Not all releases are brand new games, and today we’re shining the spotlight on three recent DLC addons. The Quest-exclusive dino adventure Jurassic World Aftermath concludes with part 2, Planet Zoo gets an impressive eight new animals and Disc Ninja received a brand new gameplay mode.
Jurassic World Aftermath: Part 2 review (Quest)
We reviewed the Quest exclusive Jurassic World Aftermath: Path 1 last year, and part 2 recently launched as an in-app purchase for the game. Was it worth the wait?
If you enjoyed the initial release, you’ll probably want to see the story through to the end, as things finished abruptly in part 1. If you held out last year, then the answer’s not as clear cut. This is very much a continuation of what came before and not a new direction, so if you read about the somewhat repetitive stealth sections and were on the fence because of it, then this probably won’t sway you.
There’s good news as well though, because Part 2 of Aftermath adds more dinosaur and gameplay diversity, especially in the last half (or quarter, depending on how you look at it) of the game. Earlier on in the expansion, things feel a lot more familiar, with intercom voiceovers from Mia delivering you objectives and guiding you through the game or onto the next stealth section. These might offer small new twists like having to navigate sections in complete darkness or not agitating animals that might attract attention, but ultimately they’re all just variations on an existing formula.
Things branch out later on in the story though, when Aftermath introduces us to several other awesome fan-favorite dinosaurs as well as new gameplay mechanics that let you interact with them. The T-Rex from the opening sequence (of part 1) returns, and this time it’s a thrilling encounter that uses the “movement-based vision” of the first film in the franchise to great effect. And speaking of Jurassic Park – Jeff Goldblum returns with a bit of voiceover work as well.
You wouldn’t expect part 2 of a story to be radically different than the first, and it’s no different for Jurassic World Aftermath. For fans of the franchise the payoff is definitely worth it due to some great encounters and sequences near the end, but others will likely find that the stealth sequences drag on for a bit too long. Luckily, we’re in the former category, and the well realized dinosaurs are still a thrill to experience in VR.
Planet Zoo: North America Animal Pack
Since our review of the base game, we’ve covered several DLC packs for Planet Zoo. Frontier has just released a brand new one in the North America Animal Pack though, and it’s a great reason to dive back in with some high quality content.
What’s interesting to point out is that many of these aforementioned DLC packs focus on a geographic area, and introduce scenery elements as well as new animals that are native to the region. The new North America pack is different, as it focuses mainly on animals – meaning there are more of them in this pack than you might expect, for a total of eight new creatures.
There’s a new and challenging scenario as well, which takes you to Jameson Wildlife Park, and there’s a handful of scenery items, but the best way of getting to know these new animals is by using them in a sandbox setting first. Because they’re a diverse and interesting bunch, you can easily spend dozens of hours doing so as well – especially when you get lost just looking at the unique behavior of some of them.
Included this time are the moose, cougar, California sea lion, North American beaver, American alligator, black-tailed prairie dog, arctic fox, and American bullfrog. And yes, some of these look and feel a tad similar to animals that were already in the game, but a few of them are quite unique. The moose looks majestic, and the cougar behaves quite differently from the other big cats in the game – somehow they feel more active than the pacing nature of others.
Two other favorites include the sea lions, which are great to see emerge out of or immerse into the water, and the beaver, which is an iconic animal that makes you wonder why it was never in the game to begin with. It’s a really good selection of animals, and one of the biggest compliments that we can give Frontier is that this pack has shaken up our top 10 of most wanted animals for the game. Right now, what’s there is a walrus, several species of large fish and swimming mammals and some large birds that are not flightless. We might get them somewhere down the line, but until then the North American animal pack is a great addition to the game – now hold on while I make my moose habitat a bit larger and see which animals I can introduce to it.
Disc Ninja gets new gameplay mode on the Quest
Disc Ninja by Immersion Games may still be in Early Access on Steam, but it recently launched into a full version for the Oculus Quest and that version has now received a major new (and free!) update that we recently got to try out.
If you haven’t played the base game, then the best way to describe Disc Ninja is to imagine the sport of disc golf combined with Asian/ninja-inspired scenery. And if disc golf doesn’t mean anything, then imagine having to throw a frisbee at a target in as few tries as possible, and you have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
It works really well in VR as well thanks to some well-implemented throwing mechanics, and the cartoon-like graphics make sure it looks good and performs well on the Quest too. We wish it had more than 15 maps to play on (we’re imagining a 36 hole golf course as a reference point), but at least the new update gives you more ways to play on the initial 15 levels.
Dubbed “Rush mode”, you can now play Disc Ninja with an almost complete disregard for the classic golf mindset of doing it in as few attempts as possible. Here, speed is the name of the game, and emphasizing it automatically means you’ll be less precise – at least for your first throws when you’re trying to get closer to the target quickly. It’s not a radical difference, but it does make the online leaderboards in the game suddenly feel far more relevant – and give you a good reason to come back and try to shave a bit off your best times. With the game still in Early Access on Steam, we can only hope this means that more post-launch updates are to follow, for what is already a fun title that makes great use of the immersive nature of VR.