Jak & Daxter is a game series by Naughty Dog introduced in the early 2000s. Mario 64 took the gaming world by storm, and Naughty Dog wanted to make their own rendition of a 3D platformer. They wanted to make a game that was seamless with no loading times, and they ultimately achieved this by creating a game with their very own programming language. The product was Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy for the PS2. Coming up are reasons why Jak & Daxter is an excellent series that deserves to be brought back into the gaming space.
Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
Easily the most whimsical of the bunch, the original Jak & Daxter is a platformer through and through. You collect power cells and precursor orbs in the world, giving you the means to progress through the game. Here are some aspects of the game that make it stand out:
- Concise & charming cutscenes: No cutscene overstays its welcome and they are super enjoyable to watch due to the comedic quirkiness of it all.
- It is fun to traverse: Controlling Jak is among the best feeling maneuverability any video game as ever offered. His double jump is graceful; his roll jump is addictive to pull off in succession; his spin kick to fine tune his landing is awesome; I could go on and on. Everyone should experience it.
This is my personal favorite of the series. Darker than the last and GTA-like, Jak II presents a story that perfectly complements its expanded gameplay.
- Everything about Jak 1 is present, but with guns & vehicles: Jak 1 was already addictive gameplay-wise; then, Naughty Dog introduced four different guns as well as vehicles that offer arguably the best hijacking system in any game. You can be driving your hover car on second, crash it into an enemy at full speed, double jump out in the nick of time, and hijack a civilian’s car midair as if it was all one motion. There is absolutely nothing like it.
- The story puts no pressure on the player: The cutscenes are concise and many times comedic. They are there to enhance the enjoyment of the player. Just flip the game on, go to the waypoint, watch the cutscene, and maybe cause a bit of chaos on the way if you feel like it.
Jak 3 was an improvement on Jak II in virtually every conceivable way, Jak X was a nice racing spinoff, Daxter was one of the best PSP games, and Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier…that was handled by a different studio. While it was, in some ways, like the previous titles, The Lost Frontier just wasn’t the same.
Jak & Daxter is a beloved series for good reason. Naughty Dog was at one point going to continue the series but were not capturing the essence of it. Thus, they went on to make the universally adored The Last of Us. With the change in game style at Naughty Dog over the past decade, Jak & Daxter seems to not be a fit for them anymore.
However, Crash was brought back to critical approval and Insomniac Games did wonders in remaking the original Ratchet & Clank. I am sure developers of the original trilogy would love to head up a Jak & Daxter project and team up with someone like Insomniac Games for more manpower and expertise. With the backing of Sony, the dream of a sequel could very well be a reality. Let’s keep on believing Jak fans!
Image by Naughty Dog