Well, Jak and Daxter are back yet again on another adventure. This time it’s for all the chips. With bigger and meaner enemies, you have to use all of your resources to get through the fight of your life. The end is near, and only you and Daxter can stop the evil that is on its way to destroy humanity. Your mission is to stop Errol from awakening the dark precursor technology that has destroyed every world with which it has made contact. There are many returning characters including Keira, Samos, Pecker, Sig, and Torn, as well as new faces such as Kleiver, Seem the Monk, and Damus, King of Spargus.
You start the game with flashbacks of being blamed for what happened in Haven City (the city you had to save in Jak 2). You are banished to the wastelands where you pass out and are certain to die. Then, you are found by a group of warriors who take you to a nearby city, Spargus. There you meet Damus, ruler of Spargus. You are told you must survive in an arena to prove you are worthy of living. The arena serves as a tutorial where you learn your basic moves (i.e. roll, jump, spin, punch).
Leaving the training ground, you find yourself in a city that has been built in the wastelands, which brings shelter to those who have been banished. Here you can explore some basic changes in Jak‘s game play. The egg count, which still unlocks hidden features, has been upped to 600. They increase the abilities and availabilities of some of Jak 3‘s additions: namely its guns and cars. The four types of guns return, but each has three extensions you will earn throughout your quest. The eggs will purchase larger cartridges for an increased storage. You find eggs scattered throughout the several worlds of Jak 3. There are precursor heads that pop up that will allow you to challenge one of two types of mini-games: find the hidden egg and race through the rings. In both instances, you are given a time limit in which you must complete the task. There are several deviations of each type of mini-game. The ring mini-games have you flying, surfing, running, and riding leapers (a dinosaur spin-off) to achieve your goal. Eggs are not essential to achieve 100% in Jak 3, which you will be thankful come the 400th or so egg.
This brings you to a downer in Jak 3: its repetition. Some missions do feel like fillers. The missions that involve you driving get old quick. While using some of the off-road vehicles can be fun, especially the one that jumps really high, the handling of these vehicles does not feel very tight. Driving in the desert is pretty much a wasteland, indeed. There is a feeling that the game will never get to some solid platform gaming after the initial training. You begin to wonder under what genre Jak 3truly lies. The nostalgia of the original Jak and Daxter sets in after the first few hours. Jak 3 is not as colorful as the first, is lacking in the amount of designs of old-school platforms, and is still very heavily reliant on using guns. You can see that Naughty Dog wants to end this trilogy in not only the repetition of the game itself but that Jak 3 borrows so much from Jak 2.
In making that connection, you are safe to assume Jak 3 will be a fun game, but fun like its predecessor. Thankfully the story is not rehashed, and it does progress. The ending even hints at what could be a spin-off for a new series of games.
The sound effects and music in Jak 3 were recycled from Jak 2. Hearing the soundtrack loop throughout the entire game got old very fast. The only reason the sound effects go so well with Jak 3 is because Jak 2 and Jak 3 are both so similar. On a positive note, the dialogue and voice acting is terrific. You can’t deny that from the beginning of the Jak series (Jak and Daxter), the dialogue has always been fun and unpredictable, especially Daxter’s.
The graphics for Jak 3 haven’t changed since Jak 2. It can be somewhat overseen since the game takes place in the same city as before, only in Jak 3 they added a few new areas that you couldn’t go to before in Jak 2. Character animation is still top-notch, the very few instances you can control Daxter, you may wish that you could spend more levels with him; he’s just so fun and cute. The enemies aren’t very exciting designs, aside from the dark eco-spawned ones. The biggest dark eco creature (the last boss) does not pose any threat to your gaming skills, save that for the showdown in desert a few scenes prior.
You should thank the eco it’s still such a focal point. Jak 3 shows you, for the first time, what happens when you mix light eco with Jak himself. You get, albeit misplaced, beautiful angelic Jak, full with wings. These wings even have their downside. You can’t fly so much as pump the jump button for timely floats. Light Jak can also slow down time, which is used to solve very few puzzles (now who is Naughty Dog trying to mimic?). Dark Jak gains one new power (and it’s not the ability to speed up time, thank the precursors). He can charge up a strong, dark blast to burst through damaged walls.
All in all, the graphics for Jak 3 are done very well, but in true sequel form, it wouldn’t have hurt to improve some of the character models and exploit Jak’s powers more throughout the game.
Jak 3 is a tough game to review. You want to give it such high scores because you loved it since the beginning. But since Jak and Daxter many new platform games and franchises have entered the arena and the ante has been raised. Jak 3 can be completed in a weekend, minus the egg missions. If you are a fan of the series, you should buy the game to support Naughty Dog on a trilogy ended fairly. He retains his 8’s but does not innovate enough to earn the high 9’s. Thanks for the helping the revival of the platform genre years ago.