Jak and Daxter is a great
game. Free roaming 3-D adventure games are a love it or hate it affair. Games in the genre
often suffer from awkward controls or a quirky camera that always manages to pin itself to
a wall at the worst possible time. Luckily, Jak and Daxter does not struggle with these
The story in Jak and Daxter is simple with very few twists. Fans of this genre
should be used to this by now, however, since 3-D adventure games are all about gameplay
and everything else is secondary. Jaks friend Daxter falls into a pit of dark eco,
which transforms him into a furry little ferret looking thing. Wanting to help his friend,
Jak props Daxter up on his shoulders and they begin a journey to find a cure.
Recent adventure games have been nothing more than frantic affairs with no real
direction that required you to collect thousands of little trinkets. Jak and Daxter
follows this same formula, but on a smaller scale. The only collectables you will have to
find are power cells, which upgrade your Zoomer vehicle and allow you to access new areas.
Precursor Orbs are little egg shaped objects that you trade to other characters throughout
the game in exchange for power cells. There are seven Scout Flies in each level that will
give you a power cell when you collect all seven of them. These three items are all you
have to collect in each level to progress through the game.
Also scattered throughout the levels are various types of eco. Blue eco makes
Jak and Daxter run faster, .allows you to open certain switches and gives you the power to
open certain item boxes. Blue eco also attracts the collectables listed above like a
magnet, which makes collecting them much easier. Red eco increases Jak and Daxters
attack range as well as the power of their attacks. Yellow eco enables Jak and Daxter to
shoot fireballs that home in on their target. Green eco increases health and is found
whenever you break open a wooden box or defeat an enemy while the other types of eco are
not as easy to find. Eco only lasts for a limited amount of time, however, so this adds a
great sense of urgency to the games many puzzles that require the use of eco.
of the objectives in the game are fairly easy to complete, so collecting the power cells
is rather easy. Objectives include climbing particularly high towers/mountains/objects,
finding seven scout flies in each level, and sometimes it is just a tricky jump or two
that stand between you and the power cell. There are also several places in each level
where you merely trade your accumulated precursor orbs for a power cell. The best
objectives are the mini games, such as catching two hundred pounds of fish with a net in a
stream, or shooting dozens of swamp rats with yellow eco in order to protect a
hillbillys snacks. Sometimes you are asked to go back and get things from previous
levels. This serves to reinforce the illusion that this is one giant world and everyone
and everything is connected. There are also levels that allow you to ride the Zoomer
around and complete objectives. These are great fun and offer a nice break from the
standard platform gameplay. While most of the objectives are typical of 3-D adventure
games, there is enough overall variety to make Jak and Daxter stand out.
levels in the game are big, but not too big, in my opinion. There are many ways to get
around each level, and at no point did I ever feel lost or frustrated because of the level
design. The levels include a jungle, swamp, a creepy island shrouded in mist, an
underwater city, a snow capped mountain, and many more. Traveling between levels is a joy
because there are absolutely no load times when traveling from area to area. Also, if you
find a high spot in a level, you can look around you and see the other levels in the
distance. Quite impressive, if you ask me.
controls in Jak and Daxter are easy to use and respond perfectly. Each of the levels is
filled with typical moving platform over bottomless pit game play, but the control is
tight enough that I didnt have much of a problem. Compared to most games in this
genre, Jak and Daxter have a rather small arsenal of moves. There is a spin move that
allows you to float through the air, a high jump, a long jump, and a butt-stomp. These
moves are really all you need, and since they are available to you right from the start,
they are easy to learn and master.
actual gameplay in Jak and Daxter is fairly simple. There are tons of enemies to battle
and lots of areas to explore. One rather annoying aspect of the game is that you can only
be hit by an enemy three times before you have to start over. By collecting 50 green eco
pieces, you gain an extra hit which can only be used once before you have to collect 50
more. This is somewhat frustrating, but at the same time refreshing because you have to
protect your character. One thing is certain: you will die a lot in this game. I
didnt mind that too much though. Another aspect that should have been addressed is
that you never control Daxter. He simply hangs on for dear life while you control Jak.
This isnt much of a complaint, but it would have been nice to see him work rather
than just flap his gums the whole time.
graphics and sound in Jak and Daxter are spectacular. As I stated above, if you find a
high point, you can literally see for miles and miles. The levels all look great and there
are a good variety of textures. The game also features changes in time of day and it looks
very believable. There are levels where it rains and there are even flashes of lightning
which look spectacular. The characters are also very detailed and look smooth. I say they
look smooth because there are no polygon jaggies on them and their clothing is not the
horrid looking blurry textures we have seen so many times before. They are simply smooth
looking. The music and sound effects are also top notch. The music is upbeat and somewhat
whimsical at times but dark and foreboding at others and manages to match the action
rather well. There is also a lot of speech in the game and the voice acting is pretty
good. There arent any voices that really grate on you, so that alone puts the voice
acting in Jak and Daxter a step above many other games. The minor characters dont
have anything too intelligent to say, but main characters such as Daxter and the Green
Sage are rather funny. The graphics and sound, just like every other aspect of the game,
Jak and Daxter is a must play game. If you are a fan of the 3-D adventure genre, you will
probably have already purchased this game. If you are not a fan of the genre, or are
sitting on the fence as to whether you should get it or not, I can say without a doubt
that this is one of the best 3-D adventure games I have ever played. The graphics and
sound, as well as the game play, are top notch. The controls are intuitive and responsive.
Naughty Dog really put a lot of effort into making sure Jak and Daxter looked, sounded,
and played like a game on a next generation gaming system is expected to. If only more
developers would put the time and effort in, we would have far less sub-par games and a
whole lot more great games like as Jak and Daxter.