the Underground and Authorities and build trust with these organisations via various actions to unlock further opportunities such as hatchery upgrades, locations and more.

The Dominion Malta Expansion also includes a variety of new dinosaur variants and skins authentic to Jurassic World: Dominion and the PDLC launched together with a free update that offers existing players a range of new features and mechanics, but more on that later. Coastal House Media and I would like to thank Frontier and Heaven Media for providing us access to the new Expansion so that we can get our review coverage out to you all, I’m so excited to get playing the DLC as I’m such a big fan of this series of games.

if you’d like to read my In-depth review of the previous DLC The Dominion BioSyn Expansion, you can do so by clicking here.

This review may contain spoilers that are central to Jurassic World: Dominion’s plot so if you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend watching as I had a terrific time, especially with the extended version, otherwise please continue. Here’s just a taste of what the Dominion Malta Expansion will offer.

Campaign Review

The Frontier Development team have truly knocked it out of the park, especially with the scope and scale of this DLC expansion further extending what Jurassic World Dominion brought. The campaign starts with an outstanding opening cutscene narrated by DeWanda Wise’s character Kayla Watts bringing the events set before Dominion to life showcasing how the world looks with dinosaurs roaming modern-day earth and being traded on the black market.

We head to the Mediterranean in the latest DLC showcasing sunnier shores, sand, and sea which compared to the BioSyn expansion’s snowy landscape offers much richer gameplay, especially in sandbox mode. As I began to sink my teeth into this campaign, the Dominion Malta Expansion will have the player manage three parks across the Mediterranean as each location needs to be rebuilt from its decayed and dilapidated state with guidance from Cabot Finch, scientists, and Barry Sembène (voiced by Omar Sy). The locations are absolutely stunning to play through, with one island featuring a natural lagoon perfect for the aquatic dinosaurs.

The expansion also introduces a new system to the campaign which brings to life Dinosaur management through the new Acquisition Centre, which gives you access to the “Dinosaur Exchange”. This exchange truly brought an extra new layer to the gameplay, through this system you have to do some deals on the market to purchase dinosaurs, eggs, and genomes. However, you’ll have to do these exchanges with the authorities or the underground black market. The authorities are more trustworthy with their information letting you know of the selected dinosaurs’ aliments and providing reliable information prior to purchase.

The Underground however may lie and deliver an unhealthy dinosaur as they won’t disclose any information and don’t care where or how they get the dinos. All they care about is profit. However, you need to build up trust with both sides to gain a reputation with them as it’ll influence their trust meter with you, the higher the trust the more exchanges become available such as dinos, upgrades, locations, etc.

Another new feature in the “Dominion Malta Expansion” is the ability to control and steer your dinosaurs. When you’re trying to capture them, you no longer need to hit them with tranquilisers and airlift them to an enclosure. You can now use your Rangers to “herd” the dinos, calling them to you, and pointing them at the enclosure gate. 

New Species And Variants

Now having had a few days playing through the expansion I’ve gotten to see the majority of the dinosaurs, especially the Dominion Malta exclusive ones. The graphic and social animations of these prehistoric creatures were outstanding and I appreciate Frontier for giving each their personality and characteristics. The four different dinosaur types are,

Atrociraptor

Known as one of the ‘designer dinosaurs’, the Atrociraptor name meaning “Savage Theif” is arguably even more dangerous than its Velociraptor cousins. They’re fast, quick, and agile and able to move through and around just about any obstacle, jump great heights and distances, and adapt to changing areas. This is another Carnivore that will surely put your park management skills to the test. The game also provides you with Atrociraptor’s iconic Jurassic World Dominion skins: Ghost, Red, Tiger, and Panthera!

Lystrosaurus

Notable for its tusks and horned beak, a Lystrosaurus name meaning “Shovel Lizard” is a genus of herbivores dicynodont therapsids from the late Permian and Early Triassic Epochs. This mammal-like reptile is a very fast learner as it gains experience much more quickly than other creatures. It lived in what’s now known as Antarctica, India, China, Mongolia, European Russia, and South Africa.

Oviraptor

Oviraptor possesses an incredibly effective jaw for their size, and was named ‘egg thief’ because they were originally thought to steal other species’ eggs! It’s since been understood to be an omnivore, though. With a distinctive head crest and feathers, it offers a unique look. It lived in Asia during the Late Cretaceous period. Oviraptor was an Omnivore, using its powerful beak and jaws to eat meat, eggs, seeds, insects, and plants.

Moros Intrepidus

Moros Intrepidus name meaning “Harbinger of Death” was one of the smallest Tyrannosauroids to have ever existed and is only a fraction of the size of its famous relative, the T. rex. This quick and nimble hunter. Its skin was covered in small, tough scales, and its teeth were sharp and serrated. Moros Intrepidus is a formidable addition to any park, It lived in what is now known as Utah in the United States.

Also to accompany the new dinosaurs in this amazing expansion pack is that you’ll be able to enjoy and customise the iconic dinosaurs from Jurassic World Dominion’s stunning Malta setting as Allosaurus, Dimorphodon and Iguanodon will all have 2022 variants. Carnotaurus will also have a 2022 skin!

Free Update 5

Releasing alongside the Dominion Malta Expansion is Update 5, which is a free update for everyone who owns Jurassic World Evolution 2. This includes some exciting additions as well as some quality-of-life updates and bug fixes, as well as the ability to import saves from PlayStation 4 consoles to PlayStation 5 consoles, and all you need to do to access this content is update your game. The update also includes the 5 DFW Campaign maps as Challenge Levels, which will become accessible once you’ve earned earns 3, 5, 7, 9 and 2 stars across all maps in Challenge Mode. You’ll also be dealing with some brand new Challenge Conditions, which will vary across levels.

Update 5 brings brand new behaviours for tiny dinosaurs, including group attacks for Moros Intrepidus and Compsognathus on guests & goats, as well as changes to navigation logic, so that Lystrosaurus, Oviraptor, Moros Intrepidus and Compsognathus will navigate around water. There will also be some changes to collision logic for Lystrosaurus, Oviraptor, Moros Intrepidus and Compsognathus, so that they no longer collide with guests or vehicles.

Verdict

Frontier has created a phenomenal expansion for Jurassic World Evolution 2, the campaign In Malta is so immersive and engaging and adds a whole new cosmetic set of decorations and species, the four new dinosaurs are incredibly detailed. The development team have added plenty of cool new features also for the DLC and the base game Update. If you haven’t purchased the expansion, which I suggest you do if you want more from this incredible park management game.

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Netflix Set to Create Live-Action Film, Animated Series based on Popular Video Game Franchise, ‘Gears of War’

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Gears of War is a video game franchise that has always been meant for an adaptation for a series of films. Dave Bautista, is a star that has campaigned for years to play the central character of Marcus Fenix through all the different development deals across multiple studios but now, he may have a better chance than ever.

According to an exclusive from The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix is set to create a live-action feature film and an adult-oriented animated series based in the world of Gears of War. The original video game was released on Xbox consoles over 15 years ago and chronicles a war between a squad of COG soldiers led by sergeant Marcus Fenix fighting for their lives against a group of monstrous creatures known as the Locust Army.

The video game franchise is rich with original mythology and adds to the play that Netflix is embarking on to develop well-known IP for their powerful streaming service. Bautista would make sense to play Fenix, the main character as his stature and attitude resembles that of the pro wrestler-turned actor. Also, with Bautista’s lead role in Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead for Netflix, he already has an established relationship with the streamer. Gears of War also has a passionate fanbase that has been clamoring to see these characters brought to life in the film/TV medium with many stories already in place to adapt to the big and small screen.

Cliff Bleszinski and Epic Games lead the charge in the development of the first Gears game before Microsoft acquired the rights to the game series in 2014. The Coalition, a Canadian game developer, took over for the last two releases of the series, Gears of War 4 and Gears 5 and will partner with Netflix for the planned film and animated series.

As of now, no producers, writers or directors are attached to developing these Gears of War projects, however, as THR reports, Scott Stuber, the head of original films at Netflix, was once attached as a producer when the video game was being developed in the mid-2010s so he is sure to be pleased with the acquisition for company.

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‘Return To Monkey Island’ – the beloved franchise is back!

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Devolver Digital / Lucasfilm Games

It’s been 13 years since the last Monkey Island instalment was released in 2009. Going back even further, it’s 32 years since the original game ‘The Secret Of Monkey Island’ was released on the Amiga in 1990. Created by game designers Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman, it helped launch the point and click genre of adventure games onto a global scale, and introduced young and old gamers to a fun, family-friendly interactive adventure to capture the imagination.

You take control of a young wannabe pirate, Guybrush Threepwood, who arrives on a small island in the Caribbean with aspirations of becoming a – well – a real pirate! A whole host of colourful characters await him on his journey, including the Ghost Pirate LeChuck and Governor Elaine Marley. When the Governor is kidnapped by LeChuck who terrorises the entire Caribbean with his un-dead crew, it falls to you to help Guybrush assemble a crew, get a ship, set sail for the fabled Monkey Island, save Elaine and defeat LeChuck!

‘The Secret Of Monkey Island’ (1990)

This was followed by a hugely successful sequel in 1991; ‘The Secret Of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge’ that expanded and improved on everything we had seen before. Years later in 1997 and under new management after Gilbert and his team parted ways, the third entry – ‘The Curse Of Monkey Island’ – helped introduce new blood to the franchise. New styles of graphics, interactive heads-up display and a full voice cast brought the series to life like never before.

In 2000, the fourth entry – ‘Escape From Monkey Island’ – was released that divided fans and critics. The heart was there, but the inclusion of 3D graphics and removal of the familiar mouse controls for PC was a big shift that didn’t win everyone over. It would be in 2009 when Telltale Games developed an episodic entry called ‘Tales Of Monkey Island’, returning some familiar point and click elements, the full voice cast and a very imaginative fantastical story.

2009 also signalled the revival of both original games with new special editions being released for PC and console. This breathed new life into the classics, bringing the established voice cast to record dialogue, new composition of the score and improved graphics and HUD. It also allowed players to switch between classic and special editions whilst playing for a truly immersive experience of old and new.

‘The Secret Of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge’ Special Edition (2009)

 And then…all was quiet.

Fans cried out for more Monkey Island, but when Disney acquired LucasFilm Games in 2012 and the entire back catalogue of George Lucas, it seemed the adventures were well and truly over. However, in 2021 when Disney brought Lucasfilm Games back, a glimmer of hope was sparked. And then on April 1st 2022, Ron Gilbert announced the development of a brand new Monkey Island game. Being this was April Fool’s Day and Gilbert was known for his tongue-in-cheek jokes, there was a huge pinch of salt taken with the announcement. But just three days later, Devolver Development released the teaser trailer for ‘Return To Monkey Island’

 After two years of secret conversations with Disney and the old team including Gilbert, Grossman, original composer Clint Bajakian and voice actor Dominic Armato, a new story had been written for the 5th entry into the series. Described as both a direct continuation from LeChuck’s Revenge but with new elements that honour the previous games not under Gilbert’s design, it seems this is the game fans have been waiting years for.

A striking difference noted by many was the art style. While hardcore fans longed for a return to the classic pixel design of the original games, something of a nostalgic comfort blanket, artist Rex Crowle (of ‘Tearaway’ fame) brought the look into 2022 and then some. Taking a 2D style but with a cartoonish, almost paperfolded style, this entry looks nothing but unique and unlike anything that has come before. In order to keep the game fresh and appealing to new gamers and old, Gilbert couldn’t simply harken back to a game design that kept the series in the 90s. He had to take new, bold risks to be innovative and fresh. This looks just that.

‘Return To Monkey Island’ (2022)

With Gilbert and the team releasing mini teasers each Monday in a self-proclaimed Monkey Island Monday, critics and fans worldwide have lapped up everything the game has offered. It holds nods and winks the franchise as a whole (especially the originals) whilst giving us glimpses of new characters, islands and puzzles. The HUD retains the point and click charm but in a modern way. And with a full voice cast back to bring new and old characters to life, it seems this is the perfect time to hoist the main sails and set sail once more as we return to Monkey Island…

‘Return To Monkey Island’ will be available on PC via Steam, macOS and Nintendo Switch from Monday 19th September 2022.

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New Hogwarts Legacy Trailer; Pre-Orders Announced, and Deluxe and Collector’s Editions Detailed

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Warner Bros. Games today revealed an all-new trailer for Hogwarts Legacy, the upcoming open-world, action role-playing game in development by Avalanche Software, scheduled to launch on Feb. 10, 2023. The “Sebastian Sallow’s Dark Legacy” gameplay trailer showcases some of the darker elements players will encounter, including a closer look at the game’s more dangerous locales, sinister foes and fearsome magical creatures lurking in the shadows. Focusing on one of Hogwarts Legacy’s optional companion questlines with Sebastian Sallow, the trailer also provides a glimpse at the Unforgivable Curses and difficult dilemmas players will face as they learn more about the Sallow family’s mystery and decide whether to engage with or even embrace, the Dark Arts.

Check out the trailer below that was released during Gamescom Opening Night Live!

Published by Warner Bros. Games under the Portkey Games label, Hogwarts Legacy is an immersive, action, open-world role-playing-game set in the 1800’s wizarding world. Beginning as a fifth year, players will embark on a journey through new and familiar locations, explore and discover magical beasts, craft potions, master spell casting, upgrade talents and customize their character to become the witch or wizard they want to be.

Pre-Order Details

Starting August 25 at 4pm BST, Hogwarts Legacy will be available for pre-order on PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles and PC via the PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, Steam and Epic Games Store.  The Nintendo Switch pre-order date will be revealed soon. All players that pre-order will be able to obtain the exclusive Onyx Hippogriff Mount upon completing the relevant quest.

The Hogwarts Legacy Standard Edition will be available for Nintendo Switch™ and PC for £49.99 (SRP), PlayStation®4 and Xbox One for £59.99 (SRP) and for PlayStation®5 and Xbox Series X for £64.99 (SRP).  

The Hogwarts Legacy Deluxe Edition will be available for Nintendo Switch™ and PC for £59.99 (SRP), PlayStation®4 and Xbox One for £69.99 (SRP) and for PlayStation®5 and Xbox Series X for £74.99 (SRP).  It includes 72 hours Early Access to the game starting on February 7, 2023, as well as the Dark Arts Pack. The Dark Arts Pack provides access to an exclusive wardrobe via the Dark Arts Cosmetic Set, a flying Thestral Mount players can ride, and access to the Dark Arts Battle Arena where players can test their mastery of the Dark Arts against waves of challenging enemies.

The Hogwarts Legacy Digital Deluxe Edition will be available for £74.99 (SRP) across all platforms and includes the Deluxe Edition content as well as the Dark Arts Garrison Hat and cross-gen digital upgrade for PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles.

The Hogwarts Legacy Collector’s Edition will be available for PC for £269.99 (SRP), PlayStation®4 and Xbox One for £274.99 (SRP) and for PlayStation®5 and Xbox Series X for £279.99 (SRP) and includes the Deluxe Edition content, Dark Arts Garrison Hat, as well as a physical Life-Size Floating Ancient Magic Wand with Book Base, Steel Case, and in-game Kelpie Robe.

For fans wanting a first look at the contents of the Hogwarts Legacy Collector’s Edition, Avalanche will be unboxing it on YouTube Below.

https://youtu.be/NlPKejj-oEw

For more information on how to pre-order Hogwarts Legacy, visit: www.hogwartslegacy.com

Hogwarts Legacy is scheduled to launch worldwide for PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC on Feb. 10, 2023.  The Nintendo Switch release date will be confirmed at a later time.

 

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