Review by MattRyanPerez

"Grand Theft Auto: Haven City"

What do you get when you combine the platforming action of Jak & Daxter, the free form gameplay of Grand Theft Auto 3, the hoverboard that is like a skateboard of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, the heart pounding racing of... F-Zero?! Add that with mech action of Mech Assault and finish it off with guns, swearing, and a totally mental Jak and what do you get!? You'd get a huge mess, dude!! Actually you would get Jak II...maybe. Jak II is the sequel to Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy and Naughty Dog thought ''Let's give Jak a goatee and dark powers and let's make it Teen, oooooh!!!''. Oh yeah, and they took Daxter out of the title!! Why?

I bet when I said the game was like Grand Theft Auto 3, you were probably like ''No way''! Yes way!! Let's see, you can steal cars (or something like them), you can shoot pedestrians, you get chased around by cops, the map is very similar to the GTA's, and you do missions in any order you want. It might not sound like GTA but when you try the game, you'll immediately see the similarity. Now let's talk about the guns. They help a lot and they're fun to use. To bad there's only four guns!! The original Ratchet & Clank had more guns. But that's not such a big complaint since you only need four. And two of them you will barely use. Without the guns, I would still be playing this game. That brings up a problem in the game. The worst one actually!

The game is to darn hard! You'll retry missions over and over and over again until you finally do it and then you have to do an even harder one! And the races. Holy crap! They are hard until you really get used to it. You gotta have a line through the whole race. You'll be going, ''Okay, jump over the guy, turbo into first, jump the 100 foot pit, BRAKE!!''. Yep, it's a toughy! For example, there's a mission where you have to destroy something but the cops are after you the whole time so you don't have a break! They start shooting you and your trying to shoot something else while on a moving car with a sucky gun. Come on, give me a break and shoot me when I'm done the mission!

Even if some of the missions are hard, most of them are fun. There's one real fun one. You have to chase these metal head creatures in the Haven Forest on your hoverboard and it's fun. How is something so simple, so fun? There's also a pretty tough mission that's real fun and when I finish it, I want to play it again! You have to hunt invisible metal heads in the woods. Sounds tough? It is but it's fun shooting them up behind a tree that your using for cover. So, some of the missions are fun enough to drain out your frustration and that's good because if it didn't have fun enough missions, the whole game would blow. It would also make you swear like a sailor.

Another problem in the game is that the city is so big and confusing. You'll get lost in the city and you'll have to use your small map to get around. And don't think the large map that you can access in your Pause menu will help you. It's just squares saying Slums and Docks. No detail! It is fun traveling around the city but when I'm lost, I get a little pissed! I did a mission about ten times because I had no idea where to go! Ten times!! Well, you soon get to know some paths through the city but not the whole city. I've beaten the whole game and I still don't know where certain places are.

If you read the top of my review, you would know that there is a lot of variety in the game. You can hoverboard, fight in a mech, shoot with guns, and it's a platformer. The mech suit is pretty cool. You use it about two times though. It's pretty fun to use, too so it's kind of a downer that you use it about two times!! The hoverboard is fun to use around the city. There's a lot of stuff to grind. But watch out for guards. You hit them they go and kill you! And you can only use the hoverboard skate park at a certain time. Once you start racing, you can't use it again. One of the best aspects of this game is the platforming. It was first a platformer anyway so you know it's gonna be good.

The platforming is as fun as the last game. It's great fun. And if you remember the old game's Precursor Orbs, they return, but with a twist! There are two hundred of them. That means, in the whole game, there are two hundred orbs. There were two hundred orbs in like one level in Jak & Daxter. Wow! You can use those orbs to unlock things like taking off Jak's goatee and getting game sketches. There's a lot of stuff to unlock but it's hard 'cause this stuff is hidden good!! Good luck trying to find this Precursor crap.

I've been talking about the gameplay and I forgot about the story! The game happens after the first Jak & Daxter. You have the portal you got in Jak & Daxter (If you 100% it) and your preparing to go through it. Well, you start it up, some creature comes out of the machine and you get launched in. The machine you enter the portal on get's destroyed and Jak, Daxter, Samos, and Kiera go flying inside the portal. Jak and Daxter land at the same place. For some reason, the cops are after Jak. Daxter runs and the cops take you in.

Two Years later...

Jak is being injected with dark eco, some of the foulest crap on the planet! It's what made Daxter a furry orange thing. The Barron is doing all of this stuff to Jak and when Jak was alone, Daxter came to get Jak out. Daxter attempts to get the contraption Jak was in off, but Jak has a better method. He breaks off and looks like a freak. Daxter begs and jak goes back to normal. Then Daxter says a real funny line that I don't want to spoil. They escape and Jak wants pure revenge! A lot of stuff happens and there are tons of twists. After the end of the game, you'll understand everything. It's like the Matrix!

There are three gameplay features that I didn't mention yet and they're real cool. The first one is a big one. You can finally play as Daxter in a Crash Bandicoot like level! Pretty fun. Another one concerns the dark eco that was injected into Jak. You can turn into Dark Jak! You have dark powers. You're a psycho, it's awesome!! To turn into Dark Jak you have to collect dark eco and you can only be Dark Jak for a limited time. You can also get new moves by collecting Metal Head Skull Gems and giving them to the Oracle. I didn't use the dark feature a lot, just when I was surrounded by people. So it's a cool power that I barely used. The last one is, Jak talks. I had to mention it somewhere!

The graphics in the game are nice. They're better than the originals. They're colorful and detailed. The city is great looking and all the characters look how they're supposed to. There's just some bad spots but that's it. The sound is good too. Some nice music and sound effects makes this a stronger game.

Since there are two hundred Orbs, side quests and fun missions, you can replay this baby over and over again. It's a great game with some flaws that are made up by great gameplay. It's one of the best platformers of the year. Not as good as Ratchet and Clank Going Commando but it's good!

So, it comes down to this. To rent, or to buy? If you can stand it's difficulty it's a must buy but if you can't stand how hard it is, rent it first.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/02/04

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