Our Evolution is Futile
Me and my sister recently went through all the Jak games again. Its one of my favorite video game frachises. Here is how I view them:
Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy – A great platforming game, although basic. It has a variety of challenges and levels and never gets boring. Great colorful graphics, too, especially considering it is an early PS2 game. Music is very atmospheric, probabl the best in the series. However, not a lot of story, and the game is easy to beat. No rewards for gettng everything, either. Compare to the old Spyro games, are about as good, but are longer,.harder, and reward you if you work hard. I wish more of the levels were like the first couple, too. B+ game, though.
Jak II – My favorite game in the franchise and one of my favorite games of all time. It combines platforming and a third-person shooter quite well. Although the colorful charm is gone, Jak 2 replaces that with a dark, yet good story, the best I’ve seen outside of an RPG, with lots of conflicts, interesting charcters, and plot twists. Gameplay is at the perfect difficulty, with enough tough missions to keep you on your toes. Also has good variety, so you aren’t just sjooting enemies throught the entire game. Not much to do after the game is over, though. Graphically worse than the first game, but it does have some cool areas, like Havenwood Forest and the area next to it (forgot what it was called). A, a definately fun game.
Jak 3 – Jak 3 gets a graphical improvement, 8 more guns (all interesting), a new form, and keeps the variety of gameplay, but its story and difficulty were messed up, IMHO. The villians in the story were bad: Count Veger seems like he should be a goodbye, but is just too much of an asshole and the other is one dimensional. The three main plot twists in this game consist of one that can be seen a mile away (but is kind of touching), one that is just confusing, and one that is just plain stupid (Did the Precursor Stone have a hologram in it? Why didn’t the Metalhead Leader notice this feature about one of the charcters?). Keira gets a new voice actor and model, but she is barely in the game, with the love interest being replaced with Ashlin for no good reason. The game is still difficult in its other segments, but the main segments are actually easy, due to the strength of the 2nd yellow eco weapon (plus Light Jak’s full heal). That’s underwhelming. More to do after the game than Jak II, but this is only because of a glitch that allows you to fly anywhere. Game play is still pretty good, so it gets a B+.
Jak X – A racing game, it is suprisingly good (not a cash in!). It actually has a story, which is rare in a racing game. The story has some pretty good twists, and actually has a better ending to the series than Jak 3 (Jak and Keira ship is restored!). The facing is fast and action-packed, which is fun, but it might take a while to get used to the kind-of slippery cars. Many different game modes too, with few being unenjoyable. There are many different parts for you cards, with each part being different for each car, but, stat-wise, most cars are too similar too each other ad there are too many cars that are stictly better than others. You get a good amount of different racers, but three of them are so generic you will never use them or want to play against them.
The worst parts about the game: Although there are 7 combat areas and 24 tracks, only 12 of ther tracks are original, with the others being mostly made of parts of other tracks. Some power ups are too strong and are only given to you when you are not in 1st place. Although they can be turned off in exhibition mode, you can’t during campaign, which can make it to easy. Still a great racing game, A- at least. Count how many similarities it has with CTR!
Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier – Blah. Naughty Dog franchises should never be outsourced (see Spyro). You can buy abilities, which is cool, but you can’t choose what order you buy them in, so you have to buy a few bad ones to get the ones you want.You get eco abilities, but only half of them are used outside of puzzles. You gun total it reduced back to 4, with no real new weapons, and there are no forms. The gameplay does not take place in open areas, has much less variety, and takes away Jak’s ability to dodge roll, room in the camera, and…swim? WTF? The Camera is diabolical compared to the other Jak games. Graphically mediocre, but at least some areas at least try to capture the colorful areas of the first game.
Of the gameplay outside of Jak “platforming” (not as important in this game) with guns, you’ve got little other than the Dark Daxter sequences (Dumb and repetitive) and the airplane sequences. Their are too many of those, and most of them are quite boring. You don’t get a lot of custimization options, either. The story is garbage, abaddoning most previous charcters, giving them new ones bad design (Phoniex reminds me too much of Razor, his cohort looks like Mizo, and two guys are voiced by Kleiver), little development, few plot twists, generic plot, and an anti-climactic ending (Doesn’t hel that the final boss if fought on a plane). The only great parts about the game was the fight against the very fast dark ape boss and the bar fights (which I hope are the only canocal parts of the game). Sad to see a game do that mediocrly. A plain C.