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Jak II (PlayStation 2) artwork

Jak II (PlayStation 2) review

"Jak and Daxter was a platforming game based on exploration, simple fight patterns, cool minigames, and lush colorful scenery. All that has changed in Jak II, for no longer is the Jak series perfect for kids of all ages and instead this game is only a little less intense version of Grand Theft Auto. "

Jak and Daxter was a platforming game based on exploration, simple fight patterns, cool minigames, and lush colorful scenery. All that has changed in Jak II, for no longer is the Jak series perfect for kids of all ages and instead this game is only a little less intense version of Grand Theft Auto.

The opening cutscene shows you those colorful lush scenery that you are so used to, and immediately you think that it will be the same type of game as the original. However, quickly Jak is transported to a new area and tortured. This is all before you can control Jak, and as soon as you finally gain the ability to control Jak, you will be instantaneously looking at your CD disc to ensure that the videogame store really did give you the game you asked for. The reason for this, is the immediate similiarities that Naughty Dog has made with the immensely popular Grand Theft Auto III game. For example, the map is the exactly same type as the Grand Theft Auto series, as it is a circular section in the bottom right-hand of the screen, uses logos to meet with various characters to get a mission, and then little dots to show you where you need to go to complete that mission. All of these is very reminescent of Grand Theft Auto III, and while it does not keep the game from entertaining, at first it just doesn't seem right that Jak would work this way.

Jak also has changed drastically himself. First of all, Jak actually speaks now. In the first game he was a complete mute, but after the changes appear, he speeks with a harsh almost frightening voice, like someone who has actually drastically changed. He has also aged significantly, as you can tell with his hardened no longer child look, and that quite annoying green goatee (although luckily, if you desire, you can turn it off once you get to a certain point). The last change to Jak himself, is that he now can use guns. Jak returns with all his punches, somesaults, and twirl attacks, but in this game they become insignificant fairly immediately, because once the guns arrive, you realize that it is the only way to actually work through this game. The games are very easy to control with their auto-lock on, but one (which I will let you figure out) is extremely more useful than the other ones, and is really the main way you will combat through the game. You also do need amo to use your weapondry, but getting the ammo is something that is rediculously easy, and something you will basically never worry about.

As I mentioned before, Jak II is seperated into missions where you will have to complete an objective to complete the mission, and start the next. You will get your missions from typically one of the games many eccentric characters. The missions in most cases make sense to the immense storyline, and many of them are very fun. However, travelling to each mission location is typically a chore. Missions throughout Haven City are usually seperated by a fairly long distance, so you are forced to hijack a hovercraft by pressing triangle (anothing thing that is extremely similiar to GTA) drive for about five minutes, to reach your mission. Then many of the missions will be to complete a near on impossible task that will frustrate you, make you almost want to break your controller. If you are a gamer who gives up easily, you will definitely never complete Jak II because it takes nerves of steel, and alot of trial and error. The plus side to this though, is no mission is actually impossible, and when you finally complete each one, it really does feel like a real accomplishment, and if you are a dedicated gamer you will likely stick with it, and while it is extremely difficult, it is one of the few games were you feel as if you actually accomplished something important when you beat it.

Now, despite it not really feeling like a sequel to the Precursor Legacy, this is actually an excellent game if you go into this game with a mindset that this will be a different experience. The gameplay is both simple, in that you will know all of Jak's moves fairly immediatelly, and complex in the fact that you will have to learn to execute these moves to perfection later on in the game. The storyline is completely engrossing, one of the best to ever appear on a platformer game, and the gameplay, despite it being frustrating at times, it is also completely addicting. Jak II is one of the best platformers out there, and if you are interested in a hard challenge to see how truly skilled you are at videogames, this is one test I'd highly recommend.

ratking's avatar
Community review by ratking (January 03, 2005)

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