Review by Krakenfang

Reviewed: 10/15/03

NOW you know Jak!

We've waited, and waited, but now, it's finally here. After defeating the evil that plagued the world in Naughty Dog's ''Jak and Daxter'', Jak, Daxter, and his pals assembled some kind of strange Precurser machine. As the four prepare for what awaits. A strange creature seems to attack the four as they prepare for blast off from the portal on the machine. In the heat of the moment, Jak, blasts off, and into the portal they go. Their ship is destoryed, seperating the four, except that Jak and Daxter who are still together after they land. Just seconds after the rough landing, Jak is knocked unconsious, and dragged off by guards. Dax promises he'll rescue Jak. And he does. It only takes two years. During that time, Baron Patrix, was experimenting on Jak using heavy doses of Dark Eco. Baron's wishes were to create a mutant weapon using Dark Eco on a subject to fight off ''Metal Heads''. After noticing his failure, he is still puzzled why Jak is STILL alive! After Jak is left alone, Dax takes his chance and moves in for the rescue. Jak's first words? ''I'm gonna kill Patrix!'' And he means EVERY word of it. Jak and Dax soon discover Jak's new morphing ability he retained from the side effects of the Dark Eco. Jak goes pale, grows horns, and stretches his new, shiny pair of claws and prepares to rip his enemies to shreds. In ''Dark jak'' form, Jak is invonurable to damage, and dishes out SERIOUS hurt! It only lasts for so long of course. Jak can transform into Dark Jak at any time when he has obtained enough Dark Eco.

It's SOOOO smooth!

That's right, Jak's new territory, Haven City- and it's life- all come together for one slick scenery. Unlike the first, ''Jak II'', now has a much grittier, serious tone, while the first was home to a much more care free and sunnyshine atmosphere. Haven City is down right depressing. Mainly because of it's iron-fisted rule. The Baron kills innocents, and doesn't care. While the leader of Haven City, Baorn also battles Eco craving maniacs known as ''Metal Heads''. The game's buildings and structures are very unique, cartoonish, and bueatiful. All the way from temples, to ruins, to countless city blocks, all the way to water effects and indoors, NOTHING in Jak II is left unattended. Ultra detailed envirments, super slick character design and model and texture. The best feature about Jak II's graphics is undoubtably the character's infinite amount of facail movements. Smiles, frowns, looks of confusion, it's all there. The possabilities are ENDLESS due to the flexability of the characters faces.

Open Fire...

Jak II's most notable new gameplay fix is it's use of firearms. From a shotgun like scatter-gun, to an upgradable vulcan chain gun, every gun will be HIGHLY useful! The enemies also are packin heat, which at least gives you a fighting chance with Jak's new arsenal. But don't worry! He's still got plenty of punches and kicks to go around! A side from Jak's new guns, and his Darker, psycotic form, we got the ''Grand Theft Auto'' size city, with the ability to even ''Jak'' vehicles! Unfortunatley, the vehicles control a bit sluggish and drafty. Next is the insane difficulty. Naughty Dog answered our prayers when we said Jak and Daxter was too easy. Well, we got Hell for it. The game is INSANELY hard! Some will dig it, some will be crushed by it. But for a title as enticing as this, multiple difficulties would be a definate plus for those who simply cannot take the extreme default setting (me, for example). It's easy to get frustrated when redoing a mission over, and over, and over... and over. But the new gameplay mechanics like the hoverboard, dozen or so vehicles, gunplay, and Dark Jak add plenty of depth for a platformer. Espacially one for a sequal as simple as Jak and Daxter. And for those who get sick of the repettive collect-a-thons that plague most platformers. Jak II is Grand Theft Auto-like mission based, where you flow from one end of the city to the other for missions from various characters.

*Gasp!!!* What did you say!?

That's right, Jak now talks. Many games have silent protagnist, which is one of the things I tend to hate about games. But this is a real treat. Nearly EVERY line in the game is reaking with proffesionalism. About every character a has a very fitting, suiting role for their voice, and vice versa. Unfortunately, not much can be said about the music. The tracks are very similar to ''Ratchet and Clank'' at times, and others, it's on it's own. But very standard. The sound effects are nothing too special either. Gunshots, frying sounds, engines roarding, all very typical. It's just the acting that's the real kicker. Jak is acted simply magnificantly.But the kiddos who enjoyed the original may wanna stear clear though. the game is full of rough elements. Swearing, use of alcohal, thematic scenes and such. While it isn't offending, it IS not so childish. Now Jak is just a mutant, innocent killing bastard!

The Court finds the defendent...

Guilty! For the act of jaw dropping, and amazing eye candy from start to finish. The act of some of the best acting in a game, minus a few sloppy lines. A very challenging plot driven game with a huge mission variety. The act of setting platformers to a whole new level. And he of being so damn fun!

Aside it's short quest, crazy difficulty, and sloppy vehicle handling, Jak II is now my favorite platformer.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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