Jak and Daxter and Everyone We Know

Another team of anthropomorphic aliens gets spit-shined for the PS3? Fine with me!
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: March 3, 2012
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After years of denying newer PS3 owners access to classic PS2 games with their insistence that no one wanted to play them, the true nature of Sony's intractability became clear when they started announcing HD remakes of, you guess it, classic PS2 games! It all started with God of War, and has since broadened to include not only Sony-exclusive properties like Sly Cooper , ICO and Shadow of the Colossus and Metal Gear Solid, but also stuff from other parties like Splinter Cell and Tomb Raider. Now that the floodgates have been opened, there are a plethora of new collections coming down the pike.


This time around, we get to see another pair of Sony PS2 mascots gussied up for the new generation. Between their early offerings of Crash Bandicoot and current franchise Uncharted, the fine folks at Naughty Dog brought of the delights of Jak and Daxter, a wisecracking duo with a penchant for platforming. Within the three Jak and Daxter games released on the PS2, you can see the evolution of gaming playing out in the themes and styles of this trio of terror and trauma (oh wait, I meant to save that line for the Silent Hill collection!).

Before I break down each game, let me take a minute to talk about the quality of these HD ports. As has become standard, they've been locked into a nice frame rate in a widescreen aspect and while the textures haven't been redone, they've been sharpened and brightened up to really pop. No, they don't look like they stepped out of this generation, but they have that "PlayStation 2.5" appearance we get from these remakes. The sound has also been punched up a bit, and the games musical scores will rumble the walls of your house a bit more than they would of the first time around.

One thing that will likely cause a bit of frustration is the controls. Since these games don't update to modern control conventions, it may come as a bit of a shock how we controlled stuff last generation. Camera controls are awkward and vertical camera control seems to remain inverted in all games regardless of the setting. Buttons also don't do what you might expect in the menus (lord knows how many times I pushed O thinking it would back out of a menu and it instead drilled me further down into them), but all of this becomes second nature once again if you aren't jumping between modern games and these while you play.

All the games ran flawlessly for me with great frame rates and only one single freeze somewhere in Jak 2 that was mitigated by the games (sometimes) generous autosaving. It's a much more polished collection than Sly Cooper, where bringing up the pause menu would drop things back to PS2 resolutions and the audio quality was spotty at best. As this updating process matures it'll hopefully increase the range of titles being given this treatment.

Since the games are undoubtedly viewed with a new perspective half a decade or more after release, and because the games themselves change atmosphere and genre with each release, I'm offering thoughts on each of the titles in the collection and linking back to Sam Bishop's thoughts back when the games were first released. I recommend reading both reviews to get a nice perspective.
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