Friday, January 18, 2013

Jak and Daxter (PS3 HD Collection) Impressions

I picked up the Jak and Daxter HD Collection for fairly cheap a few months back, and was hoping to get around to it one day.  I finally cracked it open a few days ago, and I've almost beaten the first one and recently started the second.  I figured I would throw out my impressions of the game, even though I'm sure most people won't agree with me.

The first game is pretty rough.  Not graphically, since it is an 11 year old game, I let that kind of stuff slide, HD or no.  I'm talking about most of the rest of it.  The camera is horrid.  I'm betting it's a holdover from the first release, since most (if not all) 3D games until recently had super crappy cameras.  It's still really frustrating and hard to use.  I don't like that right and left for the camera are reversed from what I like, but if I change that, then they are changed for the first person view too, which I not how I want.  So...stuck either way.

Really though, the platforming is what drives me crazy.  Jak has easily one of the worst double jumps in a game from recent memory.  You can only do the second jump during a certain part of the jump, and if you mistime the button, you get nothing, which probably dumps you into a pit.  I really, really, hate his double jump in Jak and Daxter.  I'm literally at the end of the game, I have to free the Green Sage (the last one, I may have the color wrong), and it's so annoying to jump up to where I have to free him, I stopped playing the game.  I just couldn't take it anymore.  The camera and the double jump tag team me something fierce, and I just moved onto the second game.  It's that bad for me.

There's a few other gripes, such as they don't really tell you any of Jak's abilities.  At one point Daxter commented that I should hit the logs from below, but I didn't figure out until later exactly how to do it (punch and quickly jump).  And it's not even the way you are supposed to do it (duck + punch).  I read an FAQ to learn there was a roll jump.  I don't want them to hold my hand, but I would like to know that these things are there (the tutorial for Jak II is much better in this regard).  These might be in the instruction booklet, but I've recently stopped reading those, since they cover the controls in the games most times, and companies have stopped making decent instruction booklets if they even include them at all.

Is there anything I do like in the game?  Yes.  I like collecting stuff, and it's really awesome that they have counters for every area so you can narrow down where you are missing stuff.  Even if it has loose controls, it's cool that you have several levels on the hover bike (although I don't like the platforming with it).  The game definitely has character, as the animations are good and Daxter, while annoying, is a great counterpart to silent Jak.  I'm particularly fond of the different animations when you acquire a Power Cell.

I know that the game is old, so a lot of these issues are legacy.  By that token, I expect most of the fans of this game have "nostalgia goggles".  I'm also not a big fan of platformers, so it's entirely possible that jumping fans may love this game.  It feels a lot like Super Mario 64, which is another game I don't like too much.  I think I like Jak and Daxter better, though.  The game also seems pretty short, since I got near the end in two or three days.  That would bother me a lot if I had bought (or played) the game when it came out.  Sometimes I do like shorter games, since I can get through the backlog faster, so it wasn't a problem for me, but would have been "back in the day".  So if you are a platformer fan, you will probably like this game, but I feel it didn't live up to its hype.  I've just started Jak II, and I'm hoping that ends up better.

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