Jak and Daxter – Old School Experience, New Way to Play

For the last month, the Jak and Daxter trilogy has been available for free on PS+. Getting 3 games for free, now that sounds like my kind of deal! Having played all of the Jak games on the PS2, I jumped on the chance to play them again on the Vita. Why is Jak and Daxter not included in this review? Well the first game was very different to the rest, Naughty Dog must have had a field day when they decided to take the plat forming adventures of the original and turn it into the sci-fi, darker series that it has become. Jax 2 and 3 became huge games in their own right, combining an open world, varying weapons and interesting characters that may well have set the pace for many modern games.

So how do they hold up today? Well pretty much the same as it was … If you expected anything else then you may well feel let down, but for me, an HD release was just what the doctor ordered. Jax 2 & 3 let you explore the cities of Haven and Spargus, allowing you to hijack vehicles and lizards to navigate the cities faster than on foot. Sound familiar to GTA anyone? (Well except for the lizards).

Jax and Daxter T2

But the best thing about the games is the story. The story is so good for the same reason that I hold Timesplitters Future Perfect as one of the best games of all time, and that is time itself. The storyline behind the Jax games blends seamlessly between each other tying all loose ends into a neat little bow. Issues from Jak 1 are addressed in 2 and the ending of 3 reveals a revelation that you can look back and trace its origins through the series. Not many games cover the concept of time well, but the ones that do, make a story worth remembering.

So what is it like playing on the Vita? Buggy as hell… This is one of the huge shames of this otherwise spectacular experience. If I had not already loved the story and game in the past, I may have just given up with this rerelease. The frame rate often lags and the screen cashed on quite a few occasions. This often happened after completing a difficult section, leading to a rage quit for a couple of hours. You can also play this game on the PS3 so I would be very interested to find out if the same issues occur.

You owe it to yourself to play the Jak and Daxter games. It combines an epic story with levels of characterisation that you rarely see anymore. It is a massive shame about the bugs, but if you manage to get through these, you will be massively rewarded.

Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PS3/Vita
Genre: Action-Adventure
Player Modes: Single player
Price: £19.99 – £29.99 (Free with PS+ at time of writing)