Review by A Album Kid A
"Pefect Story, Graphics and Gameplay, a Classic today's gaming."
Jak 2 is the sequel to Jak and Daxter, which is now a greatest hit for the Playstation 2 as well. I never played the original Jak and Daxter,(although i wish i did) but you don¡¦t have to in order to fully understand and enjoy this game.
Jak and Daxter begin their journey where they left off after defeating their previous enemies, Gol and Maia. After the final battle came to a close, the pair discovered a mysterious Precursor Rift Gate. Jak, Daxter, the old sage Samos (who has wooden logs strapped to his feet, mind you) and his daughter Keira all plan on travelling through the gate. However, when the gate is opened, many creatures come out of it (which are later referred to as ''Metal Heads'') and the group are sucked into the Gate. Waiting for them on the other side is the metropolis, Haven City, which is ruled through fear by the evil Baron Praxis, who controls everything in the city. Jak is captured by the Baron and endures two long years of torture as he is injected with a substance called Dark Eco, which is the equivalent to our world's radiation. When Daxter frees Jak, Jak has a new found attitude and a quest for revenge against the Baron and to find a way back home.
Jak and Daxter aren't the only ones who are revolting against the Baron's reign, there are multiple underground groups out to stop him as well. By joining these groups, Jak and Daxter come along quite the cast of characters. First, there is Thorn, high rank member of the cities biggest underground group, which is lead by the mysterious Shadow. Jak and Daxter work their way up to meeting him and are in for a suprise when they do. Another classic character is the revolting, enormous man (If you could call him a man) who goes by the name of Krew. Krew is a greedy fellow who sends Jak on some of the more dangerous missions. There are also over a bunch of other characters, like a member of the Krimzon Guard (the Baron's legion of soldiers) a tough guy who also provides his own comic relief, a hyper and frightened mechanical worker, and an old man who watches over a shy, green haired child. Jak's new ability to speak gives him a tougher and cooler overall look and Daxter delivers with great jokes through the entire game. I could go on forever about the amount of detail and depth put into each and every character, and little things like that always add to the realism and experience of a game. As the game progresses, the storyline goes though many twists and turns, i could spoil it for you and tell you what they are, but i think it would be best to let the player experience these things for his/herself.
At first, the soundtrack was great and always added to the excitement during a mission, however, hearing the same thirty seconds of a song every time Jak was being pursued by the Krimzon Guard sort of took away from the overall enjoyment, and at times helped lead to frustration. The game even has a handful of times where there is no music at all and silence overcomes the player. Sometimes, silence is best, it helped with the anxiousness, fear or preparation for whatever it was that laid ahead.
Although, a bit overwhelming and complicated at first, the controls do become a bit easier to understand and use as the player moves along through the game. The player might have to take sometime just practicing all the different moves and changing controls for all the different types of gameplay available throughout the game.
I can safely say that the graphics in this game excel over most of the games available on any system out today. The characters look sleek and smooth and most of them are very uniquely developed and created, each with a look and persona that is all their own. The environments like the forests, ruins, and lower parts of the city are the game's visuals at their peak. The beautiful architecture of the mountain and forest areas are certainly breathtaking. I found myself taking a break from a mission just to look around at the texture and detail put into all the little things like the dark blue water or the colorful grasses that move with the wind. Its certainly something worth experiencing if graphics are your thing.
This game combines many different genres like action, adventure, RPG, racing, first-person shooting, and even skateboarding into the mix. The entire city is constantly alive with guards, people and objectives. The missions Jak and Daxter have to go through are usually very unique, fun and challenging. Even the escort or ''protect the poor inocent bystandard'' missions can be fun, since most of the characters you end up escorting have massivley powerful weapons of their own and are far from helpless. Some missions are just puzzles for the player to figure out in order to advance to the next section or mission. In the end, the hardest missions you come across are the timed ones, they will usually leave you running all around an area trying to find the quickest route or order over and over again. Jak and Daxter have to steal hover vehicles (which, unfortunatley, are only limited to a few different types :-( ) and travel trough the city by themselves in a Grand Theft Auto style, which is always good for tons of fun. Altough traveling from one destination to another can be time consuming and a little annoying, its always worth it to experience the next challenging mission. And when i say challenging, i mean CHALLENGING! This game is hard, in every sense of the word and really puts the player to the test with some truly difficult levels that kept me up to the wee hours of the morning on school nights. Fortunately, there isn't a life system and no matter how many times you die, you can always get back up and start playing with the only drawback, being forced to battle the hordes of enemies over again. The game also makes things easier by having a built in checkpoint system, although your never quite sure where a checkpoint is, which can be a little upsetting. Jak has an awesome ability he inherited from all the dark Eco called Dark Jak. In this form, Jak becomes a brutal killing machine. The number one thing people don't know about Dark Jak is that there is a plentiful supply of available dark Eco (which is obtained by defeating enemies or opening boxes) so don't be afraid to use your Dark Jak ability whenever necessary. Also, Dark Jak isn't very useful in boss fights as well, so use him up in the field, against all those fun guards or Metal Heads. Jak gets four guns in the game, all of which are put to good use. The scatter gun provides a short but wide range and is good for those up close encounters, especially against the weaker, faster enemies. The Blaster gun is perfect for long range, accurate shooting, and the automatic Vulcan Fury is a definite must for taking down enemy ships or some of the larger Metal Heads. The final weapon, the Peacemaker didn't provide me with much use except for the final battle because of its limited ammunition, which made me frightened to use it through fear of running out. One of the greatest things about this game is that after the initial loading sequence, THERE IS NO LOADING SCREENS IN THE GAME!!! Sure, there are scenes where you know the camera is loading, but the player is allowed to move around and the environment is usually moving around you so waiting for the areas to load fly right by. This, ofcourse, provides the game with a faster and smoother experience.
Jak participates in races throughout the game, and they are definitely less frustrating and more enjoyable than most racing games out there. The is also a first-person shooting mode Jak gets to explore when he has to take on handfuls of Krimzon Guards, Giant ships controlled by the Krimzon Guard, or when he must destroy a handful of Metal Head eggs, which have engulfed some areas. The hoverboard Jak is provided with later in the game comes in handy for missions, but also for fun and enjoyment.
Replay Value 8/10
The game provides the player with Precursor Orbs, which, when collected, unlock secrets such as big/ small head mode, viewing the cut scenes, a mirror world in which everything is in the opposite of where it should be, you can view the art designs, racing or gun courses and the infamous Hero Mode. The Grand Theft Auto type way of moving around freely is also available unlimitedly after defeating the game, which will keep the die-hards coming back for more. The difficult missions, however, may frustrate some players so much they wont even play it more than a few attempts. I beat the game after about 15:30 hours, which took me a little more than a week to complete.
Sure, it has a few flaws, but this game truly shines in the storyline, graphics and gameplay, and isn't that what gaming is really all about?? Naughty Dog, the creaters, have developed the true heir to Crash and have stepted up ontop of most of the competition. If you're up for a REAL challenge, don't let a great game like this one slip through your fingers.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/30/04
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