Review: Jak And Daxter HD Collection
The dynamic duo make an explosive impact on the Playstation platform once again
- Worth The Time?If you're a fan of the series, then definitely. If you're not, you're mentally ill...
- Things LovedThe updated visuals, art brilliance is still intact, great humor and voice acting still top notch today, great menu interface takes you through all three adventures, practically no loading screens, three of the best games you'll ever play for a low price, such diverse gameplay, fantastic story and twists
- Things HatedThe aged controls, first game has aged a bit, not all textures look great
- RecommendationIf you were in any way a fan of the entire trilogy, or even just one of the titles, then you should be adding this game to your collection. All three games hold up extremely, and having them in HD really brings them to life. There is really nothing to lose here, and everything to gain.
- Name: Jak And Daxter HD Collection
- Genre: Action-Platformer
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: None
- Platforms: PS3
- Developer: Mass Media Inc.
- Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Price: R399.99
- Reviewed On: PS3
It’s hard to find a good platformer nowadays. Save for the recent, and brilliant, Rayman Origins, I struggle to think of maybe a handful of titles that still stick to this principle of gameplay. Now, on the other hand, Action Platformers are even more a rare appearance, and no, Uncharted does not fall into this genre at all. I’m talking about games where platforming and action melded together to form some type of gooey awesomeness. Games that have been forgotten by this generation, but not forgotten by those who played them years ago. Older titles such as the initial Rachet and Clanks, Sly Cooper, and maybe even Crash Bandicoot. But there is one dynamic duo that trumped them all, at least in my view. Jak and Daxter make an explosive return to the Playstation platform, and while it might not have been with a sequel like many fans had hoped, the HD Collection does a fine job of reminding us why this series is so phenomenal, and why Naughty Dog should really make another one.
Jak and Daxter, the HD Collection, includes all three games that made a massive impact on the PS2 all those years ago, and along with it made a huge impact on many gamer’s lives, including myself. I never owned a PS2, but I somehow managed to play all three when they were released, and being of such a tender age, I had no idea how fantastic they really were. It only occurred to me, years later, when that craving to have more of the duo would not fade, that I realised just how amazing each and every entry was. It’s also incredible to see just how far Naughty Dog pushed the limits with the series initially, making one of the first 3D open-world platforms, experimenting with no loading screens (which was mind blowing back then), and taking such huge innovative risks, especially when you put Jak 1 and 2 next to each other.
If you have never played any of these titles before, then you’ve really missed out on one of Naughty Dog’s golden eras. I won’t be going into great detail for each and every title, but for those of you who have no clue what world Jak and Daxter live in, here’s a quick rundown. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy was the first entry into the series, and was a pivotal moment for gaming as a whole. The first Jak and Daxter featured something unbeknown to the gaming community at the time: no loading screens. The first title was purely a platforming title, with some very light action element making their way in in order to spice up some very average gameplay. What made the title stand out was the gorgeous world Naughty Dog crafted, with a fantastic art direction and glorious open worlds that spanned for far and wide.
The second entry took the franchise in a bit of a new direction. Gone was the mute, friendly looking Jak that players had come to love, replaced with a more mean, angry and rough character in a dismal future world. Flying cars and actual guns made an appearance, and it was almost like a PG version of GTA. You could steal flying cars, cruise on your hoverboard and shoot everything up, as long as it was the enemy. A massive map (again, for the time) accompanied the game, with outer regions only requiring a short pause of the game, but again, no loading screens. It was in Jak II: Renegade that we were also introduced to Dark Jak, and alter ego of Jak that manifested after tons of experimentation with “Dark Eco”, the same stuff that turned Daxter into..well…whatever the hell Daxter really is. Now, think of Jak III as the same type of formula, just with more locations, more guns, more explosions, and just all round more epicness on a grand scale.
Having all three of these games remastered has been something that people have expected since the whole HD remake “genre” emerged, and thankfully, it has been worth the wait. The visuals may look aged at first, but once that fantastic art style kicks in and you realise why this is still one of the best looking games on the PS2, you’ll appreciate the work done to bring them into glorious HD. The first Jak and Daxter probably looks the most aged, with some very bland and stretched textures here and there, but the lush, massive world that Naughty Dog created all those years back still shines through. The depressing setting of Haven City might have been a big change from the first game, but the diversity and life of the city is still incredible, with slums showing off the real low life style of the time, and the glorious Stadium and market sectors still standing out amongst the crowd. The desolate wasteland adds to that variety in Jak 3, but it is a pity that most of the textures that make up this area didn’t receive such an excellent upgrade, unlike the rest of the game.
Gameplay wise, it’s fantastic to see that the level of action and platforming can still hold up in today’s market, and although it feels surprisingly easy in the beginning, all three games scale up the difficulty fairly quickly. There are no real changes to controls and gameplay in a sense, so aiming in Jak II and III is still a little imprecise and off target from time to time. Flying cars still handle fairly badly around corners, but after a few minutes you’ll feel right at home again, and changing your altitude to dodge traffic will become almost a second nature. The hoverboard is still present, and still as awesome as ever to use whenever you want. There’s just so much diversity in each game that you’ll often forget that the last one was made years ago. It’s something that is missing from this generation of games, and having all these different options available to you in one or two titles makes you wonder why so many other games have only simple mechanics to their name.
Playing all three of these titles again once again reminded me why I love Naughty Dog so much, even though their Uncharted series does that all the time anyway. Knowing that a potential Jak 4 is still on the table for the future, having this collection helps keep you at bay until Naughty Dog wake up and actually develop it. Too bad The Last of Us replaced it, but who knows, maybe after that, we’ll actually have the much wanted sequel to one of the greatest trilogies on the PS2. Its three games on one disc. A disc you’ll probably never get tired of, ever.