Another pack of linked older games gets the HD treatment for PS3… and why not?
Naughty Dog, makers of the excellent Uncharted series, actually rose to fame for creating Crash Bandicoot. But after that, before they turned their hand to treasure hunting adventure, they made some other games involving a pointy-eared humanoid and a talking weasel-type creature. And they were pretty damn good.
Whilst not the definitive collection, the Jak & Daxter Trilogy surprisingly consists of three games: Jak & Daxter: The Pre-Cursor Legacy, Jak II: Renegade and Jak III, all of which found their home originally on the mighty PlayStation 2. These three games may not hold such a hallowed place in the hearts of gamers as the Tomb Raider Trilogy say, or the more recently released Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. But for the fans of the ever-changing series, this collection will bring back fond memories and will be desperately wanted.
These three games have all been given the HD treatment to bring them more up to date, which has been surprisingly successful, leaving all games looking quite impressive, especially Jak III which easily looks the best of the bunch. The inclusion of trophies and support for 3D has also been added.
But what of the games themselves? What can they offer to the modern gamer, particularly those who never played the originals?
The first game in the series, Jak & Daxter: The Pre-Cursor Legacy, was released way back in 2001 and introduced the player to the world of these two heroes through a brightly coloured platform adventure. At the time, the game was very well received for its use of a large open world, rather than separate levels, which was kind of a big deal back then, especially for a platform game.
Jak & Daxter offers an impressive variety of gameplay distractions, from the platformer staple of collecting items (in this case Orbs) to some rather good vehicle sequences. Whilst the game doesn’t seem as ground-breaking now, it still manages to be both fun and entertaining.
Jak II: Renegade from 2003 made some interesting choices in the basic game design. It had a marmite effect on gamers, with some loving it whilst others hated it. The reason for this change in direction could have had something to do with Grand Theft Auto III, such are the comparisons.
The game centered itself around Haven City and was much less focused on platforming and more on combat. It also threw so many different ideas at the player that often they would keep playing just to see what on earth was going to happen next. Oh, and Jak was moody and sported a beard.
Then the third game, the more simply titled Jak III from 2004, almost tried to make peace between the previous two games. It eased up on the attitude a touch, but never quite managed to be as light-hearted as the original game. The result was an uneasy combination of the two previous games that never quite managed the same level of success.
Whilst the Jak & Daxter Trilogy may be hitting the nostalgia switches on many gamers, and will no doubt be the reason for the majority of sales, this package should not be shunned by those who never ventured into the lives of these two unlikely heroes before. They may not hold a candle to today’s modern games, well most of them anyway, but all three games still manage to be thoroughly enjoyable, and it is possible to see how these games influenced some of the current generation greats.
Three titles on one disc offers obvious value for money, no matter how old the games are. Visually, all three games look good in HD, but no amount of polish will stop them looking dated. That being said, if you can look beyond the visual style, the Jak & Daxter Trilogy offers an enormous amount of variety in gameplay and hours of gaming fun.