Review by Dogg
" Jak and Daxter is definitely the best platformer around, despite what anyone says."
It’s no secret that the company responsible for the popular Crash Bandicoot series has sold the license to create a completely new game. The game is called Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. Ever since it’s unveiling it was one of the most awaited games for the PS2. And now that it’s finally here, I just got one word to say. Awesome!
While not exactly complex, Jak and Daxter’s story is the deepest of any platformer thus far. Jak and Daxter are a group of elf-like human friends who instead of listening to their local sage’s advice go to Misty Island. There, Daxter falls into a pool of goo-like substance called dark eco. He then jumps out and sees himself as an Ottsel: a half otter, half weasel creature. Seeking for help on how to turn Daxter into his human-self again, they go see the green sage. The sage tells them that the only one who can do it is the master of dark eco, who lives far north. With their goal set, Daxter jumps on Jak’s shoulder and to the North they go.
Like many other platformers on the market there is a lot of collecting to do. The main object to collect is called the power cell. You need power cells to start up your “A-GraV Zoomer” so you can progress in some areas of the game. You also need them to power up special objects, for example there is a lightning gun with which you pick up a rock out of your way to progress. There are a couple of ways you can earn these treasures. Each level has tasks that you need to accomplish to gain a power cell. They range from simple tasks like exploring the beach to more difficult ones like catching 200 pounds of fish.
Another thing to collect is called the precursor orb. These look like metallic spheres with ancient writings on them. They are scattered all around the levels. Some people in the game will give you a power cell in return for 90 orbs. Also in some levels there are structures called Precursor Oracles that contain 2 power cells. Each one is worth 120 orbs. This may sound like a lot of adventuring to do for just one lousy power cell, but before you know it you’ll have lots of orbs to spare.
One of the more interesting things in the game is eco. Eco is a magical substance that gives you temporary powers or heals you. There is a number of different ecos in the game. Blue eco will charge you up with lightning and make you a lot faster. It will also open some ancient artifacts. Red eco will make your attack stronger and will lengthen your range. Yellow eco will allow you to shoot energy particles at upcoming foes. And finally green eco will cure your health.
One of the things that makes the game challenging is the health. You only get 3 lives before it’s game over. People who are used to games like Mario and Klonoa will find this a bit frustrating, while fans of Crash will feel right at home. Your health meter is a heart that consists of 3 parts. One part for each hit. You can revive a part with 1 big green eco orb that is found very rarely, or the more common small green eco. It takes a whole 80 small green ecos. Even though they are found in treasure chests and enemies here and there, it is still very hard to stay alive. Since you will die a lot (and I mean a lot) of times, you have unlimited lives, luckily.
One of the big flaws in the game that I should mention is the limited amount of warp points. There are almost none. This will leave you at the start of the level almost every time you die. And considering how huge the levels are, this is a very frustrating process.
Jak has a number of moves at his command. Paying tribute to Crash, the spin attack is back. But this time not only do you use it to attack your foes, you also need it to stay in the air for a little longer. There is also a punch attack, an uppercut, butt stomp, double-jump, high jump, and long jump. And combined with the moves you can do when you’re powered up with different ecos, there are enough of them for a good platformer.
While you may not notice it at first since it’s so natural, the game has a lot of platform elements. At the start it’s things like jumping rocks and holes, but later you have to use platforms as a way of transportation. And this is where it can get a bit frustrating. Even though you can adjust the camera with the right analog stick, sometimes it gets stuck. At those times it leaves you in the open for enemy attacks and makes it hard to aim a jump. While not a very big flaw it is enough to make you scream at the TV, at times.
Another flaw with the gameplay of Jak and Daxter is the small amount of bosses. There are only 3 or so of them in the game. And all of them are pretty easy, at least for my skills. I’m not exactly sure why Naughty Dog did this since all the Crash games had a healthy amount of Boss battles especially since platformers depend on bosses. Hopefully they will fix this and other flaws with the sequal.
Perhaps the best part of Jak and Daxter is the visuals. The game is so detailed and so beautiful that it almost brings tears to your eyes. The sight distance is simply amazing. Since the game is set in one huge world with all of the levels connected (and no loading times!) anything and everything you see you can go to. The first time you get up on a high structure and look down below on the world of Jak and Daxter you will just scream, WOW!!! You have to experience it yourself before you can truly judge the game. For the graphics I saw absolutely no flaws, just an amazing world. And they definitely deserve a perfect 10.
The sound is awesome. From the perfect lip singing of characters to the nice balanced music scores. No flaws here either. And combined with the visuals Jak and Daxter is just a beautiful game that you can proudly show off to your friends.
It is pretty lengthy for a platformer, takes anywhere from 15 to 20 hours. Just don’t expect much after the game is over. As I’m closing this review I just want to say that even with all of it’s flaws Jak and Daxter is still a very good game that belongs in every PS2 gamer’s collection.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/02/02, Updated 09/03/02
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