Review by BladeBlur

"Do you think you know Jak?"

As much as Naughty Dog has been progressing over the years, their game are getting better and better. Since the wonderful Crash Team Racing they've ditched the Crash theme and moved to a whole new project: Jak and Daxter. While not as fun as Crash it's still a great game, but still, Naughty Dog has serious problems with replay value of their platformers.

Jak and Daxter were going off to island without permission from their elders, and the results are that when they're not looking, Jak accidently push Daxter to a pool of Dark Eco, which turns him into a ferret. Now Jak the mute hero, Daxter the noisy ferret and their friends Samos and Kaira begin an adventure to save their world and help Daxter return to his old self.

For those who didn't play the gameplay is some sort of a combination between Super Mario 64 interface and level, while having a gameplay that it's quite similar to Naughty Dog's other hit, Crash. You can double jump, spin, punch and move amazing compared to the standard Crash moves. You'll need every of Jak's techniques to progress in the game, and Daxter? Well he kinda helps Jak in his spin but that much about it.

Now why it's like Super Mario 64? Well the levels or shall I say LEVEL is quite large and ig and you need to do several missions to aquirre the Precurser Orbs, which are like stars. Most of the time you can earn them by collecting orbs and than use them to buy the Precurser ones. Other than that there are missions like destroy any robot on the aera or simply find them in some tricky place. It's cool but it's kind off repetitive some times.

Other for looking for some orbs, Jak can use power of other ecoes. Except for the Dark Eco who turned Daxter to a wise cracker weasel, there are more types: The first is the green ego, life eco which you use to get about 40 of them to reobtain a health point. It's very easy to get hit, but it's harder to recover.

The next ecoes are different since you can't find them normally and you can activate them when you reach certain colored surface. The yellow eco can make Jak shoot yellow fire balls which is a nice addition to hit an enemy from afar. The red eco turns Jak into fire and it makes his attacks much stronger due to thae fire power. The last but most useful, is the blue eco. Jak wil absorb electric power not only to attack enemies but also to activate platforms, but like the previous two powers, this one is also temporary so it's better to run fast to the platfrom.

As much of the fun for collecting the Precurser Orbs (if you can call it fun) the better thing is the boss battle. There are massive bosses which will take many tries to defeat. The real problem is that if you play by the story, there are only two. It is disappointing but they're very fun.

Now let's talk about the graphics which there so many to be said. First there are very nicely done backgrounds and surfaces. From the vivid jungles to the sunny beaches the game really shines. Also you can see in the place objects from a far and they won't go off your sight unless you move to another level. Next is the framerate, stable and it hardly goes down, if ever, and that's is an amazing achievement for this game. The character models not only look superb but also the animations of the so many characters look increadibly well and there's nothing wrong about it. It seems that Naughty Dog still know how to make a game that'll look cartoony perfect like Crash, but it passes it on so many aspects, even if I'm talking about a generation ahead.

The best thing about Jak and Daxter that makes it better than any platformer or even other games that instead of a short loading time at the beginning, THERE'S NO LOADING TIMES. Between the levels you can go freely and smoothly that the only thing that changes is the background music and you won't have to wait until the next section is loaded like in GTA:VC. A good example for the loading is when you jump from a place of a certain high level, instead of dying you can find yourself in the level from under it. I can't say I'm not impressed, graphicly it's one of the best looking PS2 games.

The opposite is the sound, while the music was soothing when I played it, it's simply either not my style or either done very bad. I can say there's no music since there only repetitive tunes and the only reason I won't mute it it's for the top notch voice acting which made by many talented actors and without that the game wouldn't be alive as it is today. Jak is mute unfortunately and it's enough for me that Mario and Crash can't talk, we need a third character? At least Daxter not only talks, he speeches a lot and he throws jokes and gags every single cutscene he can and it's just plain and funny. So what can I say overall? I guess just for the voice acting, the category is somehow survived though it's not an avarage soundtrack for me.

Another big flaw of Jak and Daxter is that the game can be completed very fast. In a day it's possible to finish the normal story mode, which there are only 3 hub worlds (or shall I say, A hub world?) and the more you progress the less levels there are and it's disappointing. After that in a single say top you can get ALL the precurser orbs. So in hours it can take top about 9 hours to finish the regular story and 15 hours top to finish the whole game, which is like finishing Metal Gear Solid without skipping the cutscenes. As much as I love the look of the game it's too bad that it's too short.

Overall since it's on a greatest hits it's not a problem to buy, but it doesn't worth it. However renting this game will be a great idea and a great PS2 showcase. Fans of platform games will adore it and say it's the best PS2 platformer, I won't say since there are much better, but it's not bad at all and everyone should at least play once to judge themselves. In my opinion get the second game, it's much better in any way, but for the story, you need to play it.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 11/04/03

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