Reviews: Jak And Daxter
It Got Progressively Worse as Time Went On
While I do agree with some points the previous reviewer has made, I do have a few opinions that vary as well. I understand that a lot of people hate the way Jak II went Darker And Edgier, but I am mostly for the change - the first game was good, if but a little short but the second game introduced some really cool mechanics like the guns and the hoverboard. Plus I can see why it's unsettling to see Jak hold a gun, but I feel that its purpose of efficiently killing enemies outweighs that feeling. Now I said I was mostly for the changes, but looking at it now that I'm older, I do have a few complaints. Haven City is way too hard to navigate for a hub world, some of the dialogue is narmy at times and some of the characters are rather annoying. Again, that's just my personal opinion. Other than that, II is notoriously hard at times and difficulty spikes come out of nowhere. But I'd have to say it's a lot more polished than its sequel. To me, 3 is a bit of a joke and where the series began its dark descent. Though it introduces even more mechanics like the buggies and even more gun upgrades, you can tell the game was made in just over a year: there are more plot holes, questionable moments and retcons than you can shake a stick at; some of the mechanics (such as putting away the gun) and environments are buggy which could've used with some tweaking and there's even more Narm in the dialogue (Jak pushing Erol off of that edge comes to mind). Though there are salvaging moments such as hilarious The Reveal and a certain character's death. Jak X to me was godawful. The learning curve felt too steep and I felt bitter for losing a race just because I got killed just as I was about to cross the finishing line. That and the rumoured glitch that corrupted your memory card made me put it down for good. At least it fixed the Big Lipped Alligator Moment that was Ashelin's brief hookup with Jak. And I agree that They Just Didnt Care when it came to TLF. It was like High Impact games tried to target a younger audience for a world that is definitely not kid-friendly. Each to their own I suppose.
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.
Great series that juggles genre's brilliantly, plus a great story
The first game can be summarised as a freeroaming version of Crash Bandicoot. It had great, if cliche platforming and awesome mini-games. The story was simplistic, but good, and Daxter was annoying, but loveable. Naughty Dog took what gamers liked about the first game (the hoverbiking for example became more prominent in Jak 2), ramped it up while ejecting some of the lesser elements (the twee storyline, and the hero's Heroic Mime status), and added a lot of Darkerand Edgier, plus a smidgen from GTA's playbook. The result- AWESOME. The vastly different, yet highly competent playstyles that Jak2 used(you're platforming, you're shooting, you're racing, you're hoverboarding) combined with some brilliant setpieces (ex: being chased by a tank with the action being shown from the tank's perspective) gave the feeling that you where taking part in a truly cinematic story. An extremely well-written story- Jak got a gun and a voice, Kiera got sexy, Ashlyn injected further sexy, Baron Praxis and Errol made awesome villians, and the plot twisted admirably, furthered by the moral ambiguity of characters such as apparently-friendly arms-dealer Wrex and wise old mentor figure Kor. Daxter became less annoying and sweared a bit. Also, he got a human girlfriend. This was disturbing to most, but likely arousing for some. Jak 3 built upon this, with new playstyles added (riding "not Taun Taun's honestly" and driving all-terrain vehicles in the desert). Moreover, the gameplay becomes even more complex- the addition of further mods for Jak's gun (20 in all) plus his Light and Dark Jak forms (each with their own vastly different abilities), in addition to the "generic platform hero moves" gave the gamplay the greatest variety and depth you'll find outside of JRP Gs and Fighting Games with obtuse combos. Plus the excellent story of Jak 2 was expanded upon and peppered with a whole lot of Crowning Moments of Awesome/Heartwarming, and grand secrets and revelations- all and all, this was Jak, but EPIC. Daxter sweared some more, got some character development, and generally a larger role in the story- also, his interspecies sexcapades became less disturbing. This troper hasn't played Jak X- a Kart racer doesn't suit his preferences, so he can't comment. The first three games however? PS 2's most ignored killer apps.