#550 Jak II

Posted: 2nd August 2020 by Jeroen in Games
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887th played so far

Genre: Action/Platform
Platform: Playstation 2
Year of Release: 2003
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

For some reason, we played some Daxter before I covered either this game or the first Jak & Daxter game. It takes place between the two, before the current game, covering the two years in between. And oddly enough, having played a bit of it, it sort of spoils that first segment with what happened to you. It’s a weird way to get into the story for these, but I know the technology to expect now.

Our Thoughts

Jak II presents an interesting world that’s quite at odds with the more idyllic village start of the first game – it’s a dark city, polluted and cluttered with traffic, the invasive police being a threat at all times. When you travel outside it, you end up in these polluted places where the water seems toxic and buildings collapse as you move along. The story of fighting off an evil regime is little more that decent, but that’s fine, it’s a nice enough twist to contrast with the earlier games and others in the genre. Doing so in a more open world of this size is really quite interesting.

It’s a shame, then, that I couldn’t get more than three or four missions in. The main criticism of the game was its difficulty, and man, did I feel it. It isn’t just down to difficult jumps or hard enemies. The controls are more annoying than they should be. To do a long jump, for example (and this is the most egregious example I wrote down – and wrote down twice in fact) you need to roll and then jump just before the end of the roll. You’d better judge how far to roll, to not miss and overshoot. If you do… thanks to its checkpointing and design, half the time it leads to you restarting the level, which is just frustrating. The camera doesn’t help either, fighting you at every turn, especially in the cramped areas the game uses fairly often. It’s either that or a static camera that doesn’t let you judge your jump – and isn’t cinematic enough to make up for it.

Final Thoughts

The difficulty and gameplay of this game feel so misjudged – there’s a good world in here that feels interesting to explore, but it’s too harsh to feel fun and playable.