I have a love hate relationship with HD remakes. It allows for those who missed out on a great franchise the chance of playing the games without trawling eBay for second hand copies of decade old games. It also allows the avid collector or nostalgia purchaser to extend their game libraries and relive those amazing moments in gaming history again. Sadly, the games, for the most part, are merely rehashed: the same engine is made to work on the new hardware at a higher resolution. Is this Jak and Daxter collection any different?
This HD collection puts the trilogy onto one Blu-ray disc, allowing for anyone to get into and enjoy the story of Jak and his mouthy, furred friend.
The initial menu screen allows you to choose which of the three games to play and also shows a handy little completion percentage for each. (I have yet to find how to get back to this handy menu without exiting back to the XMB though, which seems stupid.)
Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
Even with all the spit and polish, a game from 2001 is going to have a look and feel that takes a bit of getting used to. Thanks to the cartoony graphics, the visuals have aged better than its more realistic counterparts. Jak and Daxter end up on a quest to find out what is happening at the other villages, as the sage is worried after not hearing from them for so long. This first title revolves primarily around collecting objects. Power Cells allow for new areas of the world to be unlocked and are critical for completing the game. The cells are lying around in ruins or hard to reach spots and can sometimes be purchased with Precursor Orbs, little red eggs strewn all over the world. The vehicle mini-games feel unresponsive and lacklustre, but thankfully they are kept to a minimum. Players may find the lack of a minimap disconcerting, but the world is small and simple enough for this to not pose too much of an obstacle. The graphics in this title are, obviously, the most dated, with textureless expanses of terrain and several shoddy character models.
Jak 2: Renegade
Jak ends up imprisoned in a real tatty city called Haven. All forms of crime are punishable by death, and the people are downtrodden and without hope. The inclusion of a minimap, a menu map, quest log and ranged weapons go a long way in enhancing the game experience. Use of vehicles is vastly improved upon, and features more in this title. Orb collecting becomes less of a chore and more rewarding. The addition of the morph gun, an awesome little weapon, means you spend less time worrying about your health in mêlée, and a bit more time worrying about your various ammunition types. BEWARE: The tank fortress level still sucks.
Banished from Haven, Jak and Daxter have to learn how to live in the dangerous desert wasteland. This game is very mission centric, with some missions having very small room for error. Jak’s morph gun gets improved, and vehicles become a mainstay, with various vehicles having different weaponry, handling and special abilities which allow for exploration of the desert. More fleshed out than other games, with a lot more NPCs to interact with, Jak 3 shows the point in time where games started showing much higher production values.
Scoring: Note that the score is on the entire package itself and not individual games.
The controls are smooth, if a bit limited compared to today’s titles. For a trilogy starting a decade ago, Naughty Dog really made some impressive stuff. Keeping each game as it was without new features is interesting from the viewpoint of how gaming and technology changed over a short time period. As much as I can appreciate this, a few more tweaks is what I was hoping for.
Design and Presentation: 6/10.
Running at 720p is not the only thing that players look for when they think of HD. The graphics have been smoothed and made to run at a better resolution, but a little effort would have gone a long way to taking this game from another cash-in to a must-have.
While the main story of each is rather short, having all three on one disc, plus the massive number of collectables and a chock of trophies adds a lot of extra playtime to this collection.
Besides the addition of trophies and Stereoscopic 3D (let me not get into my opinions of that here), for those who are interested inPosts either, this could have been done a whole lot better. I get chills imagining these titles in the same engine as Uncharted, but I suppose that will never ever happen. These games are pretty fun, even though they show their age. If you enjoy platforming and don’t mind your games with dated graphics and some fairly annoying missions and chase-scenes, this collection deserves a spot in your library.
Last Updated: March 1, 2012