Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier - PSP - Preview
Without the aid of his more serious and tougher partner, Jak’s furry sidekick made quite a splash on the PSP with Daxter … a fun platform adventure that felt right at home on Sony’s handheld. So it was only natural that the Jak and Daxter series made its return on the PSP and having gotten my hands on the first nine levels of their latest adventure, Jak and Daxter: Lost Frontier, it’s safe to say that this one has all the makings of yet another amazing platform/action game for the PSP.
Tales from the Lost Frontier.
The good news is that Lost Frontier has the feel and look of the early PlayStation 2 Jak and Daxter games … it even has a solid storyline with returning characters like Keira. In this game, Jak, Daxter and Keira are on a mission to find Green Eco to save their homeland in dire need of Eco. As they fly to a distant land known as the Brink, their plane (the Hellcat) is attacked by Eco Pirates. Jak manages to fight off the leader but during the skirmish the Hellcat is damaged and they are forced to make an emergency landing on an unknown island.
It is here that we get a little taste of the platforming action we can expect from the game and despite the fact that Jak starts off with melee combat skills and just a few combos attacks it is clear that you will be able to upgrade Jak’s weapons later in the game. The platform jumping is handled beautifully and it’s good to see that you can manually rotate the camera so you can get a better view of where you’re going to jump. I did manage to die because the camera occasionally made it difficult to judge how far a platform was but these moments were sparse.
The Hellcat Chronicles.
It doesn’t take you too long before we get introduced to yet another element in the game and that’s aerial combat. After having fixed the Hellcat, the trio finds a massive ship under pirate attack and a dogfight breaks out. The aerial combat is handled smoothly and you are given the chance to break, hit the booster to fly faster and you can even make defensive rolls and loops. The targeting is also handled well and thus making air combat one of the best parts of the game so far.
Impressively enough, there’s a lot to explore in this game such as Aeropa City where you are able to purchase upgrades for your weapon, the Hellcat and even buy various Eco Skills to make Jak even more powerful. One upgrade, Infuse Enemy, allows you to infuse an enemy with Red Eco to make them explode. It is in the city that you go through training when you find a gun attachment for your weapon. As always, Keira can upgrade your weapon as well.
Hulking out the Daxter way
During your stay in Aeropa City, Daxter falls into the sewer and is suddenly drenched in a glowing green ooze and thus transforming the skinny fur ball into a hulking beast. Dark Daxter is able to shoot an Eco Bolt that’s highly effective and he has incredible strength but the real power comes in Dark Daxter’s ability to smash his way through certain objects in a furious tornado form that’s reminiscent of the Taz from the Loony Tunes cartoons. Unfortunately, the charm and witty one-liners that came with the little guy are gone in the Dark Daxter form. Hopefully the finished product will allow players the freedom to switch to Dark Daxter only when it’s required.
The preview also gave us a chance to experience a boss fight on Castaway Island, another location in the game. Like past Jak and Daxter games, the boss battles require good timing and knowing just how to hurt your enemy. We are also introduced to various mini-games such as locating scattered Eggs in Aeropa City. There are also several scripted moments in the game that play like mini-games such as the time you chase a villain through the twists and turns through a massive asteroid in an on-rails chase.
Visually, the game looks like it comes straight out of the PlayStation 2 and that are a very good thing, indeed. The character models during cut scenes and during the action look particularly impressive and the diversity when it comes to the enemies is good. Even the sound is handled well with Daxter cracking wise as usual.
So far, all these elements whether you’re flying into battle or solving platform gaming puzzles in exotic lands in the Brink already make for what will certainly be a very action-oriented and deeply involving game. There is still so much to see in the game and so many other questions (one of them being what other Eco Powers Jak will get in this game) but Jak and Daxter: Lost Frontier is definitely looking like the kind of PSP game fans of the series will love.
Jak and Daxter: Lost Frontier will be available on November 3, 2009.