on May 15, 2013
Edit (July 10, 2014): I wrote some more thoughts on Jak II in the comments sections of this review. If you are reading this review, please check out what I wrote there, for some fair analysis of the game. Thank you!
Sadly not in a new series, but this collection is the next best thing. In case it wasn't obvious, this collection includes HD remastered versions of the three original Jak & Daxter games, made by none other than Naughty Dog, of Uncharted (and Crash Bandicoot) fame. Now if you were expecting anything else, like the other JaD games or perhaps some bonus features, or maybe even *gasp* a downloadable avatar, you will not find it here. Pure and simple, the games (accompanied by the standard HD Collection menu and achievements...er...trophies, sorry) are the only thing here. Not even the making of video is included. Oh yeah, speaking of trophies, there are quite a few here as each game in the trilogy has it's own separate trophies (somewhere around 40 to 50 for each game). Yes that means three separate platinum's for trophy hunters. Also, most of the trophies are pretty easy to get, most of them (except for those precursor orb ones ): ) will be acquired by simply playing the game. Anyways, buying an HD collection for merely trophies or bonus content is a total waste, it's really about the games. So...
Are these games any good?
Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
An old school 3d platformer, this is a great game (possibly my favorite of the three) which screams potential for future installments (more on the irony of that in a moment). The Precursor Legacy looks and plays beautifully. Sure it's a bit graphically dated, but the colorful island environments look quite pretty regardless of age. Amazingly enough TPL (Precursor Le...oh you know) never loads. Every location flawlessly transitions into the next, almost making the game feel like one large level. No "door" tricks here guys, walk across a bridge toward a jungle and you'll discover that you just reached the next level.
I'll boldly proclaim it right now: THIS GAME SUCKS! Got that? Ok, moving on now
Ja-What's that? why does Jak II suck? *sigh*
Jak II throws almost everything about its...heh...precursor out the window. Jak and Daxter get warped into some strange Sci-Fi city, set in the center of an apocalyptic world. Poor Jak gets kidnapped by guards and is put under torture and experiments for years by an evil baron ruling the city until Daxter finds and saves him. Jak is now totally pissed off and vows for revenge (yeah, he starts speaking for the first time in this game). Together the duo Hijack cars and traverse the city and its outskirts completing missions for "the resistance" (Or was it the rebellion?) in hopes of eventually taking down the baron and saving the city. Oh yeah, Here's why it's horrible:
-Open world lacks interesting things to do. No exciting side missions (only boring ones), guards patrol the city and become extremely annoying when they chase you down, also driving around becomes monotonous and repetitive after playing the game for awhile
-Way to hard. Hard isn't bad, it's fun when done correctly. Unfortunately, Jak II 's idea of hard is so annoying that it actually interrupts and seriously injures the game. Frequently the difficulty would suddenly spike beyond whatever explanation I could possibly describe here and I would start dying over and over and over and over again. Now that isn't quite what makes things terrible, it's that Jak II's evil level designers decided there should be next to no checkpoints, meaning, each time you die, you will most likely restart all the way back at the beginning of a mission (said missions are usually quite long). It's so frustrating that I still feel tense and angry writing about it right now.
-Dated. this game hasn't aged as well as the other two. graphically, it may look better than the first game, but it often appears bland and dull. Unfortunately, the controls are the real issue here. Jak now carries guns and well, controlling them can be a real pain since, instead of a cross hair, the game uses a laser line on the edge of each gun to show exactly what it is being aimed at. Auto targeting is here too, to make sure things don't get too rough. Sounds good? it's not. aiming at what you want doesn't happen fast enough, and you'll shoot the wrong people or things often. Because of this the game is (yes, you guessed it) HARDER! Also, because the entire trilogy has inverted camera control, I had to visit each games settings menu to fix camera, so it would turn like it would in a normal, modern third person game. BUT, for some unexplainably irritating reason, in the second game (not in the first or the third), doing this causes the camera in first person mode to invert left and right. Ever tried turning left to turn right in a game before? It's very frustrating (and of course up and down are inverted too, but that's a standard for the whole trilogy). So yes that means, you guessed it, the game is EVEN HARDER! (shooting robots from a turret was never so minded-screwingly frustrating and, yes, hard)
There's probably more, but I'm done. No more complaining
Wonderful! The best game of the series, everything wrong with Jak II, besides the lack of memorable side quests, has been fixed. It's open world again, but this time Jak and Daxter travel back and forth between a desert (where they get to drive around in awesome dune buggys) and that city, which is no longer lame and annoying (no more guards hunting you endlessly, and no more long useless driving). There's a ton of variety in the missions, insuring that things never really get boring. Checkpoints are scattered logically and the difficulty has been toned down; However, Jak 3 isn't "easy", it's just right. There's a ton of new guns as well as a new Light Jak to accompany Dark Jak (oh, right, Dark Jak was added in that crappy second game). Now our hero can do cool stuff like fly (with wings) and freeze time. Also the hoverboard (yes, like Back to the Future Part II) is back and improved with the option to attack enemies (Yeah, the hoverboard was in Jak II). The story is interesting, but the gameplay is the real star of Jak 3
With all that said, is this collection worth your cash and time? Totally! The first and third JaD games are fun experiences that blend the platforming, action, and adventure genres together for a worthwhile purchase. I do want to apologize for lack of proper grammar (I'm sure the Jak II bit has some issues that I didn't look over properly) and for so much criticism.
on November 10, 2013
I loved being able to watch the evolution of the game! I played these back on the ps2, and I appreciate them being put into the ps3 system.
Things to note:
-These are the original games, old graphics and all.
-The games get steadily darker, so while the first game might be appropriate for little 7-year-old Rickey Bobby, the third game might not. If you're a parent buying this for a kid, be aware. That said, I still believe that this game is a good match for younger children. It is pretty tame, low cussing (none at all in the first game), and minimal violence.
-The price is most DEFINITELY worth it! This is quite literally 3 games for the price of 1!
-Adults, these are not 'hard' games. Again, a good level for ten year olds.
If this was a good game for you, you might also consider looking into the Sly Cooper trilogy, or the Rachet & Clank series, both of which are very similar in attitude and appearance.
on February 7, 2012
Before I begin, let's get one thing straight. I am not reviewing any of the games right now, I am simply reviewing the quality of the HD ports themselves. The Jak and Daxter games are by far one of my favorite games in the world, so if you want to know whether I like these games, I do. I like them a lot.
Now. The games are still good, and still playable even against today's standards. But the quality of the HD port is probably one of the worst in the HD Remasters series. Elements that are present in other HD ports are missing from the port. The games run at a fluid 60FPS, but all of the Jak games ran at 60FPS to begin with. All previous framerate issues with the PS2 versions have been fixed, so instead of being a variable 60FPS, it now runs at a constant 60FPS.
A new Stereoscopic 3D effect was added into all three games for all of you people who own a 3DTV, and it does the job. It's pretty good for a simple conversion. But, as you'll read below, I feel like the need for 3D was unnecessary, and easily could have been put on hold so that more pressing technical matters could have been fixed first.
What can be considered a huge negative towards the quality of the ports themselves is the apparent lack of anti-aliasing. Previous HD Collections, such as Metal Gear Solid HD, God of War HD, etc., all have rendering resolutions of 720p. Jak and Daxter HD also renders at 720p, but it lacks the sufficient amount of anti-aliasing that the other ports have that really give the makeovers that fresh, satisfying look that we expect from a big collection. In MGS HD and GoW HD, jagged lines are limited to almost none. On the flipside, Jak HD suffers from many jagged lines that are plainly noticeable. Someone over at Mass-Media (the people who ported the Jak games to the collection) forgot that anti-aliasing is something of importance to these remasters, and the difference really shows.
To be fair, however, the lack of anti-aliasing is certainly an issue but it's something that's not noticeable when you're in constant motion in the game. You'll notice the jaggies when you're standing still or when things are going slowly, but the "natural motion-blur" that comes with the framerate will usually blur up all the jaggies enough so that you won't see them when you move.
Also present is a few rendering issues that come with Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. Jak 1 did not support 16:9 resolutions, it only supported 4:3. In the collection, the aspect ratio was changed and fixed, so now we have a full 16:9 ratio. However, some foliage and details in the background seem to "pop-in" when they're outside of the 4:3 border. This wouldn't be a problem if the borders were there, except now they're not, so the player can plainly see those extra few leaves on the tree and a few boulders and rocks just popping in every time you move the camera a little bit. It doesn't happen too often, and usually it's not really noticeable unless you're REALLY looking for it, but the issue is there. Thankfully, because Jak II and Jak 3 natively supported 16:9 resolutions, no additional work was really required, and that problem is eliminated.
Overall, a solid 4/5. The collection itself is great; sticking 3 of the best PS2 games onto one Blu-Ray disc and adding trophies and 3D for just $40 is an excellent deal. However, the HD port themselves just seems rather lazy; it seems like Mass-Media just stuck the games onto a PS3, forced it to render at 720p, added 3D and widescreen to Jak 1 and called it a day. It feels sort of rushed, and as you play you'll feel like the port could have been improved so much more with just a little bit more time focused into adding something as simple as anti-aliasing to games that don't even use up the PS3's power. I can't really see a reason why the collection didn't use anti-aliasing in the first place, and thus, the port just seems sloppy and lazy.
on May 16, 2014
It was a real blast playing this game again. I spent a good portion of elementary and middle school playing the Jak games. The remastered edition looks great, but there are a few minor bugs.
whirlpools in the underwater lost precursor city are invisible. They still work, but you can't see them.
The moneybag mission glitched like crazy and I couldn't see where I was going; I had to use the radar to avoid crashing into invisible walls. I still beat it on the first try, and honestly it was more funny than annoying.
The metal head nest where you enter to do the final boss battle was not there the first time I got to it, it was replaced with a bottomless canyon. However, after plunging into the abyss once, it appeared fine when I went back to it.
Can't remember any bugs.
Another minor complaint:
the game was originally in 4:3 and is remastered to 16:9. Because of this, sometimes there are jumps you have to make where you can't quite see where you should be landing. It's minor, but Jak fell to his death a few more times than he would have otherwise.
Despite these flaws, I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to relive their childhood, or to anyone who has not played these games.