The latest news of Sony maybe playing it safe rather than greenlighting risky projects have led me to remember some of the older PlayStation classics that I miss. Classics that arguably may not have been approved if they were presented today. Naturally many come to mind, but the one series I continuously want a reboot of is Naughty Dog’s Jak and Daxter.
Jak and Daxter
The PlayStation 2 was a fantastic console with a great library of games. One particular series that I always enjoyed was Jak and Daxter. The first game Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is essentially a 3D platformer. I remember when I first played the game and was amazed by the colorful and vibrant world. Much like other 3D platformers, the game has you set out on an adventure looking for certain items to progress along.
That alone, if done right, is engaging enough but Jak and Daxter’s charm goes beyond its gameplay. In particular, its characters are what sets this game apart from similar titles. In this first title, Jak is a mute but that doesn’t stop his best pal Daxter from speaking for him. Daxter is hilarious, witty, and sarcastic which definitely brings about a certain light-heartedness to the game.
As you adventure through their world and begin to unravel the secrets of Eco, you’ll meet plenty of other exuberant individuals. The story is paced well and is honestly one of my favorite video game stories to this day.
Here is where the series takes a turn but in my opinion, it isn’t a bad thing. This is a perfect example of what I feel like might not have been approved in today’s Sony, though. Jak II just feels so different from the first title, but I think Naughty Dog handled it well.
Jak II gets much darker in almost every way possible. The rating is increased to “T”, the game now has guns, and there a some curse words present as well. It still retains its platforming roots but you can now equip guns, drive vehicles and use Dark Eco abilities.
The story is really the reason the game changes. It is darker because Jak gets exposed to Dark Eco which gives him access to certain Dark Eco abilities. It also shapes Jak into more of an anti-hero figure.
The game takes place in Haven City which you later find out is the same world from the first game, just many years into the future. As the story unfolds, things begin to start falling into place and you’ll get every question answered.
Even though the game changed a lot from the first one, it still has the Jak and Daxter charm. Daxter keeps up his humorous wit and remains Jak’s best pal despite things getting heavier. Some of the previous characters return, and there are also new characters with more unique personalities. All in all, Jak II is a change of pace for the series, but somehow it worked.
Jak 3 sees a few more changes in the series, but retains what Jak II began. Here though, the darkness is balanced by Jak receiving blessings of Light Eco which starts to paint Jak in more of a hero’s light.
This entry really starts to bring about a side of Jak not seen since the first game. He starts to be a little less selfish and a little more caring for those around him. He still has his moments of anger and darkness, but the Light Eco settles a lot of that within him.
Along with Haven City, there is also another open-world area called Spargus. Spargus is a desert area outside of Haven City where people have gathered after being thrown out of Haven City. The story revolves around both the city of Spargus and Haven City.
All in all, the series really comes together in the third game. Jak, Daxter and the rest of the cast create a fantastic world of personality and unique charm. It is a wonderful series that shows originality and creativity.
Can We Get More Jak and Daxter?
I would be ecstatic if they announced a new Jak and Daxter game. The success of games like Ratchet and Clank and Crash Bandicoot really prove that nostalgia can carry a series far. Not only that, but I think it would be a refreshing addition to current consoles. There aren’t a lot of new 3D platformers these days and even less with the originality that Jak and Daxter has.
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