Review: The Jak and Daxter Trilogy

Before the Uncharted series blossomed into Naughty Dog’s flagship franchise, the Santa Monica-based developer unearthed a completely different sort of success with that of platformer Jak And Daxter: The Precursor Legacy.

The tale of a boy and his ‘ottsel’ found a home on the PlayStation 2 and spawned two more official sequels, as well as several spin-offs. The dynamic duo were on to something, and the series’ unique mix of light-hearted humour and high-octane thrills offered players a breath of fresh air in a saturated market.

Jak 2 and Jak 3 marked a distinct shift in tone from the original’s tongue-in-cheek attitude, but served up snappy dialogue, tight platforming, and memorable characters on a silver platter.

For the first time ever, these hits have been collected in the Jak And Daxter Trilogy, featuring stereoscopic 3D, 720p HD resolution, and over 100 trophies for the taking.

This release marks the series’ tenth anniversary and opens itself up to a new generation of gamers looking for solid old-school platforming with a modern twist.

Still, as beautiful as this nostalgic treat is, it isn’t perfect. You may find yourself unimpressed when dealing with slippery vehicles and hair-splittingly difficult patches.

Collecting fuel cells can quickly devolve into a repetitive drag, too, especially if you’ve been spoiled by the platformers of today that eschew collecting for gimmickry.

Don’t expect miracles via the collection’s spotty usage of 3D or a complete remake of the games – remember, it is, in essence, a port. The Precursor Legacy shows its age more than its successors, but sports sprawling environments and minimal load times.

It’s still easily discernible as a native PS2 release despite its aesthetic overhaul. It does pave the way for Jak II and Jak 3 to demonstrate their own brand of evolution, showcasing how the platformers have withstood the test of time, though, and that’s an impressive feat in itself.

But the buddy-buddy rapport between Jak and Daxter, the growth from each game to the next, and Jak 3’s shocking climax more than make up for the series’ shortcomings.

These are some of the past generation of gaming’s best. And the price is certainly right. So we say this with confidence: this collection is the definitive way to experience Jak and Daxter’s exploits firsthand – whether you’re a newcomer or a veteran. Pick it up and relish the classic platforming. They don’t make ’em like this any more.

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