Review by wolverinefan
"One of the better mascot racing games out there"
The Jak series has been hit or miss for me. I loved the first and third titles but the second game just wasn't very good. Now Jak X has come around and to be honest I'm not a big fan of kart racers and I really didn't care for Naughty Dog's last racer, Crash Team Racing or whatever it was called, for the Playstation 1. I had tried out a demo for Jak X and found it nice to look at and it played decently. I put the game on my Christmas list but I wasn't really expecting it. I got it and it was the first, and as of now only, game I have played that I got for Christmas. The game does have its problems though...
The big fat thing that ran the shop that Jak and Daxter went to in Jak 2 poisons our heroes and they are now forced to partake in a racing event for the antidote. I know it sounds stupid but it's done fairly well. If you've played the newest ratchet game (Deadlocked) then you'll get the connection. Both games featured a TV setting. Anyway, there are a few twists here and there. Some nice dialog but not as funny as Jak 3. The game does feature a nice amount of cut scenes as well. One thing I can say is that this game has a much better plot than any other kart racer out there.
The graphics in Jak x are impressive. Very bright and vibrant. Levels all look nice; a lot of different settings and textures are used. Weapon effects are decent but not mind blowing. The CGI is on par with Jak 3, maybe a smidge better. The vehicles all look nice and different. You can't really tell whose is whose unless you notice the icon with name that flies by on them but that is sometimes hard to read, as are some of the health bars in death matches.
The sound in the game is pretty good. The music is nice, along the same lines as the previous Jak games. Nice and fitting to the levels that they play in. Sound effects are decent. Things go boom and stuff like that. Nothing to write home about. It seems like all of the voice actors have return for this outing as well which is always nice. No one really grated my nerves or anything. The new characters all had decent voices, nothing too horrible.
The control in the game takes a little while to get the hang of. It's more like the button placement is odd. X is gas and R2 is turbo. This is fine but R1 is your weapon so trying to hitting these buttons in a logical way can be tough at times. I know it sound normal but you just haven't played the game. I also found the game really screws you over in the newer cups because everything controls so differently. I also found that you need to be careful because some are very sensitive to control and take a while to get the hang of but I guess that is the way it should be. Control isn't bad though but it does feel a bit touchy. Thankfully, it's not as touchy as the vehicle control in Jak 3.
If you've play another kart game before just throw those ideas out the window. There is a very good reason this is subtitles combat racing. My butt was handed to be harshly when I first started. You need to know what each weapon is, the best way to use it ect. And you need to use those weapons because you need both speed and power if you want to win. So if you're looking for something like Mario Kart then maybe you should pass because this game knows how to layout a beating.
The game features a nice selection of tracks. There are 4 "areas" but a number of different tracks for each and they intersect into each other. Think Ridge racer if you've played those games. The thing is, you don't always notice until much later in the game that you're just repeating tracks but the game breaks it up real nice with different kinds of game play.
The game actually features a number of different types of "races". You get a normal race which might be 1 really long lap, 2 medium laps or 5 small laps. Those play out like a normal race. Next up is the speed races. These give you X amount of time to finish however many laps. The catch is that you can't do it unless you get the clock stopper icons. They range from 2 seconds, 5 seconds and 10 seconds. You need those. These races are fairly easy until the end of the 3rd cup where they get tougher because the tracks get harder. Next up is the death race. This has you hitting on coming cars head on. Green is 1 point, blue is 2 and red does damage. You have X amount of time to get X amount of points. The points double each lap but not all of the stages give you more than 1 lap. Next is a weird one that I can't remember the name of. It has you collecting a power cell, holding turbo until it powers up all the way and it's unleashed. Other cars can unleash theirs on you which blows yours up and makes you grab another. Each one you shoot also gives you a droppable weapon which is sued to block on coming attacks, which by the way is important to normal races as most attacks can be blocked via droppable weapons. Next up is a death match. First to kill 10 wins, there is also another that's just like this but its kill random critter more than everyone else. There is also artifact stages which has you racing around a level trying to gather the artifacts as they appear. First to ten wins. I think that's all....
Okay, the weapons in the game are fairly average. A stage that requires shooting always has an unlimited machine gun. In the levels are weapons icons. Yellow is a shooter, red is a droppable. Red are land mines, shields, hover bots ect. Yellow is missiles, machine gun and what not. There is one attack that is only stoppable by a shield which is the giant electric orb which is pretty much death to the person in 1st. I actually had 3 used on me right in a row. My shield lasted for two and I died on the third. It's a tough world in Jak X...
I think I've covered all aspects of the actual game play. There are four cups. You get orbs for winning races which allow you to buy stuff from the secrets shop or to upgrade a vehicle. Getting first gives you gold, 2nd is silver 3rd is bronze. So gold is 3 points, silver is 2 and bronze is 1. You need 50 points to get to the final race of the cup. It's fairly simple and I think the stages offer 60 or so points which make it less stressful.
Now, the game also has multiplayer but I don't know anyone else who plays games besides DDR and Karaoke Revolution... I did however look around and I didn't see any complaints about the multiplayer stuff so it must run smoothly and I do know it features all the modes found in the normal game, at least that is what the manual states. Also, the game is online and again I've heard nothing bad about it but for some reason I can't get my PS2 online. It seems like my Cable internet company doesn't like my XBOX or PS2... The game took me under 10 hours to beta but I didn't have all golds. Mostly gold but a few races I got my butt handed to me and just went on because I had enough points already.
So, for final thoughts what do I have? I really don't know. I for one enjoyed the game and I'm glad I own it but if you don't do multiplayer or online play then maybe this is more of a rental or a game for those die hard Jak fans. If you do a lot of multiplayer gaming with friends then grab this because I'm sure it's a blast but your friends might get annoyed if you don't explain some of the things that make this game different than others. The game runs smoothly and offers a lot to do. Also, this game unlocks new stuff for the Daxter game for PSP and the Daxter game unlocks stuff in this game. As of this review Daxter isn't out so I can't tell you what you get. In the end I'll just say buy this if you like the series and if you do the whole multiplayer/online thing. Other wise just rent it.
Story - 7/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Control - 8/10
Game Play - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
Final Score - 8/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 01/09/06
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