Saturday, January 17, 2004

Jak II

Sarah and I have been playing Jak II since Christmas, and I finished it this week. She's stuck on the final level. Jak II brings together a host of different game styles into one adventure game while keeping to it's 3D platformer roots. There are great racing levels, elements of Tony Hawk, lots of 3rd person shooting, rail shooter levels, integrated mini games like wack-a-mole, and tons of puzzles to solve. On top of that they add some good story telling, with lot's of humor.

With all these different game styles you will get stuck! There is a level, taken strait from Indiana Jones, where Daxter has to escape a rolling ball... that nearly killed me. Sarah on the other hand zipped through after a couple of tries. On the other hand, she nearly quit on the rail gun levels that I got on my third try. That's made it lot of fun to play in parallel, we've been giving one another tips on how we got through different sections.

The only major draw back to the game play is the amount of time you spend wandering around Haven City looking for your next mission. That got old real fast. Lot's of 3d Plaform games suffer from the need to back track, but they avoided that in Jak and Daxter, so I wasn't expecting it in Jak II. The game marketing made a big deal out of 'Dark Jak' a sort of supper powered alter ego for the main character, but there are only one or two points in the game where 'Dark Jak' comes in handy. The game also uses a mech a couple of places, but those levels were more annoying than fun.

Also there is some vulgarity that's seems to be there just to make the game feel 'darker', but for me it just detracts from the game. I would prefer it if Naughty Dog took a lesson from Sci-Fi and invent a curse, like 'smeg' from Red dwarf. It would fit the fantasy/sci-fi setting of Jak II more than throwing in the one or two four letter words.

Other than the noted weak spots, Jak II is a real challenge and lot's of fun executed with style. Here's hoping Jak III can keep it up.

- Peace

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