Review by Psych0tic

"Jak is Back"

Jak iz Back! And this time, Jak is better than ever before--I assure you. Now as I'm writing this, there are currently 50 reviews already for this game, so why do I bother? In my opinion, even those that grant Jak 2 the same score as I have are not right on target in their critiques so I help to further help those looking into buying/renting this game.

Story:
A good high quality story in a platformer is not one of the ''necessary'' requirements that other genres such as ''RPG's'' need. I would preface my comments with, compared to other platforms, Jak II's story is among the greatest of them all, but falls short in many aspects. In the original Jak & Daxter, the Precursor Legacy, you were left near lots of ancient ''stuff.'' Well Jak II begins with Daxter being his usual klutzy/goofy self pushing a button he shouldn't, releasing some ''evil'' into his world, and meanwhile, Jak is transported into the future. You are transported to a place called ''Haven City,'' where the Krimzon Guard immediately catches you and imprisons you.

The story then moves 2 years later, and you see Jak attached to some sort of device, and the Baron, basically the head of Haven City, is injecting you with Dark Eco (a very, ''magical'' substance) hoping that you become a most powerful weapon in fighting the Metal Heads (Haven City's biggest nemesis). Well, you have shown no physical improvements however, so the Baron leaves the room, and Daxter arrives to save the day! Daxter removes the devices holding you down, and immediately Jak is transformed into DARK JAK. It soon wears off however, and it seems that the torture for 2 years has actually made Jak more powerful, yet completely done a 180 to his personality, as the only thing he seeks now is revenge. Jak escapes the prison, and looks for the Underground, an organization rebelling against the Krimzon Guard within the city's own walls, so that he can join and achieve the revenge his now cold heart desires. You start there, and what was a plot revenge becomes something more.

Now that you know the basic storyline, you can see it's much more mature and ''dark'' themed than the original Jak and Dax, but, it really lacks something in the meantime. I guess I was slightly disappointed due to the great hype about it's new tone, but it's nothing special. Don't get me wrong however, it's still enjoyable. There are also several highly developed characters you meet, and the voice acting is good, with humor intertwined within, so the Story still gets a decent rating from me.

Story: 7/10

Gameplay:
This is what makes or breaks a platformer. Many tend to compare it to it's strong, yet different, competitor, Ratchet and Clank. A few things you should know. If you are looking for the great weapon diversity that a game such as Ratchet and Clank offers, this is not for you. Jak II contains only 4 different weapons. HOWEVER, it is AMAZING how entirely DIFFERENT and ALWAYS useful each gun is. They ALL have their OWN purpose, and amazingly enough, you never really get bored of them! It's a hard concept to imagine 4 guns keeping your attention, but you must believe. The scatter gun creates a spray of bullets, short range, and little damage taking out several annoying enemies harrassng you, a machine gun sort of gun, firing rapidly, fairly strong, and fairly long, yet with very low accuracy, a long range rifle, firing very slowly, very strongly, and the longest of the weapons, and the peacemaker which is almost the ''ultimate'' weapon, yet has little ammo, with great damage, decent range, decent accuracy, poor speed, and area effect damage. But of course, weapons arent' everything. The game offers an extensive environment with wonderfully strong platforming elements (due to great controls me thinks) and thoughtful level design.
I have a strong comment to make however about something many people tend to be bringing up about how similar this game is to GTA. YES you steal vehicles if you want to get around quickly, YES you can attack people, NO you can do nothing else, NO there's not as much interaction as you'd think by hearing the majority of these reviews, YES stealing vehicles is important, NO it does not take 3437438 hours to get across the town (as long as u steal a vehicle), and YOU determine the difficulty of getting around by how you drive. Driving the vehicles is an adventure in itself, and learning how to control different types the best. This is a VERY enjoyable aspect Naughty-Dog added in that many people seem to disregard. They say ''Every time you're crossing the city on foot, it takes hours. Ever time you tak ea vehicle, you die.'' This is incorrect. You only die if you are not careful nor skilled, and it's just one of the challenges of this highly detailed game. Another thing many complain about is the redundancy of the missions. I've heard similar comments such as ''All you do is ride vehicle, get killed, shoot bad guys, punch bad guys, spin around attacking bad things, run, jump, nd die some more.'' This is bogus. That is what a platformer is, and although it doesn't offer the innovative RPG-like elements that Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando did, it offers more than any other platformer I have yet experienced. Controls are great, weapons are great, platforming is great, what can I say, Jak gets a :

Gameplay: 10/10

Graphics:
Originally when I got this game for Christmas, I was hesitant to open this game. I got my FFX-2, RC: Going C, Disgaea, and all dot hacks, and I was excited. But I was like ''Jak 2?'' sounds bad.... I looked at some reviews, was disappointed with some, happy with others, but, what the heck, I'm not going to take back a video game, so I took the risk and placed it in the PS2. I was immediately witness to a start screen that looked rather poor. The ''JAK II'' was written with low pixel count, and it said ''PRESS START BUTTON'' in an extremely childish font if I do say so myself. I thought to myself ''oh no,'' but immediately when the game started up and I was escaping from the prison, the graphics just GRABBED me in. The color palette is large, yet toned dark slightly to help achieve the response from the gamer as naughty-dog wanted, and everything was very well detailed. I hadn't played Ratchet and Clank: going commando yet, and thus these were some of the best graphics i've seen yet. Of course, I found out soon ''ack!'' when i saw Ratchet and Clank, and was completely taken by those colorful, flowing, smooth, detailed, immersive graphics, but Jak II is still amongst the best. The characters are done very well, and the scenery even better, and of course a very high framerate. There are also no errors such as in games like ''splinter cell'' where you are targeting something, are aimed at them, and for some reason when you shoot, you completely miss, even from point blank range (NOTE: at least this was a problem on the PS2, not the XBOX). Everything works great, and thus I present Jak II with a graphics score of

Graphics: 9.5/10

Sound:
Sounds.. o where to begin. Well, the music is nothign spectacular, when there is music, however the ambience sounds/sound effects are fantabulous. Guns, punches, walking, all of it sounds great. Voice acting is done in depth and with personality, not lacking as were the characters in Dynasty Warriors 4 (was it the same guy doing all of the voices there?).Anyways, it was a great improvement from the precursor legacy to actually have jak TALK, and it was overall enjoyable. Once again, I do wish the music was a bit better, but hey, nothing's perfect.

Sounds: 8/10

Replayability, Buy, Rent, Neither?:
Replayability is one of those things that many people use to judge whether or not they should buy a game. Well, for starters, if you've liked the things you've heard in this review, you'll definitely like it, and you may even enjoy this great game if you haven't liked the things i've mentioned. This is one of the biggest determining factors, and thus I suggest you do think about it, but personally, I am not one to rent. I like to see my money at least go to something I own and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product to help boost the economy, unlike a rental. If you are the type that likes to rent games however, this is a good one to get as long as you can rent the game for about a week. If you play enough, you should beat it in a week. The game lasts about 20 hours of ''playtime,'' which may seem little, however, that does not take into account the countless times you WILL die (this game is no piece of cake). Overall, you'll probably put in double time, but regardless 20 housr of gametime are very good for a platformer. On top of that, you can collect precursor orbs which allow you to unlock bonuses or cheats depending on how many you find and collect. Of course, my 20 hour game time does not include finding all of these and getting all of the bonuses, so this is another litle something you can do to extend the playtime and replayability. Unfortunately, other than taht there are no real bonuses you get for beating the game once, and there's only 1 difficulty, but you won't be disappointed. However, if you don't have the money to buy, but don't like renting (like me), I suggest buying USED copies. That does NOT contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (as i've so recently learned in my first economics class) however you can get it much cheaper, and still in wonderful condition. And of course, this way, you always have it in your collection (and it's a good one to have), and later on in time, in a few months, you'll desire to beat it again. It's wonderful. Thus I suggest you buy, but renting works, and no matter what you *must* play this game one way or another. Replayability gets a

Replayability: 5/10
Rent/Buy: Buy (used)

I hope this was helpful, goodluck, and take my word for it, Jak is Back and better than ever.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/08/04


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