Review by FozzyFan116

Reviewed: 10/18/03

After well over a year of anticipation, Jak 2 arrives on shelves a winner

Well were to begin? I've wanted this game since the minute I picked up the first. After so long, it was clear that Jak 2 was personal my most anticipated game ever, and thankfully surpasses Jak & Daxter in every way, even considering content wise it's not quite what I'd expected among playing, completing and adoring the original.

Presentation---10/10---Slicker than a con artist, Jak 2's presentation is simple and superb. In a fashion similar to the Spyro series made by Naughty Dog's exceedingly talented sister company ''Insomniac Games'', upon booting the game up you are presented with a view of a select portion of the city via a camera that swoops from roof top to room top while crediting the creators and developers/Naughty Dog. The camera moves further along the room tops displaying a large Jak 2 sign in the classic lettering style used in the original with Daxter leaping on top in his overly hyper persona. You are then prompt to begin the game. The sequence can be skipped, but it is beautiful, and is a nice presentation to the game as well as a testament to how polished and pristine this game is aesthetically. The menu systems are typical, nicely put together, nothing new. Simple and easy to understand. It should be said that this game is MUCH darker than the original. Suggestive themes, Mild language and violence earn this game the ''T'' rating.

Gameplay---9/10---Well let's begin with the obvious. This game is like a platform version of Grand Theft Auto. It shares much in common with the series and if you don't care for GTA3 or VC than you'd be better off spending the cash on a years supply of toilet paper. With that out of the way, anyone who has seen the light and understands what great games GTA3 and VC are shouldn't have a problem. The difficulty is one of the many things Jak 2 does not share in common with most other platformers. Heck, whether or not this game is even a platformer is questionable. This is undoubtedly an evolution for the genre, a step away from the cookie cutter platformer and a bold step in the right direction. Even after the wonderful Ratchet & Clank, this game bears new meaning to the term ''Action Platformer''. What's important is that this game is incredibly fun. Once you finish the first mission and escape from the Prison, the sheer level of artistry and liveliness in the environment will incline you to explore deeper into the vast surroundings of both the city and the outer regions. If you've ever played GTA than you should know what to expect from the missions. Lot's of timed runs, your typical fetch quests. The thing about these missions is that they are all for the most part well assorted and fun to play. Yes this game can be frustrating, the difficulty level is up there. But rarely does the game ever corner you with an impossible task. Much like GTA, there are usually other missions to take up, so you can always try those and return to the one that's giving you trouble, with both your game face and heightened skills. So when I say this game is like GTA, it is like GTA. Just like GTA, you are assigned missions from several task givers at key locations in the city, highlighted by symbols on the GTAish radar/map system. Kill someone, and the Crimson Guards are hot on your heels. Ram into a Guard Vehicle and pay the consequences. Jack any vehicle at any time, and whether the subject vehicle is occupied matters not. None of that is to the games expense, as even after playing through both GTA3 and Vice city, the game still feels fresh. The weapons which consist of 4 kinds of upgrade-able guns are spot on and well sorted. The controls require no more than 2 minutes to get the hang of, and all Jak's moves from the original are present here. Jak can wield weapons and melee attack opponents without removing weaponry. Everything is balanced out so that you never have to think about the controls, it all comes together quite nicely. The game gets difficult fast, so be prepared. The regions outside city walls are much like the original and lend a MAJOR helping hand in keeping this game a platformer. Above all, this game is fun, and that's what we play games for. On the negative side of things, I would have liked a quicker means of transportation around the overly crowded city, but such a thing might have made some of the timed missions to easy. Either way the games design is at fault, but I guess that's the miniscule price to pay for the open ended design the gaming public demands. A quick map function would have also been convenient, rather than having to pause and select the city map every time you need directions. All in all, this game is superbly fun and well designed....Kudos to Naughty Dog for another splendid effort and execution.

Graphics---10/10---Aesthetically this game is nothing short of amazing. Words can't do this work of art justice, so I'm simply going to do my best. For starters, Haven City is HUGE, immensely detailed and artistically sound with charm that rivals pixar quality. Real-Time night to Day transitions, almost perfect Anti-Aliasing, incredibly smooth animation that captures every last emotion. A lighting system that few compare to. When the sun falls behind clouds, it casts a moment of darkness over the city, little details that do well to describe how far these people will go to earn their pay checks. Some frame rate problems and minor LOD issues can be forgiven. The processing power being used is overwhelming. The city is brought to life by high CPU speeds that provide tons of detailed interactive vehicles and well animated models. Every time you turn a corner you are blasted with bright and vibrant colors, moving objects, detailed and well constructed vistas and just downright gorgeous scenery exploding with particle effects and life. It makes me wonder how the heck the programmers accomplished such feats with the PS2 hardware. If you're TV supports Progressive Scan mode than you'll be glad to know that this game does indeed support the function. The best way/the only way to understand how good looking this game is is to see it for yourself. The game is visually stunning, and get's a well earned ten in my book for all the very talented artists and programmers managed to accomplish.

Sound---8/10---A cross between GTA and the original Jak & Daxter best describes the sounds here. Slow redundant beats in which do nothing more than make noise. Honestly, it may not be a very popular opinion, but I liked the tunes in the original game. They seemed to set the mood well for each location and really weren't loud enough to become a bother if they weren't your cup of tea. The tunes that play in this game are much the same in the sense that they are not THAT apparent at first. But it didn't take long for the games musical score to start driving me insane. Really, I only have a serious issue with the tune in the main city. All the others remain tolerable at best. I'm not asking for ''top notch make a CD and sell millions'' material, just something a little less droning and a bit more memorable. On the ambient side of things, the game sounds very nice. Guards spout repetitive but effective dialog when you draw near, the impact of Jak's moves all sound very solid so that you actually feel like your making contact. Weapons sounds as they should and everything else pretty much sets the tone well. Aurally this game is very solid, and it supports Dolby Surround Pro Logic II as a nice bonus.

This game is a must buy. If you are afraid of tough games than rent it. If you like a challenge than put your game face on and rip Jak 2 off the shelf at first sight. If you are interested in action/platforming games or even games in general than you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy right away. This is easily GOTY material in my book, and if you're some poor soul washing dishes once every Saturday night for a living, than you'll be happy to know this game is $39.99 instead of $49.00. I hope you've found this review useful...Thanks for reading...

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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