I just beat “Jak II” for the third time. It took about two weeks, (20 hours and 26 minutes, not including my unsaved time), and I got 150 out of 286 Precursor Orbs. In this game, Jak, Daxter,Samos, and Keira try out the device they found behind the door in the secret cut scene at the end of the last game. It opens up a strange portal, and once through said portal, they end up in a city, where poor Jak is thrown into prison and experimented on with Dark Eco for two years until Daxter rescues him. This game is a lot darker than the last one, but also has a much better plot. In this game,HavenCityis under the control of Baron Praxis, who claims that they are safe from the Metal Heads outside the city as long as they obey him. Of course, even inside the city walls, people aren’t safe because the streets are filled with the Baron’s soldiers, the Krimzon Guards. So now Jak and Daxter are determined to help the Underground stop Baron Praxis and protectHavenCityfrom the Metal Heads. (Oh, and for some reason, Jak can talk now, even though he used to be mute. Don’t question it!)
One thing I love about this game is the awesome story, where you learn about Jak’s past and what happened to the Precursors, among other things. (There is one big problem I have with the plot, though, which I discussed in my “Proof I Overanalyze” post. Very confusing.) And the characters are much better, too. (My favorite character is Vin who’s quite nerdy and super paranoid. For whatever reason, he thinks everyone’s out to get him, and his habit of overreacting almost caused him to shoot Jak and Daxter when they tried to save him from the Metal Heads at the Strip Mine. Luckily, Vin has terrible aim, so our heroes survived.)
While the last game was comprised of exploring levels and collecting Power Cells to advance, this game is made up of missions. A character gives you a mission, you do it, and the story advances. The main place you explore isHavenCity, which is quite big, and to get around faster, you can ride zoomers. You can just take an unused one or steal one from someone. The latter is more fun. I know, I’m bad.
You have to watch out for the Krimzon Guards, though. If you steal from them, attack them, or hit them with your zoomer, (or in the case of some missions, they suspect you of doing something naughty), they will chase and shoot at you. Plus, in some places, motion sensing turbo cannons will come out of the ground to try and take you out, as well. Then, you must flee until they leave you alone.
Anyway, in addition to the zoomers, you can later ride around on a JET-Board, which is like a hovering skateboard, but better because it’s a hovering skateboard…in a Jak and Daxter game. This is good for getting around quickly when a zoomer isn’t available, grinding along rails, and doing tricks. (These tricks get you points in the arena, which earns you Orbs, so they’re not as pointless as they sound. They’re pointful.)
One new thing in this game is when Jak collects enough Dark Eco, he can change into Dark Jak, which is a result of the experiments done on him. Dark Jak is very powerful and good at going on a destructive rampage to take out a bunch of enemies. He can learn a few powers by bringing Metal Head Skull Gems to the Oracle. The last dark power you learn makes Dark Jak giant. He actually looks quite ridiculous.
Another difference in this game is that you now have a gun, with four different mods. There is the scatter gun, with a short, but wide range, which is good for knocking enemies back, a blaster (pretty straight forward), the Vulcan fury (machine gun, hooray), and the powerful Peace Maker. These are very useful since Metal Heads are much tougher than the Lurkers from the last game.
Anyway, you get to play as Daxter in this game a little tiny bit, which is fun. Daxter is little. Cute Daxter. (But, not as cute as mini sheep, which I still have yet to find in any games recently.) You also sometimes use the Titan Suit later on, which lets you break through things, lift heavy objects, and walk underwater. Yay for it.
Another fun thing in this game are the secrets, which you unlock by collecting Precursor Orbs. Secrets include rewatching cut scenes, replaying missions, concept art, and hard mode, which I’ve never been able to unlock yet and sounds pretty impossible, considering the regular game is hard. There are also silly secrets, like making Jak’s head extra big or infinitesimally small (I always look for opportunities to use that word). You can also make Jak’s goatee disappear, if you prefer him clean-shaven.
There are several problems I’ve heard people have had with the game. For one, they say the city is too big, and the map is confusing. I never had a problem with the map, myself, and yes, the city is quite big and rather confusing, with many winding streets, but it feels more real to me that way. I find it quite fun to explore such a big place. And it is sure more realistic than those towns with three buildings that some games have. That isn’t even a village.
People also say the game is too hard, but I don’t know about that. It can be difficult, but it’s a possible kind of hard. It’s a game you can beat if you just keep trying. And I like a challenge. Fortunately, I’ve had five years to improve since the last time I played, so it’s not as bad. Actually, the hardest part, I think, are the extra things around the city you can do to get Orbs. Now those are hard. I wanted to get 200 Orbs so I could unlock hard mode, but I could only get 150 before I gave up. Strangely, I have another file with 189 Orbs and was able to get 6 more. I’ll get you yet, hard mode! Just 5 Orbs to go! But, why was I so crappy with my current file? Maybe I just wasn’t feeling very motivated. Yes, that’s it.
And speaking of collecting Orbs, I quite liked the gun course, where you can get a grand total of 36 Orbs. Got silver for the scatter gun and blaster courses and gold for the other two. Good times. I shoot the people cutouts a lot with the darn scatter gun, though, which makes me lose points. It’s the wide range that gets me. There are also a few mini games, but I just can’t get the high score on the Onin one. There’s one game you play as Daxter that is like whack-a-mole, but with Metal Heads, which is fun, but you don’t get any Orbs for playing it.
One thing I find interesting is the Precursor writing. It is also in the previous game, but there’s a lot more in this one. I have the Precursor alphabet in my Jak 3 guide, and you can translate the writing. (In many games, you can’t translate the writing because it is meaningless.) It’s fun to translate things. Some things are boring, like “rugs”, “market”, “peace” on a sign with a picture of a Krimzon Guard (pfft, yeah right), and a really random one that said “doctors”. I did find a more meaningful, rather sad message in the Power Station, though…. It was not easy to get that one. Darn moving words! Stay still!
On a very random side note, I was walking along once, and Jak just tripped. And Daxter fell off his shoulder. Side note number two, Brutter creeps me out a little. And he looks like he’s wearing a little diaper. Oh, and on yet another side note, I found a picture of Ratchet and Clank (from the series of the same name) in the part ofHavenCityoutside the stadium. I knew I’d seen it before, but it took a while to find this time. But, you couldn’t elude me forever, picture! And on a final side note, now if you swim too far out in the water, instead of getting eaten by a Lurker shark, a robot comes out of the water and shoots you. There, now you know all kinds of new, pointless things.
Jak and Duckster