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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
PlayStation 2
PUBLISHER:
SCEA
DEVELOPER:
Naughty Dog
GENRE: Platformer
PLAYERS:   1
RELEASE DATE:
November 09, 2004
ESRB RATING:
Teen
IN THE SERIES
Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier

Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier

Daxter

Jak X: Combat Racing

Jak II

More in this Series
 Written by Chris Reiter  on August 16, 2004

Hands-On Preview: Jak 3 or: When a Video Game Takes Viagra. It gets bigger, longer, and stronger.


What if you had one year to live? You're aware that disaster will strike at a given moment. Would you count the months, the weeks, the days, the hours, the minutes, and even the seconds of this final doom? Or...would you party hardy? Naughty Dog announced the impending death of Sony's Jak and Daxter franchise earlier this year. Having become one of the system's greatest known platform classics, even with two entries in the series thus far, it's still sad that more time won't be given to this spiky haired elf kid and his rascally bud Daxter. Despite this, it's not stopping Naughty Dog from planning the biggest and said to be best Jak and Daxter ever. Before Jak and Daxter's coming good-bye bash though, we got one final chance to get our hands on Jak, fill up our load, and explode into the game's rich and creamy platform goodness that's dripping onto shelves in November.

Expectancy is an understatement for Jak and Daxter. After saving their world from evil the first time, they got sucked through a portal into a nether region. After rescuing this place, they're blamed for treason for having befriended those who previously conspired to bring doom to the Haven City that has become their home. With Haven's tyrannical ruler Baron Praxis now dead and three major factions all ready to jump at the chance to replace his vacant spot in office, Jak and Daxter are now tossed into the wasteland where they're soon to find a new home in the rebel fortress of Spartus. Where outlander folks go to live, Spartus is just the marker where Jak's new hub of sorts begins. In addition to the still-accessible Haven City from before, Jak 3 will expand larger than five times the size of the previous game.

Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy was a big game. Jak II was huge. Jak 3 will be enormous. Inflating the new Jak five times bigger and more is insanely possible you say. Well, Naughty Dog's making it, and they say you're wrong. Though I actually had not witnessed this claim for myself, I did get a chance to zip around the newly implemented Spartus locale for a bit. From what was found in Spartus first hand, the objective was to gather small creatures while riding on the back of a new vehicle called a Leaper (or a creature, rather) that was a lizard species of some sort. This along with a list of other major upgrades in vehicle types (including a dune buggy and a space craft) will serve as an earned basis for getting around Spartus and its desert surroundings. Like and unlike the Haven before it, Spartus is a bustling city with crowds of elfin people like Jak, except they're under no one's jurisdiction. So where you could cause trouble with the inhabitants of Haven without incident (unless an armed Krimzon Guard was there to witness this heinous act), with the members of Spartus you can't as they will all be equipped with weapons of their own.

You knew Jak as some darker badass in the second game. Next up you'll get to know his brighter side as he'll gain Light properties similar but opposite to those of the Dark ones from before. With all Jak's muster to kick enemy behinds in the last game, he would eventually gain these super powered abilities to defeat high numbers of enemies around him. But with the new Light powers, he'll not only have to strike a balance between Dark and Light, he'll also be able to charge up a shield or even sprout wings and fly. Also, on the return list will be Jak's four gun rampage. Or make that twelve gun. Borrowing a little something, something from Ratchet and Clank 2's ingenious RPG weapons' system, Jak 3's switching between gadgets now will enable him to carry four guns with two extra modes of literal expansions over time (and not just in the count of ammo any more). Starting out with a shotgun for instance, the gun's stakes will raise from a 360? blaster weapon finally to a grenade launcher that can clear entire rooms full of enemies.

Going even bigger is what Naughty Dog has in mind for Jak 3. By pumping into the game more than five times the size of Jak II, Jak 3 will feature new terrain such as Spartus and the desert area that will take up most of the game's space in a big, big way. Just so you should know, of what I saw in Jak 3 wasn't much and also didn't appear extremely advanced over Jak II. But then, Jak II is already one of the most gorgeous PlayStation 2 games on the market. However, Naughty Dog still has in mind a few tricks up its sleeves to give the game that extra level of realism, in both cloth and rag doll physics. When traversing into the wastelands for instance, you'll see new touches like Jak putting his goggles over his face as well as his clothing blowing in the wind authentically. Enemies will now die in their own way too, according to the method in which they're eliminated. The inclusion of rag doll technology will make it so, and make the game a better breeder of beauty.

Final Thoughts
The Jak and Daxter franchise is a lot like a flap jack, if any analogy were to be so righteous. You've got three essential parts here. There's the syrup coated top, the burnt bottom, and the chewy goodness in between. When gamers' first were served a heaping helping of Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy nearly three years ago, they were offered the sugary top. And it was very delicious. Then two years afterward, Naughty Dog flipped the pancake over and gave us some of that buttery burnt bottom. Dark maybe, but crispy and flavorful. Jak 3 is to be our very last sampling of the game. It's the fluffiness inside that combines a little bit of both: sugar sweetness and crispy darkness. If Naughty Dog's going to serve us one last breakfast, we better savor every moment, because it's sure looking to be one of the year's most satisfying treats.


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