Saturday, January 14, 2012

Top 50 Video Games: Number 19

Platform: Playstation 2
Absurdly Specific Genre: Fun With Otsels
Difficulty: Not as annoying as 2, more challenging than 1. Maybe a 6?
Beaten: Yes.

The Jak & Daxter series took a strange right turn somewhere in there. The first game was an almost entirely angst-free puzzle-flavored platformer. The world you were put in was pretty, and the gameplay never really moved past the "taco sauce mild" level of spiciness (mild taco sauce has roughly the same 'zing' as watered down ketchup). Fast-forward the second game, and you suddenly have a frustrating-in-places angst-fest with a suddenly talkative hero. It almost didn't feel like the same series. Both were good games in their own way.

Jak 3 ended up being a better version of the second game. The angst felt a little less 'in your face', the weapons were cooler, and that one mission where you have to race the guy through a crowded city street didn't exist.

There are truthfully a lot of things I had forgotten about this game, though I remembered really liking it. The original list that I created in May had this one in the mid-30's. Since I did have a lot of holes in my memory, I gave it another try. It's actually a lot more enjoyable than I remember. The humor's decent, the plot is better than I remember, and the combat works pretty seamlessly.

...and non-annoying vehicle segments. Let me repeat. Non-annoying vehicle segments.
The Ratchet and Klank series is the obvious parallel, and I'm not sure Jak 3 quite matches up to that benchmark, but it is excellent in its own right. A worthy end to a fun trilogy (they made a racing game, a midquel, and a fourth game after this, but Jak 3 sort of closed the door on the original storyline).

Other Games in the Jak and Daxter Series: The second game is probably better than I remember it. I was a bit put off by the super-angstifying of the series, but I'm over that now, so it probably holds up just fine. The first game is a fun, if incredibly easy platofrmer. Both would probably fall in the mid 30's, maybe 40's for the first game.


  1. Jak II isn't just better than this game, it's a truly great game. Dude, it beats this one in every way. I must be the only guy who didn't balk at the difficulty of it, because I hear about it a lot (particularly with the hovercrafts) but I never experienced any of that.

    I do like this game - quite a bit, in fact - but man, it pales in comparison to the second.

    And, yes, the Ratchet and Clank series is overall a touch stronger (it's my favorite series, probably) but at this point, I doubt I'd be sad if they retired the series. It's been fantastic, but I'm not sure Insomniac has anything more to add to it.

    The Jak trilogy is released remastered on PS3 in a few weeks here or so. I own all the games on PS2, but I'll still probably get it. Sigh.

  2. I should truly play #2 again. I enjoyed #3 a lot more than I remembered the first time around, it'd probably be the same way with #2.

    I did love this series, I'm not particularly heartbroken that I didn't get to follow it over to the PS3 - the games and storyline seemed to fly apart a bit.

  3. Does your second paragraph refer to R&C?

    The series is as...much ever, and I'd say A Crack in Time probably has some of their strongest storytelling. There's just nothing very new about the gameplay, that's all.

  4. I could never get into Jak and Daxter. I never even tried the 3rd one after being bored to death with the first two.