Published on March 7th, 2013 | by Duke0915
Review: Jak and Daxter Collection
Developer(s): Naughty Dog and Mass Media Inc.
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
System: PlayStation 3
Release Date(s): February 7, 2012 (North America), February 22, 2012 (Europe), March 8, 2012 (Australia)
The Jak and Daxter series hasn’t seen much action since 2009 aside from a few cameos. The last title in the series was Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier, and compared to the original trilogy, it was just an average experience. Like many other series that are exclusive to Sony, the Jak and Daxter trilogy received a game compilation for the PlayStation 3, with updated visuals and a trophy system.
For those of you that aren’t aware, the series started with Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, and follows the story of two best friends. While exploring an island belonging to a race of creatures known as the Lurkers, Daxter takes a dip into some Dark Eco after a brief fight between Jak and a guard. The accident results in him turning into an ottsel, and, feeling guilty for what happened to his friend, Jak helps him out by searching for someone to change him back.
The series takes a dramatic change after the first title. While retaining the same feel as the first game, Jak II introduces a darker tone that’s more suited for older players, and though it seems like the change comes out of nowhere, it fits with the overall plot of the series. Not to spoil anything, but the next two games do a fantastic job of not only developing characters, but also keeps the storyline interesting as well.
As far as the gameplay goes, it’s remained exactly the same from the original releases. This should come as no surprise since the games are pretty much direct ports from the PlayStation 2 with slightly updated visuals, though the first game didn’t exactly benefit from the HD treatment. It’s good that it’s kept the same because the controls are precise when moving Jak (and occasionally Daxter) through areas. You’ll be jumping to reach higher ledges, spinning on enemies (a reference to Crash Bandicoot, another series that once belonged to Naughty Dog), and driving vehicles. The vehicles, however, could have used an update.
The first game has only a handful of sections where you can take control of a vehicle or animal to ride on. Though the control isn’t perfect, it’s fine since the majority of the game has you traveling on foot. The second and third game expands on this, by making driving available at almost anytime. You can completely ignore riding hovercrafts in the hub world to reach a destination (aside from a few mandatory missions), however, the areas are huge and will take twice as long to go where you need to. It also doesn’t help that traffic, more specifically in Jak II, is extremely compact and busy. You need to be very careful not to hit certain characters while riding around, or else you’ll have to deal with the authorities chasing you down.
Another addition that becomes a staple of the series is weapons. From Jak II and onwards, you have a weapon that can shoot a variety of projectiles by changing shape. You can upgrade your weapon by completing missions from the many different characters you’ll meet along your adventure, and acquire new abilities for Jak himself after a certain point, giving you a variety of options for you to choose from when on the offensive. Many of the abilities form from the different types of Eco you can pick up, which is the energy source of the world. These powers not only aid you in combat, but can also help you solve puzzles and interact with the environment, adding some replay value to each game in order to find more things to do.
For those of you that missed out on the original trilogy on the PlayStation 2 and are curious about the series, Jak and Daxter Collection is definitely a great start. Though the HD update doesn’t really help all of the visuals, and there’s not much in terms of extra content for the compilation itself, you get three fantastic games with stories, characters, and gameplay that still hold up after so much time has passed. If you’re looking for something that will entertain and challenge you for quite some time, this collection will definitely not disappoint you.
+ Great gameplay across all the games
+ HD and trophy support
+ Fantastic story
– Not all of the visuals have aged well
– Vehicles are awkward to control at times
Final score: 4.5 out of 5