16 September, 2011

Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

  • Release Date: 2001
  • Platform: PlayStation 2
  • Developer: Naughty Dog
  • Genre: Platformer

Jak and Daxter's own precursor was Crash Bandicoot, a character who became something of a mascot for the original PlayStation and an example of Naughty Dog's technical skills. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is similarly demonstrative of the developer's talents when it comes to character design and the manipulation of Sony's hardware: players are treated to a high level of detail, charismatic animation, and a streaming world with no loading screen in sight. The game also paved the way for Nolan North's later proliferation of vocal appearances by caster Max Casella (an actor who nowadays also has The Sopranos and Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony on his resume) as the voice of Daxter.

As 3-D graphics had been well exploited for the previous generation of consoles, standing out from the crowd in the 128-bit landscape required new tactics. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy's main innovation is the aforementioned lack of loading. Before this, games were predominantly discrete experiences lacking in holistic permanence, but here players could travel to locations visible in the distance, and challenges begun would remain in the state they were left, rather than requiring restarts. The stage props used by preceding platform games had been transformed into a living, breathing world.

That the mechanics of the game are heavily evocative of classics like Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie is simply another reason to recommend it; the polished, fluid controls ensure that simply moving Jak around is a joy. Thought is also put into the reinvention of genre cliches: The collectibles here aren't as abstract tokens but energy orbs, which make sense in the context of the plot, setting a new bar for consistency and motivation.

3 memories:

Wow boy. Good good old times!
It was my first addiction!
One of the best games I've ever played

Haha, I love old-school/classic games, like your blog man! I will check-out some of these :)

damn, i really miss this game. i could play this for days. +followed.

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