Product Type: Sony PS3 games
Newest Review: ... easy to get to grips with and features some imaginative (occasionally frustrating) level design. The cutesy graphics and crazy antics of ... more
Three classic games for the price of one!
The Jak and Daxter Trilogy (PS3)
Member Name: carl_lazarevic
The Jak and Daxter Trilogy (PS3)
Advantages: Three games in one; fantastic overall story; very funny, and some amazing stages.
Disadvantages: The 2nd game wasn't all that great, vehicles handle like bricks, and camera is occasionally shoddy
As a consumer I find myself decidedly conflicted with the idea of these high def trilogy releases on Playstation. On the one hand I very cynically believe that they are an easy cash grab on the part of a developer who would rather touch up a few premade games, than put the work into creating something new. On the other hand the retro geek inside me loves reliving these often forgotten classics. In this collection you will find Naughty Dog's collection of PS2 classics Jak and Daxter; Jak 2: Renegade, and Jak 3 which are definitely worth playing if you have never experienced them.
The series starts out with Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. It's a simple story that harkens back to a simpler time. Jak is a young elf boy who has been raised by the village sage, but likes to get into trouble with his best pal Daxter. In one such instance Jak and Daxter are trespassing on a forbidden Island when they spy some sinister figures plotting nasty things for their village. Sadly, while trying to spy on these fellows Daxter is knocked into a pool of 'Dark Eco' (think a fantasy version of toxic waste) and mutated into a cute and cuddly meercat type creature. Only by traversing their world and researching the mysteries behind an ancient race called the precursors can they hope to transform Daxter back to his old self and stop the bad guys.
Actually for me this game was the reason to buy this collection. It made for a refreshing change of pace to be playing a Mario style Platformer from the days when Mario, Sonic, and Crash waged their endless war. Jak and Daxter kept things simple, but was actually way ahead of its time. Playing as Jak you had to traverse an open world hunting down precursor artefacts to power up your technology. Each area of the world would be split into the expected sections of Beach, Lava Cave, Icy Mountain, Scary Jungle, and foggy Island. You would run and jump through these areas and spin at; or jump on, the monsters that got in your way. Each level would give you a series of objectives that rewarded you with needed power cells, and each one would be littered with collectable orbs that you could exchange for more power cells. Collecting all 101 power cells was a very rewarding experience.
The thing that made Jak and Daxter stand out from the pack though was the epic way the game was developed. Loading screens were none existent as the entire world was preloaded from the get go. Theoretically you could have jumped into the ocean and swam all the way to the final boss encounter, if not for the fact that a big fish would always swallow you up. However being able to look out across this open world and see everything remains a pretty impressive technical achievement to this day. It's just a shame that the graphics themselves have not aged nearly as well. The draw distance may be phenomenal, but, as a PS2 game you cannot escape the blocky textures that have been used to create this world. Rendering them in high def just stands to make them look even blockier!
Thankfully the other aspects of the first game have held up really well. Control over Jak is very responsive, and makes navigating the world fun during the most frustrating of moments. It is true that Jak and Daxter is a difficult game, but it's never unfairly so thanks to the simple control scheme and well-designed levels.
Sadly things took a turn for the worse with the sequels. Jak and Daxter take a ride through a portal and into a dystopian futuristic city where Jak is captured and experimented on. Daxter does rescue him, but only after the experiments have left Jak hulking out whenever he gets angry. What follows is a darker series of games as Jak rises in the underworld ranks of this city in his quest for revenge.
Jak 2 and 3 change the focus of the game from platforming and collecting, to a GTA inspired mission structure that did not work nearly as well. The central hub of Haven city was infuriating to navigate due to the terrible controls of the vehicles you were stealing. Crashes happened far too frequently, and as a result the game took that step from hard to unfair. It was such a shame too as the game remained fun to play and had definite potential. Controlling Jak was still responsive during the platform sections, but those sections we're spoiled by the introduction of guns and a lack of any real collectables. You could still hunt down precursor orbs, but they were few and far between and no longer had any real relevance to the game itself.
Still the game had some really good ideas for set piece based levels; such as one really cool level where you had to hoverboard through an oil field to dispose of some bombs before they explode, that make up for the fact that both the platform levels and the hub world had become pretty poor.
The Mad Max inspired Jak 3 improved on that game no end, but only because it almost completely scrapped the idea of being a platform game in favour of those setpiece levels. The range of these levels was staggering, and took in everything from monster chases, to missile rides, and even a quick stop for a game of Pac Man. By the final entry the series was never boring; it just bears no similarity to its origins and does not feel as satisfying as the original game.
What the series does have in its favour though is the production values. Throughout all three games you will witness a genuinely funny story full of time travel twists and turns with a variety of endearing characters. The voice acting is absolutely phenomenal throughout, and I challenge anyone to hear any line from Daxter and not laugh. Even Jak; whose voice actor was trying really hard to be gruff and scary, came across as a good performance despite how cute the character model was. The whole series featured the same level of attention to detail and storytelling finesse that Naughty Dog would later bring to the Uncharted series.
However you cannot escape the fact that these games are still very old games. All three have substandard graphics and an awkward camera. More to the point, if you still have a PS2 lying around then you could probably find original copies of the games for a pound or two each, so this collection would be a little redundant. Yet the fact remains that they are still amazing games that are considered classics for a reason. Jak 2 was a little disappointing, but it bridges the incredible storyline nicely and remains a solid experience. The other two games are absolute classics and should be played by everyone for the humour alone. So if you don't have access to a PS2 and can find this collection for under £15 then you should definitely give it a play. Trust me, by the end of the final cut scene you will be glad you did; especially if you enjoy the humour of a well-made Disney film like The Lion King.
Summary: Three games in one. Sadly they are starting to show their age, and would be cheaper individually.