Jak and Daxter HD Collection Review (PS3)
by Gregory Laporte Editor Vice President on April 11, 2012 at 10:00 AM EDT

Jak and Daxter Collection

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Consoles: PS3

Release Date: February 7th, 2012

Before Uncharted and after crash bandicoot Naughty Dog rocked a generation with two very outspoken individuals. Jak and Daxter are back to kick some butt, but have they gotten too old in a new generation? Read our review to find out!

Single player:

The famous Naughty Dog development team made a great trilogy back in the PS2 generation. That game is Jak and Daxter. They are a pair of unlikely heroes that have become tasked with saving the world that they live in. The premier aspect of this collection is that it blends several genres into one. It blends action, shooting, driving, and platforming into one game that is beautiful. The collection features all three of the original games in great HD. This is a great chance for fans of Naughty Dog and their games the chance to play any of the games to pick it up and give them a go.

In Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, Daxter is knocked into a vat of dark eco where he then changes into a weasel or rodent whichever seems to fit his disposition. This leads the dynamic duo on a quest to find an old sage that may have the powers to change him back to his former glorious self. Dark Eco is a deadly substance that could corrupt people and the world if used for that purpose. This leads you on a quest across treacherous terrains, while meeting new and exciting characters along the way. This sets the stage for Jak II. In the beginning of Jak II, Jax and Daxter are tossed 500 years into the future and are placed into a foreign city being overrun by Baron Praxis and enemies called Metal Head. The game begins with Jak being caught and experimented on by Baron Praxis and his best friend Daxter soon rescues him. Now, they are in an unknown area trying to figure out where they are while trying to get revenge.

Jak III takes place one year after the events in Haven City. The city is in chaos and there is a power struggle between three groups of powers fighting to become the primary power. Villagers no longer trust Jak and fear his dark powers. This leads him to be exiled to the wasteland and thus beings his quest for redemption. All three stories are brilliantly written and there will be bosses and enemies that will make you want to pull your hair out. As you progress through each of the titles you will see how Naughty Dog constructed and built upon its craft for narratives, graphical abilities, and remaking the wheel in a genius way.

Gameplay:

If you have every played Crash Bandicoot then this game will be very familiar to you. At its core, the game is your basic platformer with a ton of cool things that can be done. As you get eco power-ups you will be become stronger, faster, and even have the ability to shoot fireballs. The game is unorthodox in a good way. As you progress through the titles, you will see a maturation of the game and the formula that Naughty Dog created. The gameplay changes as you progress to the later titles. It is almost as if they completely scrapped the original idea and decided to make a completely new game that is exponentially better than the previous titles. It is a very old school and classic experience, which is a pleasure to play. The only problem that I have with the collection that has carried over is the pain of camera angles. The camera angles in the first game are more predominately noticeable as being a pain because it can get you killed a lot. The issue is fixed in the later titles however, only slightly rectified.

The mini-games in the titles are a great way to break up the main story and provide a lot different adventures that you can do.

Presentation:

Having these titles remastered in HD was an absolute godsend. The games themselves were considered some of the best titles for the PS2 in terms of graphics. The HD remaster has helped them age with beauty. You can actually see how the HD has helped all of the titles in the collection as you will see a great jump in the graphical presentation from Jak I to Jak III. I don’t want to go as far as to say that the HD makes these games on par with PS3 titles. What I will say is that these games look like PS2.5 titles. They really look that well. The different environments that you travel to, show the different variations of the world. The collection goes from a quiet island type setting to a nitty, gritty, and dark slum town. It’s really surprising and intriguing all at the same time.

Sound:

The sound in this collection is not ground breaking as you might assume it would be, but it is fun. The suspense at times when you play certain mini-games or fight bosses will help to engulf you in the terror or adventure that is Jak and Daxter. What the sound will do is provide great music for certain environments that provide a great deal of immerision to get you into boss fights, suspenseful moments, etc..

The voice acting in the game is hilarious. In the previous title Jak was a silent protagonist, he would only react with facial expression and hand motions. As the later games released, he gains a voice and the dialogue between, Jak and Daxter are actually very enjoyable. The dialogue is hilarious and will have you laughing with them and at them.

Controls:

The controls in the game are easy to get used you. You jump, shoot, punch, double jump, and drive. All of these are simple gestures that even a cave dweller could do. The game plays and controls very smoothly, although the only problem that I had was of course what I have mentioned before, the camera angles. You can of course use the right analog to rotate the camera at times but for the most part, it does not help you out at all. You will get cheap deaths and enemies surprise you because of it. The driving in the game is fun and is the best method of travel for you to use to get around.

Cons:

  • Bad camera angles at times
  • No auto aiming and driving can be a pain at times

Pros:

  • Great story
  • HD graphics and trophies provide a refreshing breathe of life into an already brilliantly established franchise.
  • Great pricing for three great games

Final Thoughts:

The Jak and Daxter collection is great for those that might have missed the franchise’s glory days on the PS2. Everything looks great and the HD remaster really does the game well. Whether you have already played it or not, this is definitely a title worth picking up and completing 100% of the way. You are getting three games for $40, it seems like a no brainer to me. History does not often repeat itself twice, not purchasing this game might be the worst decision you may ever make.

Final Score:

I give the Jak and Daxter collection an 8.5 out of 10

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