Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier Review

Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier

Game: Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier
Genre: Platformer
Developer(s): High Impact Games
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: November 4, 2009
Rating: T
System(s): Playstation 2, PSP

Remember the first year when the Playstation 2 came out? If you do, then you’ll probably remember a game titled Jak & Daxter: The Precursor’s Legacy. It was one of the first games, besides Final Fantasy X, that was on a DVD-Rom. It was also one of the few popular platform games on the PS2, the others being Crash Bandicoot and Ratchet & Clank. So with the newest addition to the series and a new developer – Naughty Dog didn’t develop this title, High Impact Games did it this time – will The Lost Frontier live up to the legacy that is the Jak & Daxter series?

The story behind Jak & Daxter picks up where the previous game (Jak X: Combat Racing) left off. There is a shortage of eco (planet energy, so to speak) in the world and with it comes violent storm that can tear the planet apart. Jak & Daxter go out and search for a solution to the problem, taking to the skies in search of an area called the Brink of the universe. As they reach The Brink, which literally is the end of their world, they get attacked by Eco pirates, who fight the duo for whatever eco they have. At the end of it all, their ship takes damage and they are forced to land on a small island. And that is where our story begins.

So if you’ve played any of the previous J&D games (sans the PSP game “Daxter”), then you’ll be playing the same game. Not that it’s a bad thing…if you enjoyed the series, that is. The gameplay is pretty much the same as before; you complete missions to progress the story, do side-quests to gain secret items and collectibles, and travel around to different spots. As you go through, you’ll learn new abilities that’ll be mandatory to use for completing the level.

On the other hand, the changes they’ve made in the game makes this experience different than before. For starters, if you’ve played any of the previous games (preferably Jak 2 and 3, where they introduced 2 morphed versions of the main character), then you’ll be surprised that Jak cannot transform into his Dark or Light alter ego. The reason: the area they are at has large amounts of Dark Eco (highly volatile planet energy) and transforming will have a dangerous, if not deadly effect on them. However, they made Daxter – his wise-cracking furry counterpart that’s a mix between an otter and weasel – able to transform into a dark form. It’s a form that’s only used whenever he’s separated from his partner and doused in Dark Eco.

Transportation in this game is also another mentionable change. In the past games, your main mode of transportation was ground vehicles, from motorized scooters to all-terrain vehicles (the latter in Jak 3). In this installment, the skies are the only place to travel so it’s aircrafts only. The crafts are customizable to a point; weapons and craft upgrades are available for purchase along with new ships makes it somewhat interesting. Add on the side-missions of target races and you have something more enjoyable than getting from point A to point B.

The in-game combat stays true to the legacy of Jak & Daxter…which means it’s pretty simple. From the dash punch to his spin kick, there hasn’t been much of a change. The guns are still in the game, and with it are upgrades that are scattered throughout the game. His special abilities are a noteworthy point in this game. Even though he’s unable to transform into Dark/Light Jak (oh, how I miss the Dark Punch), he has a new set of abilities that can be unlocked when you find Precursor statues. With these abilities are physical upgrades, which modify his attacks in a manner that’s reminiscent of the first J&D game. It’s a nostalgic throw-back that’s enjoyable to say the least.

Overall, Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier is what it is: a continuation of the Jak & Daxter series. If there were any major down points, it’d have to be the in-game camera. It can be a nuisance, which it was in some of the past games but a bit more obvious in this game. Also, the dialogue is another downer. Not to say that the dialogue is bad, but there’s a bit less humor on Daxter’s part. And considering that Daxter is known for his witty one-liners and comebacks (Jak 3 is a good example), it just wasn’t there this time.

Long story short: if you were expecting a major comeback of the series…you’re not missing much in this installment. It doesn’t mean that the game is bad, it just means that you’re not missing much.

Final Rating: 3 Out Of 5

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