Reviews: Jak And Daxter The Precursor Legacy

Enjoyable, if Familiar, and Still Holds Up

I remember getting this game maybe a year after it released, not long after my family got the PS2. I remember enjoying it, but after getting my PS3 in 2013, I decided to grab the HD collection of the Jak series as well, and I'm glad to say that the first game, in my opinion, still holds up.

First, I love the art style in this game. It's bright, cartoony, and colorful. Along with the music, the art style makes every area unique in my book. I can still name each area from memory, and I like it when a game's areas stick out. It's very atmospheric, from Sandover Village to Gol and Mia's Citadel.

The gameplay is solid too. This is where a game counts, and Jak and Daxter is solid. Attacks just feel good to execute, each hit having a nice smack sound effect and having weight behind it. Jak's jumping abilities, while not Mario levels, have the kind of weight I expect from a character like Jak.

And yes, this game is a collectathon. I personally don't mind it here, as the game is lenient enough for you to go after all 101 power cells (I think you only need around the 76 mark to reach the final area). I don't mind going for all 100 power cells, as it will unlock the complete ending, but I do realize not everyone will like this style of play. It's also not terribly difficult if you've played this sort of game before. Once again, this works because the game caters to those who want everything and those who just want a stroll.

So, basically, Jak and Daxter still holds up over a 15 years later with solid gameplay, even if it is repetitive and easy.

Not hugely challenging or original, but enjoyable

Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is the result of game developer Naughty Dog starting a new franchise to take advantage of the PS2ís capabilities.

This game uses a very similar format to most ďcollectathonĒ platformers. And that's not a wholly bad thing. The Precursor Legacy uses the lessons of its predecessors to provide a well refined 3D platforming experience. The controls are responsive, the camera is mostly effective, and Jak has a variety of useful moves at his disposal. Backtracking is basically non-existent, and the quantity of collectables is kept to a reasonable level.

The closest thing to a unique mechanic is the eco power-ups. Using blue eco to activate things provides some interesting challenges, and yellow ecoís fireball shooting ability is useful, but strength-boosting red eco is sorely underutilised. Also of note is the A-Grav Zoomer, a vehicle that gets frequent use. It works well enough, but itís odd how much emphasis is put on it.

One thing that really makes the game stand out, however, is its presentation. Thereís plenty of impressive scenery as well as some interesting visual design. The (completely cosmetic) day/night cycle is a nice touch. And even better, there are no loading screens! This goes a long way to making the game feel like it takes place in one big, interconnected world.

The story is nothing to write home about, but it does its job at contextualising the game and is enjoyable to follow through to the end. At the very least there are some amusing character interactions. I would say that itís unobtrusive, but all the cutscenes are unfortunately unskippable. Though I rarely feel the need to skip them myself, it sucks that there isnít an option to do so.

If there's one problem you could accuse the game of having (aside from lack of originality), it's the fact that itís so short and easy. Obtaining all the orbs and power cells provides some extra longevity, but it's still not the most daunting task in the world. I, however, consider these positive traits. I enjoy being able to just pop the game in and complete it to 100% over the course of weekend.

If you're looking for something deep and involved, this game isn't for you. But if you are just looking for some simple 3D platforming fun thatís all too rare these days, Jak and Daxter is definitely worth checking out.