Favourite game: Jak and Daxter

Favourite game: Jak & Daxter

We’re working on a series of posts where each member of the team write about one of their favourite games. Today’s post is by Marianne.

Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
It’s so hard to pick a favourite game, but my choice is a game that has been with me for a long time. I got Jak & Daxter as a Confirmation gift from one of my brothers May 2002. Traditional gifts often include a bunad (traditional norwegian folk dress), but this game is the one gift that has been almost  as important.

Jak-and-Daxter-ReturnsLike Christopher Lee reads «The Lord of the Rings», I have a tradition that I play through the game once every year. I challenge myself and try to reach 100% completion within 24 hours. And you know what, it’s ALWAYS fun to play!

But why do I enjoy it so? What captured me a decade ago and makes me come back to it?

Well, Jak & Daxter was an early PlayStation2 title and with it came a series of technological «wonders» like:

  • Realtime changes in the environment: You could see the sun go up, pass the sky and go down. Watching the sunset from atop the stone ruins after chasing away seagulls in Sentinel Beach was nothing short of magical.
  • No loading times! Or, none that you felt intruded and took you away from the game experience.
  • Lip movement in cutscenes! I remember playing many Psone games, and the way you knew which character was talking was based off of who’s head was bobbing up and down. With the power of PS2 came both lop movements that matched the dialogue but also «complex» facial expression.
Lipsync comparison between PSone and PS2

Lipsync comparison between PSone and PS2

Then there is the gameplay itself. I love the platforming, but that they also added vehicle sections worked incredibly well. The change in pace was exciting and challenging.

But Jak & Daxter also featured powerups in the form of «Eco»

  • Blue Eco for motion
  • Red eco for extra power
  • Yellow eco for errr…shooting stuff?

Through the game you collect two different kinds of items: Precursor orbs and power cells, where the first functions as money and the other is for unlocking new areas. The process of getting the power cells was excellent: Some were hidden in the world, some could be bought, some were rewards for completing tasks, and some were for freeing all «scout flies». This meant that if you found some power cells too difficult, you could move on to the others. You didn’t feel the pressure of having to get every single one, and end up banging your had against the wall because one of the tasks were «impossible».

The two main collectibles: Precursor orbs and Power cells

The two main collectibles: Precursor orbs and Power cells

For me Jak & Daxter is a great example of a well developed ficitonal world. You experience different cultures, meet people, and (this used to be a huge thing) you could enter houses and see how they lived. The environments are diverse but still there is a sense of unity as you progress from one area to the other.

Just some of the great places and people in the game

Just some of the great places and people in the game

I could go on and on about why I love this game, but really it’s the little things. Here, let me present you with a list of examples:

  • The dance/moves Jak and Daxter do when you pick up a power cell
  • The Fisherman’s laugh after you’ve helped him in the Forbidden Jungle
  • Going up the gondola to the Snowy Mountain
  • «Aooogaaa! Aoooogaaa! Dive for those orbs, Jak! Dive!»
  • The giant fish that comes and eats you if you swim too far
  • Running away from the exploding dark crystals in Spider Caves

Oh, and the story! And the characters! How it isn’t originally about «saving the world», it just kinda ends up like that after a while.

Man, I could go on and on about this game! But I’m going to wrap it up for now. Thanks for reading!


Shadow Puppeteer available on Steam

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