Review by rond556

Reviewed: 12/23/03

Ladies and Gentlemen....behold the after effect of Grand Theft Auto

Why must the world come to this? I knew from the moment that Grand Theft Auto received its hype about being so revolutionary that it was the end of decent gaming as well know it. Jak and Daxter was a semi-fun platformer that lacked a variety in gameplay, but it was at least a decent game. Naughty Dog, seeing that this could be improved, sold themselves out to the rising popularity of the notion that killing innocent people and causing pointless havoc in cities. However.....Jak II takes two steps lower than Grand Theft Auto due to the fact that it makes it UTTERLY BORING. This game is the perfect example of taking a good idea and making it terrible.

There are two saving factors in this game however. First of all is its storyline which is undeniably good. But not just the story, the AWESOME voice overs and its lovable characters are still top notch. Jak can talk now, but he is somewhat more boring than the supporting cast. Daxter is still the swift talking funny guy that he always was except now he hits on more chicks and gets drunk a lot. The rest of the returning cast is cool and the new characters are awesome as well.

The story takes a more ''mature'' spin on things. It masters the notion of underground rebellion and making your way to bring down corrupt governments. It really is impressive and its a shame that this factor must be wasted on such horrible gameplay.

The second saving grace in this game is its graphics. The character models support twice as many polygons as its prequal and the environments are nothing short of amazing. I'm telling you that if you took out any gameplay what so ever, this could have easily been an AWESOME CGI movie or something. Graphics, storyline, and good characters are all that is required to make a good movie. (a good musical score is needed as well, but Jak II lacks this) GAMEPLAY is needed for games and it cannot survive off of these elements alone.

Ok, now onto the the gameplay. This despicable decision to change what was already somewhat decent to its current form is downright shameful. Selling out to the popularity of the masses, while profitable, can really be a letdown. First of all, if you're going to do something, you have to do it right. Grand Theft Auto strived on the fact that you can interact with the entire city around you. Jak II fails in this aspect as the city is downright BORING and there is nothing you can do except drive from place to place in it. There might be a police man you can start a brawl with, but that gets so old VERY fast as Grand Theft Auto has already proven to us. And of course there is the merciless slaughtering of many innocent citizens of the city which is always fun right? WRONG! Maybe its just me, but Jak is a HERO unlike the guy in Grand Theft Auto. It just doesn't seem right that a hero go on a killing spree, especially on the people that he is try to SAVE. And besides, that gets older QUICKER than fighting the guards. Well the cars must be fun to drive right? WRONG! The cars are utterly BORING, SLOW, and downright unforgivable. HEY! At least there is a hoverboard we can look forward to right? WRONG! The overboard is even worse than the cars and it is probably the worst designed use of a hoverboard I have ever seen. I feel like a stoned five year old thought it would be fun to make the player constantly jump and do 360's to get the slightest notion of speed. With the horrible city design, it feels like such a chore driving or walking or boarding from place to place.

Surely there must be some fun missions right? I won't deny this. When you FINALLY reach your destination, the game might get a bit fun. Some missions are enjoyable, but most aren't. For intanse, riding on a hoverboard to try and catch a bird is NOT fun in the least. Some missions are fun, but they can get really repetitive. For instance, some place keep requiring you to go to the same damn place to down almost the same damn thing. One good thing that can be said is that the mission has level designs that are MUCH better than the city, which comes to the fact that mission in the city are downright STUPID. All you do is protect people and that is it. And perhaps the most ANNOYING thing in this game is that you must CONSTANTLY retrace yourself through this horribly designed place. It takes forever to get from your clients to the objective, and then you must go back and oh yeah....HEAD RIGHT BACK TO THE SAME DAMN PLACE. Why didn't they tell you this earlier, I have no idea, but retracing your steps gets VERY annoying after a time. Other than the few missions that are fun, the missions are just basically....lets go kill some metalheads.

The basic gameplay remains the same, but with a few additions. There are two major additions. First addition is the use of guns with not one, but FOUR types of ammo....WOW! But then again, they fail to mention that only ONE is fun (the second upgrade....the blaster) to use and the rest are downright useless and lame. The second it that Jak can turn into this raging beast. This might have been cool if it was more than just constant button mashing and mindlessly destroying things using the exact same moves that Jak had before, just more powerful and flashy.....seriously, little to no work was put into redefining the gameplay in this notion. This game also lacks the ability to strife which is a MUST in games with guns now adays. It downright ticks me off that I was promised more versatile gameplay and was delivered.

Needless to say I do not like this game and even its entertaining characters and story could not keep me interested any longer with so many better games currently on the market. I highly recommend Ratchet and Clank Going Commando over this game. I also recommend the HIGHLY overlooked I-Ninja which is a much better platformer with more entertaining gameplay. And (as always) get you hands on Klonoa 2 before this title. This game would have made an awesome movie and not a game. While this is not the most disappointing game this year (Devil May Cry 2 takes that title) it definitly ranks up there.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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