Written by  :  STU2 (72)
Written on  :  Oct 24, 2006
Platform  :  PlayStation 2
Rating  :  4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars

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Jak and Daxter: One Silent Hero, One Loud Mouthed Son of a...who we love.

The Good

For years I held off buying a PS2, for many different reasons; chief among them being that I already owned a Gamecube and an Xbox, and most of the the time if a game appeared on all three systems it was superior on the Xbox or Cube. However, there was still that cursed "exclusive" game that I wanted to play on the PS2. One of them that I wanted to play was the Jak and Daxter Trilogy, and so one week while a friend of mine was out of town, I "borrowed" his PS2 and went out and picked up a copy of Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy.

Jak and Daxter is simply a platform game, but one that elevates the genre from where it had languished post-Super Mario 64. The game stars Jak, some weird Elfish guy who never talks, and Daxter, a little furry sidekick thing that never shuts up. The goal of the game is to run around platforming while collecting Precursor Orbs (cash), Power Cells (power), and Eco (the game's version of magic, which comes in many different flavors). The game does include a villainous duo who you must defeat at the end of the game.

One of the first things you will notice in the game is that Jak is essentially Crash Bandicoot v 2.0. Many of his moves are the same, and he just controls and feels like the same character. This is not really that surprising considering both games were developed by Naughty Dog.

Without a doubt, Daxter is one of the best sidekicks ever. He is essentially the voice of the game, providing many hilarious one liners and comedic acts. While he is not actually a playable character, and never once pulls his own weight in the game, he still steals the show.

The graphics are amazing, especially for being an early generation PS2 game. Cutscenes are all well done, as well as well scripted and voice acted. Daxter in particular is memorable once again. There is however no actual story progression that does not involve cutscenes in the game, unless you count someone telling you to go somewhere after you complete an objective.

Boss fights are pretty easy as most of them follow the simple pattern attack style. The end boss is especially interesting, composed of multiple stages. The game also rewards you with a secret ending...two in fact, if you can manage to collect everything in the game (which is extremely tough...when I finished the game, I was hovering around the 87% mark).

The music is also pretty excellent. While it's not something you will want a cd of, it nevertheless fits the game perfectly.

The Bad

While the controlling Jak is universally excellent, one minor gripe I had was that he doesn't recover fast enough between attacks. I lost much health because I'd attack, and before I could respond again I'd be nailed by an enemy.

Don't you hate it when it seems every single other platformer game out there has to mess with the camera controls? One game you have to move the controller to the right to turn the camera left, other games it is reversed, etc. While this is only a minor nuisance, it does get annoying if you jump back and forth between games, and find yourself wrestling with the camera because it just won't pan like you want it to.

The difficulty level of the game raises some questions too. While I mentioned above the boss fights, there is still some difficulty with just the typical platforming parts, mainly due to the camera or the ineptness of the person playing the game.

Oh, and have I ever mentioned how much I hate ice levels? It is incredibly difficult to fight or land on ledges that are covered in ice; you are constantly sliding everywhere, including off the map! Ice levels brings up another interesting disappointment with this game: level design. Some of the levels are superb; some, such as the ice level, seem to be designed to confuse the heck out of you. The game tells you to go find something, but the levels are designed in such a way that you end up walking in circles because you can't find your way around.

Yet overall, there really is nothing "wrong" with the game.

The Bottom Line

The first part of a trilogy, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is much different than the rest of the games. The first game is a platformer that teaches you the controls, introduces the characters, and sets up the rest of the story. Fans of games like Super Mario 64, Crash Bandicoot, or Pyschonauts will appreciate the game, and will spend many fun hours immersed in it.