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.