Review by TheMadcapLaughs

"This game may not be very original, but it is very fun, and accompanies some great gameplay with lush graphics and brilliant sound"

Jak and Daxter is about you and your partners quest to a reach a Wizard which can cure your partner because your partner accidentally fell in a vat of dark eco being changed from an elvish creature into a orange rodent.

Your aim in Jak and Daxter is to collect Orbs, Scouter Flies and ultimately Power Cells in order to activate equipment needed to reach the Wizard. It's obvious immediately that this is a collect-a-quest when you see the amount of stuff you have to hunt down; 2000 orbs, 100 Power Cells and 112 Scouter Flies. However this game allows you to collect these without being “burdened down”. There are often many more Power Cells in an area than the amount you need in order to progress, which means you can choose to either fly through this game picking up the odd power cell here and there, or take your time, enjoy the scenery and hunt down everything available.

The gameplay is simple. You control Jak's movement around the world. You have two ground based attacks, one which causes you to lash Daxter out at enemies, another which makes you spin around Crash Bandicoot style. You are able to jump, and double jump, and whilst in the air you can attack aswell. You are also able to crawl, long jump and go from an attack into a high jump. Ultimately this is a platformer for a good deal of the game.

Another bit of the game plays like a free-roaming driving game. This occurs in between various levels, and also has a level based solely around it. You ride a hoverbike, using X to accelerate, square to brake and corner sharply as well as using the R and L buttons to jump.

The final section of the game are little minigames you will be challenged to by locals, including catching fish and attacking rats with a gun.

The controls are, in general, great, though I do have a couple slight issues to point out. The hoverbike's movement can, at times, get quite twitchy. The same applies to several of the minigames.

The character design in this game is very good with everyone having their own personality, motives and voice. The FMVs are very well done and the voiceovers are some of the best I've ever seen.

Level design varies from the lacklustre to the superb. Some levels, particularly the Lost PreCursor City, are very well done. For example the Lost PreCursor City has multiple paths, hidden secrets, challenges you can activate by hitting a button, platforms that can be used as a mode of transport depending where you stand on them, hallways with simple puzzles connecting areas together, slides and cogs that you have to use to manuver your way around, massive rooms with multiple ways to cross them and large rooms with puzzles in. Combine this with some great design work on the walls and doors and you've got yourself a very good level.

However a level like Boggy Swamp is, overall, very badly designed. The levels is set out in a way that you only really have one path you can follow, the environments bland, the puzzles are repetitive (4 of the Cells are gained from doing the same thing in 4 different areas) and overall the level is very uninspiring.
The enemy design is exactly what you would expect from a game like this, and for good reason, it works well. One or two hit kill enemies of about your size with relatively simple attack patterns fit in perfectly with any plaformer-collectaquest. There's only three bosses in the game; a plant, gorilla and robot. The bosses are a relatively clear indication of the difficulty level with the plant you fight early on being very easy to defeat, and the robot being medium difficulty to defeat: Indeed the difficulty levels of the levels in the game does undergo a comfortable rise as you proceed through the game.

The graphics are mind-blowingly lush, and almost quite gorgeous, with levels, items and characters all showing a detail that you simply can't find in most of the other early PS2 games. The use of light colours makes the world look really nice, and makes the game even harder to leave.

The sound is very good. I've already mentioned how brilliant the voice-overs are, but another success with this game is that objects actually sound like they're meant to sound (EG a drill in the game will sound VERY similar to a drill in real life). Infact, the good sound effects of this game significantly improves gameplay, as often you'll find yourself using the sound effects to time jumps &c. The music in this game ranges from the nice little chimes to the dark, dank atmospheric. The music is quite quiet, though this does help as it stops the music getting on your nerves and allows you to make better use of the sound effects.

One of the great things about this game is that it never takes things too seriously. If you die then Daxter will sometimes crack a joke, as happens occasionally also when you are hurt. Also many of the characters are very laid back. All in all this helps make the game very easy to pick up and play, and also very addictive.

This game will take about 6-8 hours to complete the main storyline, but it is so addictive that you will likely feel the urge to complete it within a day or two. It's not unlikely that you will then proceed to collect all the Power Cells which will take you another 2-5 hours. However this is a game you will likely end up returning to many years down the line due to it being fun, addictive and easily approachable.

Gameplay (Platforming) = 10/10
Gameplay (Hoverbike) = 8/10
Controls = 9/10
Sound (Music) = 7/10
Sound (Other) = 10/10
Graphics = 10/10
Design = 8/10
Storyline = 7/10
Replay Value = 10/10

Final Score = 9/10

Final Comment = This game may not be very original, but it is very fun, and accompanies some great gameplay with lush graphics and brilliant sound.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/06/07

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