Jak and Daxter
Review of Jak and Daxter
The game starts off with an impressive and lengthy CG Clip, introducing some of the characters and explaining the storyline. Jak and Daxter are the main characters. Jak is a fair haired, handsome young lad. Daxter is his sassy little sidekick. Jak and Daxter was exploring one day thru a forbidden island. Daxter stumbled onto a deadly substance called Dark Eco, which transformed Daxter into this rodent type critter, looking part fox and part weasel. This substance holds the power of corrupting the world forever. Jak and Daxter’s quest is to seek the one person that holds the key to transforming Daxter back to his human-like form.
The journey sets sail on this huge chunk of gorgeous coastline. The different lands interconnect with each other, so the player can explore one land to the next seamlessly without having to suffer load and reload times. To clarify, there are no levels, just different lands or so called domains...The world is pretty much seamless. The game comes with a map to help keep you on track and you can also save at any point in the game. Kudos to Naughty Dog….the above attributes made for a really nice gaming experience!
There are 8 main tasks per land to achieve. Like other platform games, the player needs to collect many items thru gameplay but the main object to collect is all the “power cells” in each domain. There are a few different ways to collect a power cell. The player will be challenged to problem solve, complete a mini game, or collect enough egg shaped objects called “Orbs”. The Orbs can then be traded with the villagers for a power cell.
The controls are basic and easy to master. Jak can punch, run, jump, dive, spin, swim, and even drive a boat and aircraft. The double jump does take a little practice and sometimes does not work well, but Jak has power ups to enhance his moves. For instance, blue Eco vents gives Jak super powers for a few seconds; green Eco balls will increase his health. Even if Jak dies he will come back to life over and over again because he has infinite lives. I have not mentioned Daxter’s capabilities because he really has none. He just sits on Jak’s shoulder issuing a variety of wisecracks and will do an occasional break dance move to celebrate winning power cells.
Unlike other platformers, gameplay does not consistently get harder. Some tasks are extremely easy in each domain while some are quite frustrating. There are a variety of enemies to challenge Jak in the different lands like giant fish and sharks that are lurking in the ocean waiting for a meal, huge serpents pop out of the sand, and nasty snakes jump out of the trees trying to take a bite of ya. Surprisingly, these foes are quite easy to beat, some can be conquered with a single blow.
If I had to sum up the graphics in one word I would say “SPECTACULAR”. The powers of the PS2 are definitely being pushed displaying 1000’s of polygons per second (actually the game is pushing over 10 million PPS). Jak is 4000 polys alone. To put this in perspective, Crash Bandicoot utilized 500 polys. WOW….was my first thought when I initially viewed Jak and Daxter. The characters, creatures, and environments just come alive with superb animation, not to mention the incredible draw distance. The player can see from one side of the world to the other, even moving objects on other islands, which seems miles away. The lands are extremely detailed exploding with fluorescent colors and abundance of imagination. To give you an idea, you can actually see the individual blades of grass. The water of the ocean, streams, and waterfalls are shimmering shades of blue. While swimming, you will see bubbles, ripples, and shadowing effects. It made me feel like I wanted to jump in and take a swim. The player can even see rocks, fish, and collectables in the depths of the water. The environments are very versatile, like the forbidden jungle, a land with hot lava, and a winter wonderland. The weather also varies from sunny, rainy, and snowy with fantastic day to evening transition effects. Very well done!!
The sound effects and voice acting was also done nicely. You can hear the grass crushing below Jak’s feet as he runs across it, you can also hear the relaxing sounds of the waterfalls in the background and realistic explosive sounds when objects blow. The characters were matched up perfectly with their voices and personalities. Jak doesn’t say much, he is more of a stong and silent type but Daxter falls completely on the other side of the spectrum. He acts as the comic relief and is full of sarcastic one-liners. He reminded me of Timon from the Lion King. Like when Jak dies, Daxter says “oh Jak what am I going to do without you…by the way can I have your insect collection?” or don’t worry I will say something nice at your funeral.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Jak and Daxter' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Loretta Mattie © Absolute PlayStation
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