JAK II - Mania.com

Game Review

Mania Grade: A

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  • Platform: PlayStation 2
  • ESRB: Teen
  • Genre: Action Adventure
  • Players: 1
  • Online: No
  • Developer: Naughty Dog
  • Publisher: Sony
  • Suggested Retail: $39.99
  • Graphics: A
  • Sound: B-
  • Gameplay: A
  • Replay: A
  • Fun Factor: A+
  • Reviewer's Wild Card: A+


Jak and Daxter strike back

By James Stevenson     October 09, 2003

It has been said at times that the 3d platformer genre is all but dead. While I don't believe this is true there is only so many variations that can be taken on the classic, exploring and collecting in the same fire, ice, and water-themed levels. There hasn't been much originality heck, the big improvement to MARIO SUNSHINE was the water backpack, and the fans favorite part of the actual gameplay was the super-hard areas without it.

Naughty Dog knows this. Jason Rubin, the president and CEO knows this. A rehash of JAK AND DAXTER won't satisfy gamers looking for a sequel to one of the best PlayStation 2 games released. So an entire shift in how the game plays, weapons, and new vehicles turn JAK II into a force to be reckoned with.

Jak and Daxter start the game by using one of the artifacts from the first game. They are blasted into the future, and when they arrive, Jak is quickly imprisoned. 2 years of torture late, Daxter frees Jak. But two years of imprisonment have changed Jak, he's much darker now. He's been infused with Dark Eco, and now collecting that substance allows him to transform into a Dark Jak, a very powerful version that could seriously put the hurt on enemies. It's similar to the Devil Trigger in DEVIL MAY CRY.

In addition to his newfound ability to transform, JAK also has some other cool new toys. The first of which is a set of guns. As you progress through the game and complete the missions, new guns will be made available. You can easily toggle through these weapons with the D-pad, quick changing from a shotgun to a precision rifle if needed. Jak also gets a hover board that can be used at any time. You can also hijack vehicles in the city hub world.

Sound a bit like GRAND THEFT AUTO? It is. The game plays a lot like it. There is a main city world, filled with police and pedestrians, as well as vehicles. You can steal any vehicle from the streets to help you more quickly navigate the epic city. The game is mission based in a way similar to GTA. You go to someone, who reveals more of the story and gives you an assignment.

Basically JAK II has a lot more of everything. More enemies, more challenge, more story, more missions. The thing is has less of? Collecting. It works out really well that you this game is a bit more linear than its predecessor, while still being somewhat non-linear in allowing you to choose your tasks, or just goof-off in the hover board course.

This game is fairly difficult too. There are a lot of difficult levels, a lot of difficult enemies. It's awesome. I appreciate a good challenge in today's games, and JAK II offers it. It's plenty long too, and will keep you playing for a good time.

The graphics are absolutely beautiful. From the beautiful architecture to the little effects like dust, everything is extremely well done. The animation has always been a highlight of Naughty Dog's games, and JAK II is no exception, with some of the best animation you'll see in a videogame.

The sound isn't really that great while the voice acting is quite good, the music isn't really anything to speak off, nor are the sound effects. However, Dolby Pro Logic II makes up for some of the shortcomings.


JAK II is one of the best PlayStation 2 games available for this holiday season. It's difficulty, variety, and storyline make it a must-play for any PS2 owner.


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