The game world is seamless and you can move between areas and missions pretty much at will; there are no loading times whatsoever--a lesson which the latest Crash Bandicoot would have done well to learn. What's more, the irritation of having to restart levels and collect everything again if you lose all your energy is mercifully absent here. The graphics are truly scrumptious and the sound lush--and, shock horror, the script's decent and the characterisation and voice acting not half bad. It's not quite as amusing and cleverly thought out as Rare's aforementioned N64 stalwart--or their more recent Conker's Bad Fur Day--but it's pretty close.
The downsides? It's maybe a bit too easy for seasoned gamers--though by no means a cinch--and the magnificent graphics have eaten up memory that might have been used to make the game longer; as trade-offs go, though, that's pretty reasonable. Bring on the sequel! --Rikki Price
Plunge into a world of new adventure, exploration and discovery. Embark on a magical yet sometimes harrowing journey that challenges gamers to test their wits and skills and allows them to discover twisted plots and battle the evil within. Delivering nothing but the best ingredients for what is set to be one of the biggest titles of the year, with great character designs and animations, innovative gameplay mechanics, superior technology and absolutely stunning graphics, Jak and Daxter pushes the power of PlayStation 2, and offers an engaging, immersive entertainment experience that stretches the imagination.
Not being a fan of platformers myself, I only really ever buy one when it's absolutely superb (the last was Super Mario 64). Jak & Daxter is one such game.
Gameplay-wise, it's virtually identical to SM64 (collect "power cells" throughout the game to unlock newer, harder levels) but this is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when coupled with such astounding graphics.
The landscapes vary from lush, verdant jungles, where the colours are searingly bright, to volcanoes, where the colours are also searingly bright, to snow-capped mountains, caves, beaches, Atlantis-style sunken cities and many more. These vast, intricate vistas are handled with consumate ease by the PS2, with no slow-down or aliasing whatsoever. There is also a 60Hz refresh rate option for NTSC tellys and a 16:9 aspect ratio option for those with widescreens.
Sound is also very pleasing, with (amazingly!) excellent voice samples and atmospheric music (Daxter's drill-like Bronx accent begins to grate after a while but he does provide genuine hints throughout the game!).
Gameplay is where J&D excels, though. The controls are intuitive enough for anybody to start playing immediately and the difficulty curve is perfectly weighted. The "one-more-go" factor is very high. The plot is also surprisingly involved for such an apparently cute platformer.
J&D is a testament to how platformers should be. At 20 quid, there's simply no excuse not to own this gem.
If you cant decide between this and Ratchet, get both!!
You don't need me to tell you the plot. What matters is how it looks and how it plays and how it keeps you interested.
How it looks? Stunning! The graphics are colourful but detailed with amazing scenery. From the sunsets to the dust kicked up as you run, everything adds to a feast for the eyes around every corner.
How it plays? The controls are smooth and easy with a camera that does a good job of keeping up. There is also enough variety in movement and environments to keep you interested where other games have got you switching off.
I played this game to the end and then went back later for some more. I don't end up finishing many games as big does not necessarily mean good in all cases, however this game has plenty of character to keep it in your machine until you've saved the world a few times over.
I can't wait for Ratchet & Clank, which looks to be even bigger and better than this.
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