Reviews Comments: In short: Good, Great, Terrible, Abysmal

In short: Good, Great, Terrible, Abysmal
Jak And Daxter, a cliche, typical platformer, but a beautiful game that showed hints of world building. Good for a quick run, but much of its deeper contents belong to its sequel...

Jak II: I don't like it when a product goes Darker And Edgier for no reason, but I always gave exception to Jak II; it's characters are wonderfully integrated, used, and in-character with Jak himself gaining Character Development. The story is engaging and despite how blatant the story elements were in retrospect, to my then seventeen-year-old self, it held brilliant plot twists ( I have a thing for royal princes; Jak revealed as the ruler of Haven City was brilliant; too bad the game never milked it). Not to mention it sports beautiful graphics and high-quality voice acting.

Jak and Daxter may carry the most charm (sorry, I STILL cannot see Jak with a gun), but Jak II remains my favorite of the series for the effort they put into it. Oh, there are flaws: the overworld may be bigger, but the city of Haven (your main hub) is crowded with limited interaction. Not to mention the game is Nintendo Hard. Good for a challenge, but unquestionably frustrating and sometimes unfair. Some levels however are a gem; I will never tire of Mar's Tomb—it is just gorgeously executed platforming.

The same cannot be said for Jak 3 which had an easier, but still challenging gameplay, but not a good concept of balance; the platformer aspect seem to be downplayed over the other fun, but sometimes distracting varieties (though I may just hate the damn car missions; they handle like loose shopping carts). Not to mention its story is the worst of the lot: an out-of-nowhere Jak/Ashelin romance, Metal Heads uselessly integrated into the plot as part of a warring nations story that never concludes, Erol's Character Derailment that never bothers to explain why he wanted sudden world domination, and of course, Jak's terrible return to his Wangst state when the second game had him grow back into the Hero that he was. But his revelation with Damas (without spoiling) is heartfelt and gut-wrenching.

Jak X. Decent standalone story...with frustrating gameplay. I got killed easily because half the vehicles are too loose. The tracks are often hard to see, leading to easy crashes.


Erol was always pretty nasty and twisted in Jak 2- he clearly enjoyed torturing Jak in the intro, challenged Jak to a hoverbike race in the middle of Haven City (endangering bystanders), TRIED TO KILL Jak after Jak won the hoverbike championship race, not to mention acted as Baron Praxis's Dragon, in which capacity he lead the Krimzon Gaurd, who where pretty much the Jak universe's Waffen SS.

Any character derailment issue's are more to do with how he goes from "nasty piece of work, but generally follow's the Big Bad's orders with little personal acts of evil beyond personal rivalry with hero", to full on "take over the world" Big Bad status in Jak 3.
comment #284 Nemo 23rd May 09
Actually, Nemo, your reason IS why I felt Erol went through Character Derailment. It's hard to explain all that within the limits of a 400 words, otherwise I would have gone on a full length rage against Jak 3's story alone (and they have serious problems).
comment #285 Neo Yi 23rd May 09
There, I managed to fix what I wanted to say. Hope that clarifies.
comment #286 Neo Yi 23rd May 09
Yeah, that clears it up.

To be honest the blatant character derailment never bothered me during my first playthrough- I was more annoyed about the lack of a decent Dark Jak Vs Cyber Erol boss fight- I was 16 at the time though so take from that what you will.
comment #305 Nemo 27th May 09
I think I was about 18 or 19, so I was getting more focused on the stories at this point. Naturally, when Jak 3 assed it up with so many WTF moments, I just stood there like a rock. Especially the Precursor reveal. I literally sat there for a good while proclaiming what the hoo-ha happened. It's funny in retrospective, but methinks it's still somewhat...asinine. For lack of wording.
comment #308 Neo Yi 27th May 09
I don't remember it being that bad story-wise, but like I said I was younger and probably didn't consider such things as "motivation" or "logical plot developments" to be too important, plus I think a certain degree of nostalgia may rose-tint my view of the series- in retrospect, my own review seems a tad over-gushing with praise.

Oh well at least the gameplay was still good- I didn't mind the car driving, but then I don't play a lot of driving games, so I probably didn't notice that the handling was off due to a lack of things to compare it to.
comment #321 Nemo 30th May 09
I'm one of those critical person who analyze and find both the pros and cons in everything, henceforth why I find Jak 3's story to be vastly inferior and problematic. This is what happens when you have a bit of an OCD side, hee. Gameplay is indefinitely improved, though mostly by making it easier and less frustrating. But...well, I already explained the reasons why.
comment #323 Neo Yi 30th May 09
I remember being very, very upset at the way Jak's relationship with Kiera (who I found very imaginary crushworthy) to be totally dumped with no explanation for Jak to suddenly be making out with Ashelin. And a side casualty to all of that was the wonderfully subtle relationship Ashelin had with Torn in Jack II. The fact that most of the Jak/Ashelin stuff took place in the desert, while Kiera and Torn were city characters made me feel like the formerly likeable characters were having an affair "out of town".

Side note: While not what I would have liked, I would have been okay with Kiera and Jack's relationship ending for some sort of rationale story reason. And I am relieved that while Jak X was a side story, it did re-affirm the original shipping status.
comment #405 12th Jun 09
For me the series died as son as it became too dark and too edgy for no reason at all. The in-story reasons is lame, hand-waved away like its nothing and thematically it ruined everything that made the first game so fun.
comment #2333 iwintheinternets? 23rd Apr 10
I normally don't enjoy retcons and whatnot either (which is why I can't stomach those FF 7 sequels/prequels nonsense, but I'm more forgiving to Jak II simply because 1. They actually cared about the main story and characters and 2. The first game's storyline was simple, short, and straightforward that outside of that HUGE retcon (and some plotholes aside), the overall storyline isn't completely too tampered with that I would normally be upset about.

But I agree: the first is most definitely the most charming and until The Lost Frontier, I really missed its colorful graphics. Also, I still can't see Jak with guns. And yes, Jak II and beyond really was a big excuse to turn it into Darker A Nd Edgier territory which I also don't enjoy; I just consider this one of the few exceptions. *shrugs*
comment #2335 NeoYi 23rd Apr 10
True. Although to be fair, I have only played Precursers Legacy, Jak3 and Jak X. I began Jak2 but found no time for it, so I could be missing out on a good deal of explanation behind the Darker And Edgier concept.

Also the Ashelin/Jak romance annoyed me, even though Ashelin was hotter and about twice as awesome as Kiera will ever be, its just that it came out of nowhere. Maybe they should have just killed Kiera off or something?
comment #2339 iwintheinternets? 24th Apr 10
I didn't like the Jak/Ashelin story either because, as you said, it came out of nowhere. But honestly, there's too many story elements in Jak 3 I had a problem with.
comment #2431 NeoYi 3rd May 10

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