Jak and Daxter, in my humble opinion, rock. That's simply it. They're interesting, hilarious and bizzare but totally loveable and completely awesome. Quite a few adjectives there I know. But to be honest, there's so much to be said about the Jak games - especially the three of this collection - that my words alone are not enough to describe to you the brilliance of the series.
Let's start out simple: this is another addition to Sony's 'Classics HD' games on the PlayStation 3. These collections generally consist of 2 or 3 PlayStation 2 titles that were appreciated enough during their own time to reach legendary status - enough so to be deserved of a re-release on current-gen consoles whilst being upscaled to glorious high definition (720p in this case) and given full trophy support. The 'Jak and Daxter Trilogy' also comes with full stereoscopic 3D, if you're into that. In terms of the visuals, well, they're still last-gen games and so you're not going to mistake them for ones released last week. Still, in comparison to their PS2 counterparts (and in fact a number of other Classic HD titles available) they look great. The image has been cleaned up, edges are smoother, colours are vivid and bright and the overall effect is that they are very pleasing to the eye, especially for old games (the first title was released over a decade ago, in 2001!).
The basic story of the series revolves around the titular characters of Jak, a human/elf type creature, and Daxter, an 'ottsel' (half otter, half weasel) on their adventures through their troubled homelands. 'Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy' (AKA 'Jak 1') is remarkably similar to Naughty Dog's earlier ventures on the PlayStation platform: 'Crash Bandicoot'. It's more light-hearted and immature than it's successors, but an action-packed and enjoyable ride nonetheless. It's sequels: 'Jak 2: Renegade' and 'Jak 3' are significantly darker in theme. The formally mute protagonist was given a voice for the first time in 'Jak 2', as Naughty Dog began to hone their craft in storytelling and character-design (two elements that have peaked since their latest 'Uncharted' franchise came about). The 2nd and 3rd games also feature a drastic switch in gameplay styles, leaving the 'Mario 64' framework design and replacing it with one more akin to the 'Grand Theft Auto' series.
- I could go a lot further into how these games feel and play. However, it'd be far easier to simply look up reviews for the original PS2 releases for that kind of thing, and read here for the review of the Trilogy edition in general.
Audio seems to be unchanged, though perhaps if compared side by side a difference may be noticeable. Still, the sound design in general in all three games is great - the voice acting for Daxter still one of the highlights today, even compared to modern titles!
Trophy support is always cool; it's always great to play back through your favourite games and get rewarded with those little trophy-pops as you knock out different tasks and objectives. It gives the player that little bit more determination to keep on trying, even if the going gets tough. So in terms of this, it's definitely an improvement.
There are slight annoyances in the game design occassionally, such as irritating checkpoints, but on the whole the pros vastly outweigh the cons. There is also a little irritation when changing between 1,2 and 3, as one has to quit the entire collection and restart if wanting to swap to one of the other titles - again, not a massive deal, but a minor setback.
So overall, the 'Jak and Daxter Trilogy' is well deserved to be brought back into the homes of gamers, both old and new alike. It plays great, the stories and characters are engaging, it runs at a beautifully smooth framerate and it's all polished off with gorgeous new visuals. Top that off with added trophy and 3D support and you've got yourself one full and incredible gaming package. It's really a testament to how good a job Naughty Dog did in the first place.
If you like platformers, loveable worlds and a whole lot of fun, then go get it! :D