Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

Review: Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (PS2)

Price: $4.99, used, at Gamestop

Ebay listings

GameStop's product page

Rating: E, Violence

For every video game console maker, it it imperative to have a trademarked character that everyone equates with that company. Nintendo started in the early 1980s with Mario, the mustachioed Italian plumber. Sega got its first big license with Sonic on the Sega Genesis in 1991. The Sony Playstation had two characters: Spyro and Crash. Jak and Daxter were the next big characters to make their mark in the console wars. The Precursor Legacy is the first game in their series.

Jak and Daxter, the two main characters, are buddies in this small village. When Daxter falls into some Dark Eco, he becomes transformed into a rodent-like creature. The village elder sends the two to collect power cells to transport them to another elder who might be able to return Daxter to his original form. Jak and Daxter are a great example of a literary foil. Jak is quiet and thoughtful, while Daxter is loud and very much the comic relief of the game. Throughout the game, there's several jokes cracked, with Daxter's ineptitude as the punchline. I enjoyed how this brought the game together, and how the two main characters interacted to tell the story.

For those that have played games like Super Mario 64, this game will feel very similar. Instead of collecting stars or shine sprites, you're collecting power cells from an ancient civilization. Each time you collect one of these, Daxter will pull some sort of dance move from a backspin, to the robot, to an air guitar solo reminiscient of Van Halen. There's about six or seven animations in total, and they're a nice way to round out what some might consider the monotony of games like this. in addition to power cells, you can collect precursor orbs, which can often be traded for power cells when the need arises. I explored two "worlds" in addition to the main village, and there were approximately six or seven power cells to be had in each world. you can get four power cells in the training world, as well. people who like games with a lot of stuff to do to get 100% will like all that this game has to offer.

As I mentioned above, Daxter likes to throw out some witty comment every once in a while. Some of these are funny, while others are "facepalm" material. (For the uninitiated, do a google image search. You'll find all you need to know. Don't worry, it's safe material for work.)

There was one instance when I tried to swim away from the island where I started. A big fish swam up and ate me. Don't ask why, but I got a few laughs out of that.

While voice-overs are nice, I like having subtitles available, especially when the character is hard to understand. This game, like many others, sorely disappoints in that category. Also, if you play the game on a PS2 with a high definition video cable connected, you can see dead pixels that aren't there when you play using a standard definition cable. then again, the hi-def cables weren't around when this game came out, so that kinda answers that one.

The Verdict: Overall, the game is a lot of fun to play. I enjoyed the way the game came together. It has enough humor that adults will enjoy, while creating a game that's suitable for most families.

Parent's notes: This game, while containing violence, is minimal on questionable content. most of the violence comes from the punch and spin attacks that Jak uses on various monsters, which disappear in a flash of light. The voice overs are handy for kids learning to read, though you may want to think about what the child has played already. I'd say that kids 7 and up will have no problems with this game, 5-6 is a bit iffy. It really depends on the child.

1 comment:

ryan v said...

Mmmm, bargain bin.

Were I to actually get a console, the Crimson Tears review would have been very nice!