Jumping Jak came back and once again he and I are more grown up. However, I still remember the day I saw the first Jak and Daxter commercial followed by the third place slogan. It was poured into the living room and into my brain on a Saturday evening when I was watching some dumb and superficial show on VTM, the first Belgian commercial broadcasting station which was set up in 1989. Later that night, Daxter kept coming back asking for my help.
Yeah right, like I was going to get up before eleven o’ clock in the morning to help somebody! However, it was only 8.30 when I opened my eyes next morning and noticed I had a compelling urge to buy a Playstation 2. Of course, that was quite difficult as there isn’t a single shop in this farmer’s hole that opens its doors on the Lord’s Day. In addition, it was storming quite heavily which happens only once every fifteen years in Belgium. Rooftops were torn off, trees were blocking the road and accidents were numerous but nobody could convince me to postpone my purchase. Even not the weatherman who was urging folks not to leave the house but luckily my father falls a sleep behind the television so he didn’t hear those silly words of advice. Or perhaps he did but he knew damn-well I wouldn’t give in. You see, I do not have a lot of money (I don’t like working for it either) and therefore I have to be quite stingy. So, when I said I was going to spend my life savings on Sony’s console, he knew I meant business.
A few hours later (it was a long drive to the nearest store) I was back without money but much, much richer. However, in my condition of insane passion I forgot to buy a memory card. That stupid employee really fucked me there. Trying to sell a DVD remote controller, a vertical stand, a racing wheel but asking if I needed a memory card, no that wasn’t challenging enough for him. Anyway, I played the first one non-stop, got the second one for my birthday and now I will finally begin to review the third and last episode (Naughty Dog said they would only make three parts, despite the success of the series).
As you probably know, Jak 2 was quite innovating and created new options in the platform style of running and jumping. You had to drive around in a city and complete different assignments like bringing a package to the other end of town within a few minutes. Sometimes, you entered a specific part of the map in which some of the more classical gameplay got the upper hand, an interesting combination and a successful expansion of a classical concept. That concept did not change again for the third part but there are some incredibly fascinating new challenges waiting for you. I don’t plan on telling more but you should know something about the story.
Last time, Jak and Daxter had to save Haven city but they also ran errands for a white-collar criminal in order to get guns and stuff. Now, the city is under attack again but because of your affairs, the people think that your are responsible for it. Therefore, you are banished to the wastelands forever. Luckily, because of some help, you are found and it appears that all the banned people live in a society of their own. Of course, those people know how hard life can be and they have no use for pussies so you will immediately have to prove yourself in the arena of death! That is as far as the intro goes but the story remains gripping at all times.
Developers are kind people, so they made the game easy to begin with. The first fifteen percent are kind of a tutorial and introduction so everybody who isn’t comfortable with the techniques is given a chance to learn. That means, being the veteran as I am, I played through the first quarter of the game rather quickly but it was fun nonetheless. After all, changed or not, the gameplay is still sublime, especially because of the nice surprises and new mini-games that are built in the game which really contribute to the fun-level but I won’t spoil the effect by telling, considerate as I am.
The graphics and sound part did not improve at all, but can it still? Well, if the hardware becomes more powerful but everything looked and sounded already superb and it still does, just like the cut-scenes are still as hilarious as before. If you got a solid basis, you don’t need to change it. Does your mother use a new recipe each time she bakes your favourite pie? Mine doesn’t and I definitely wouldn’t want her to either.
For once I have to agree with Sinead O’Connor: nothing compares to Jak 3. If you are new to the series then Jak 3 will never seize to amaze you and you are up to some real challenges. If you played the previous parts, then you just have to get this one too of course. Asking whether to buy it is rhetorical and you should be ashamed to even think about it. If somebody asks it out loud, he should be mentioned in the international book of dumbest question askers ever!
It might show lots of comparison with the previous Jak II: Renegade but there are enough new things to keep you entertained and even if they had just created more missions, it would still be fun. You can talk, argue and all you want but in the end it is simple: Jak 3 is the personification of a new generation platform game. What a climax!