Review by Zylo the wolf
Consider how disappointed I've been of many other "classic" Playstation 2 games, I was surprised how fun I had with this game...
Naughty Dog's previous character Crash Bandicoot had a few excellent games on the Sony Playstation that were good enough for Crash to be considered to be one of the Sony Playstation mascots, even if he never became as huge as Mario or Sonic. After a few hits on the Sony Playstation, Naughty Dog sold the license of Crash Bandicoot to another company for some reason I really don't understand. I don't know about the rest Crash Bandicoot games, but I've heard that they weren't as good as the original three games. Anyway we still were lucky that Naughty Dog continued to make platformers, so to replace Crash we now have Jak, a young blonde boy who looks like an elf. Just like what you would expect from a main character in these type of games, Jak is mute. Instead it's his side kick Daxter who does all the talk, making them a more balanced duo than Mario & Luigi or Sonic & Tails.
Our two heroes have set out on a journey to Misty Island because...that's what young boys do when they are bored in Sandover Village. On Misty Island they see a bunch of evil looking creatures known as Lurkers and one of them even tries to attack our two heroes. In order to defend himself, Jak picks up a big barrel of explosives in order to kill the foe, and while he's successful in doing so the explosion causes poor Daxter to fall into a pit full of Dark Eco. Daxter manages to get back up from the pit, but he has now transformed into a weasel, or something that looks like that. Jak & Daxter returns to their village to ask the wise sage of green eco Samos what do to.
After yelling at the boys that he told them NOT TO GO TO MISTY ISLAND he tells them that the only one who can change Daxter back to his normal self is the sage of dark eco Gol, who lives far away from the village in the north. In order to be able to head North, Samos daughter Keira needs enough power cells to get her hoverbike being able to take enough heat so our heroes can travel through Fire Canyon. In other words, Jak and Daxter now have to search everywhere for Power Cells, which means that this is one of those games where you have to collect objects in the stages just like Super Mario 64.
I hate to bring up Super Mario 64 in this review, but if you have played that game then it's impossible to not see how much Jak & Daxter have borrowed from it. Even if you don't walk in a castle in this game and jump into different paintings, both games involves a lot of jumping and solving easy puzzles in typical platform levels, and you reward is that you can collect more stars/power cells in order to get further in the game and be able to reach new levels where you can collect more....stars/power cells. But if you enjoyed Super Mario 64, then you should have no problem to enjoy Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. A big difference is that Jak more rely on his fists in order to defend himself from the enemies instead of jumping on them. Ok now I will stop compare the game to Super Mario 64 and instead talk about why I gave it a nine.
Except from finding power cells in the different stages, you sometimes have to clear a mini game in order to get a power cell instead. While these mini games are really simple made, they serve as a nice change from just "reach this place to get this power cell, then reach that place to get another one". Sometimes Jak's jumping abilites aren't enough, sometimes he either has to ride a hoverbike (there's one stage where you never get a chance to just walk) or ride a pterodactyls to go to some places. Also there are a certain kind of items that I can't remember what they were called that you find everywhere, and their purpose is a money like object. Most of the time you can trade these for even more power cells, or sometimes you need them to get further in the game.
One thing I really like in this game is that there really isn't any real overworld, instead I think it would be better to describe the villages in this game as safe zone where it's (almost) impossible to die. In these places you get to meet the villagers, and most of them wants you to do them a favor and they will reward you with a power cell, and I think you can find more power cells in these places than what you can in a stage, which means that it's just as important to explore these safe places as it's to search for all power cells in a stage.
Even if the game is called Jak & Daxter, you only get to play as Jak during the whole game. Since Daxter is a weasel, he sits on Jak's shoulder during the whole game and gives Jak moral support. The only times you will notice that Daxter is even there is either when you talk to someone, since Jak is mute so Daxter does all the talking, or when Jak runs out of health Daxter gives poor Jak a snappy comment like complaining how he smells and stuff like that. Yes Daxter is totally useless in this game, but at the same time is hard to not like the little weasel.
I really can't say that the game got any real big flaws, but to call it a challenging game is a big fat lie. When you die you start from almost the same place, and you got unlimited 1 ups so it's not like you have to be careful to screw up. I think I had finished the final boss 24 hours after I had beat the game, and the gameplay clock was only about 7 hours. To me this doesn't have to be a bad thing, especially not now when the game is really cheap, but the main reason why this game didn't get a perfect ten from me is because I beat it really fast and I'm not an expert in these kind of games. But I wish there was more to do when you had killed the final boss than just collecting all the power cells you have missed in order to get the really good ending.
I don't think anyone got surprised about Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, since when it comes down to it the game is very similar to Super Mario 64 and all the other games that copied it's collect objects formula. But at the same time I don't see how anyone can not enjoy this game, because it's just as good as Nintendo's flagship title for the N64. A lot of people says that Jak along with Ratchet and Sly Cooper did everything better than the classic platform heroes during the 128bit era, and Jak & Daxter really showed that platformers really aren't dead just yet...
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Jak and Daxter: the Precursor Legacy (EU, 12/07/01)
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