Review by Rooster349
Jak II is an awesome game by any standards. It draws influence from the best of every genre defining game today and combines them into a seamless gameplay experience. It's one part Grand Theft Auto, it's one part Ratchet and Clank, it's one part shooter, and it's all parts awesome, delivering on all levels of play.
In Devil May Cry, you could shoot your enemy, hit him once with your sword, float in the air and shoot him, then come crashing down with your massive sword attack. In Jak II, you can jump and land in a car's seat, fire a cannon at a police officer, driving your car into a wall and instantaneously switching your vehicle in air, all while firing your shotgun, or switching weapons, then crashing/jumping out of that car, and then, in air, pull out your hoverboard and perform mad tricks...the possibilities for pulling insane gameplay combos in Jak II is amazingly high. Even if you were untouchable in Jak and Daxter, you'll still have difficulties with the sequel. The sequel requires that you learn the most effective ways of movement and offense with your arsenal.
Because the game borrows from so many games, and because the controls are spot on, these combos are possible. The gameplay design is much like Grand Theft Auto, in which you spend most of the time in a big city taking missions and driving cars. The idea of guns in a platformer may have come from Ratchet and Clank, but Jak II uses a more-straightforward arsenal of rifles, machine guns, shotguns, and a powerweapon called the Peacemaker. These weapons are not just a decoration, they definitely affect gameplay and make the game more challenging.
Rather than focus on the original world, the story takes Jak and crew to a futuristic, authoritarian city with evil ruler Baron Praxis. This makes it seem like a huge departure from the first game, but the plot cleverly connects itself with the past world and the ancient Precursor civilization as well. Even the humor is much the same; Daxter is a little bit more obscene this time around, but his actions are rarely offensive or out of place. The story of a war between the Metalheads and the Baron Praxis is surprisingly intriguing. That being said, there are a couple parts that don't make sense and some themes that are underdeveloped. Well...it is a video game, a solid story isn't completely necessary, but for the most part, Naughty Dog does a good job.
Beautiful! Darker in tone and color from the original game, this change may turn some off. But Jak II still has some beautiful environments, like a natural forest, much like the first game. Mostly though, the graphics are darker and grittier. Something that bugged the hell out of me for about a day was the fact that Jak does not take up as much as the screen as he did. This was hard for me to et used to, but in time, no problems.
Sound: Nothing memorable, but not as cheesy or annoying as the last game's music.
It's easy to rate a game like Jak II too easily, as a person is bound to be frustrated by the up in difficulty, especially from the first. In fact, Jak II is a completely different game from Jak and Daxter. Jak and Daxter was inoffensive on all levels, from gameplay to content. It made no challenges or innovation to gamers, but it still was enjoyable because of massive environments and lots of challenging objectives. Jak II is not a new idea either. However, if you want a fresh twist on the action/adventure/platformer genres, you should definitely check out this game.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 10/27/03
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