Review by HypoXenophobia
"A Game Everyone Should Try"
I'll start this off by mentioning that I played the game till I had 100 Precursor Orbs.
Jak and Daxter was a great game that astounded me because I was never much into platformers. There's very little faults I find in the game, for the sake of comparison, I intensely dislike Dirt(the racing game).
The game is very seamless. You never deal with loading minus the initial load when you turn on the game. Everything is done behind the scene. For instance, when you finished one of your goals, Jak and Daxter pull out a small little victory dance akin to what you would see at a football game minus the acrobats. But while that is occurring, the game is saving. I never would have noticed until I came up on a glitch and the game froze( it only occurred once around one of those Tiki God looking things that give you precursor orbs) and I was incredibly distraught cause I hadn't saved the whole time. Not only that, the game offers a fairly big environment. The game essentially puts GTA to shame because of how vast and colorful the game is, yet there's no load time. The only comparison would be Oblivion. If you see something in the far end of the island, platforming included, you will get there with no load times.
The draw of the game once you start playing becomes fairly obvious: collecting. There's 101 precursory orbs in the game. I accomplished 100, I didn't care to find the last one since you only need a hundred to get the secret ending. It has multiple dimensions of collection. There's about 200 orbs levels(not to be confused with the precursory orbs) except collecting doesn't reward you except that you can use them as currency to get more precursory orbs. But then there's flies, which you use to get more precursor orbs. There are seven flies per level. The game doesn't require you to go collecting, there's even a challenge out there to not collect the 200 orbs per level just for added difficulty. But the game rewards you for it by giving you the extra ending.
The levels are fairly unique from one another. Though, they are the run of the mill level locations. There is the forest level, the sand level, the water level, the fire level, the ice level, but what the game tries to do to differentiate them is give them moods. The sand level, is very vibrant and makes you just want to play there the whole game. The forest level is very murky and just gives you that sense of I want to get through this. It's fun don't get me wrong, but it makes you want to finish. The level design reminds me of Sonic 2. In which, there were a variety of ways to finish a level, through the top, bottom, middle. The game does something similar by having different branches per level. To clarify, when I say level, there are all part of one big island.
I feel that I should interject and mention the biggest flaw of the game name. The Spider Cave. They completely threw away every design philosophy when creating that level. It's vast, yes, but to the point where it's no longer fun. The premise of the level is the continual climb. You're constantly going from the bottom to the top. Which is okay, but other levels have a variety of check points. This level doesn't. It has about 5 branches to it. Whereas a normal level would have 20 different check points, this has just 5. When you're climbing to the top of the cave, and you die, you start at the beginning. If you miscalculate and fall, you fall to the bottom of the cave, which leads to three solutions: falling into a pit and dying, starting from the beginning again, or just plain death from high heights. What adds to this, is that is very linear. Whereas before, if you confronted a monster, you could roll, you can't. If you roll, that will generally lead to falling off. So it leads to very corridor-ish fighting. But to add to that, the enemies have two states: invulnerability(When they're moving) and vulnerability(when they're still). The ratio between invulnerability and vulnerability is 5:1. There's a lot of things I could say about that level, but it just too much. That level is the antithesis of just having a plain fun time.
A great thing the game does is give you a great variety of missions. There's the generic collecting ones, but each level has about 5 distinct different ones, about 7-10 per level. Instead of focusing on boss fights, the game focuses more on the challenges of trying to accomplish these diverse tasks. When you go to Misty Island, you'll find a ferret like animal. It becomes incredibly challenging and fun to chase after it. It's small and cute but there's so many obstacles you have to be aware of while chasing it. There's also a fishing level which is frustratingly simple. All you have to do is avoid one kind of fish, and you easily forget that you were avoiding it. So even if you weren't into collecting, there's still a great variety of missions.
The game has a general ease to it. You can genuinely deduce everything, because it isn't absurdly hard, akin to an online Escape the Room game, but more along the lines of Portal, where if it's challenging, you can find the solution if you think about it long enough. I only had to resort two gamefaqs twice. Only because of the Spider Cave and it's obscenely attempt at killing fun.
Appropriately to end this, what the game did wrong is not really give an incentive to get a 100 precursory orbs. The secret ending is incredibly disappointing. The ending is okay but the secret ending is disappointing, because it's incredibly enigmatic. To avoid spoilers, I'll say it's akin to the suit case in Pulp Fiction.
The game was fun. I'd recommend it to anyone whose willing to try out platforming games, or just getting into video games. It's essentially conquers through what's needed in a game, and essentially is fun all around, minus the Spider Cave. The Spider Cave alone prevents it from being a 10. 9 out of ten. It's a great game. Just the Spider Cave really brings the game down. It's worst because it's so close to the ending that it'll just bring resentment.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/18/08
Game Release: Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (US, 12/03/01)
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