reviews\ Feb 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Jak and Daxter Collection review


I hold a very special place in my heart for the Jak and Daxter series. Games nowadays just don't have that charm that those games did. The wit and humor combined with the top notch platforming made it a joy to play and experience. It was also at a time when Naughty Dog was known for colorful platformers such as Crash Bandicoot and the Jak series. Now Jak and Daxter are making the leap to PS3's 720 resolution, but are they worth re-experiencing all over again?

In one word: Absolutely!

Jak and Daxter stars the titular character Jak and his trusty sidekick Daxter in their numerous adventures through various worlds. Pure platforming bliss was to be had in each game, but the games always strived to provide new and fresh gameplay tweaks with each new sequel.

If you already know everything there is to know about the Jak and Daxter series, Click Here to skip the three game synopsis.

Jak and Daxter and the Precursor Legacy

The first of the trilogy introduced the duo as two young, adventure-seeking miscreants who end up on a forbidden island, only to get themselves mixed up with some Dark Eco, transforming the loud-mouthed Daxter into a small Ottsel.

Jak and Daxter

The rest of the game has you trying to revert Daxter back to his original form, only to find out a more dastardly and world-ending calamity is afoot. Jak and Daxter combined funny banter and great gameplay into an unforgettable experience.

The PS3 remastering of this game looks good, but you can still tell it's an early PS2 game. Hands are a bit blocky, textures are more blurry, and characters don't have that extra detail that they have in the subsequent games. With that said, the first J&D game was such a great platformer that even if the graphics weren't remastered, I'd urge everyone who enjoys platformers to go out and buy it.

Jak II

The second game in the series was quite a huge departure from the first game. After traveling through time and space, Jak finds himself in Haven City where he's not very welcome. He's captured, tortured and tested on for two years, until his trusty Ottsel sidekick comes and rescues him. A pissed off Jak, who finally found his voice through the brilliant Mike Erwin, is able to turn into a terrifying beast with the help of Dark Eco, and he vows revenge on the Baron who captured him.

Jak II

Haven City now acted as the game's main hub world, complete with hover cars that could be jacked, as well as various mission givers, giving the game an open-world, GTA style to it. The morph gun was also introduced, which added a third-person shooter element to the game, most likely wanting to capitalize on the successes of the Ratchet and Clank series.

The game looks a lot better than its predecessor, with textures being way more sharp in the 720p resolution, and still controls like a charm.

Jak 3

The conclusion to the Jak trilogy found Jak, Daxter, and their new sidekick Pecker banished from Haven City and thrown into the harsh heat of the desert. Almost at the brink of death, they are saved by Damas, the leader of a city that lies beyond the walls of Haven City.

Jak 3 wasn't afraid to introduce even more gameplay elements. Supplemental to the hard-to-steer hover cars from Haven City, various off-road vehicles could traverse the desert, as well as mountable lizards which made traversing the city of Spargus much faster.

Jak 3

The conclusion to the series answered many questions that fans wanted to know since the very first game, such as who the precursors were, and trust me, it's a revelation that's both funny and refreshing.

The third game was undoubtedly the best looking of the three, with even cleaner animations, and even crisper textures.

The whole package:

The collection includes over a 100 trophies that are collectible across all three games, which gives even more incentive to get all the collectibles and upgrades. If your TV supports it, you can even play this great collection in stereoscopic 3D.

The best part of playing this collection in succession from game to game is that you really get a sense of just how different each game is from one another and how they advanced. This is something you probably wouldn't notice immediately had you played them when each game released, but having the ability to jump in and experience each game right after another highlights just how much work Naughty Dog has put in to make each game feel fresh and new.

It is important to remember that the collection is a remastering, and not a complete remake. The graphics remain the same as they always have on the PS2, except now they look a lot crisper and cleaner at the 720p resolution. Anyone familiar with any of the previous Sony HD releases such as Ico & Shadow of the Colossus, Sly Cooper Trilogy, or the Prince of Persia Trilogy will know what the package is offering.

I am slightly disappointed that the package didn't include the follow up game, Jak X: Combat Racing, which continued the story taking place one year after the events of Jak 3. Though it wasn't a platformer, it was absolutely enjoyable. It wasn't a huge hit with critics, but it did follow up the story after the third game concluded. I feel that with the inclusion of Lost Frontier, it would have made it the absolute complete package, at least as far as the Jak platformers go.

If you have your heart set on just a single game from the trilogy, they are available for purchase on the PlayStation Store for $14.99 each. Though that's a pretty good price for those classic games, the entire collection is still cheaper, and you get the whole experience that ties in together from game to game.

If you're a younger gamer who unfortunately never got to experience the greatness that is the Jak and Daxter series, this is a great way to play one of the PS2's best platformers. On the other hand, gamers who have already played through the entirety of all three games won't find anything new here besides trophy support and crisper graphics, but being that the series is so absolutely fantastic, you owe it to yourself to take that trip down memory lane and replay these great games from start to finish once again.


About The Author
Mike Splechta GameZone's review copy hoarding D-bag extraordinaire! Follow me @MichaelSplechta
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