Preview: Jak 3

October 22, 2004


I was in EB the other day and my friends there hooked me up with the demo for the newest game in the Jak and Daxter series, Jak 3. Since the J&D games are one of my favorite series of games I spent more than enough time checking it out this week.

At lot of people didn’t seem to like the open ended, GTA clone style city hub aspect that was implemented in Jak 2. While I hated some of the non-platforming missions I thought it really stepped up the game. It did make me sad that the platforming levels were very few and far between. The addition of guns and the ability to get into high speed vehicles and speed through traffic was good for a little bit of mischievous fun.

[tableleft]It is obvious that there were some pretty big changes between the original and Jak 2. Are we going to see any similar changes in the newest release? Not that I can tell. The demo showcased 3 different levels of the new game. The first was a vehicle based mission (as long as you didn’t get it stuck which I managed to do on multiple occasions) where you drive around a sand dune desert and hunt very large metal heads. I have never driven a dune buggy but the vehicle was as out of control and reckless as I would expect my real life time with a dune buggy would be. [/tableleft][tableright][img][/img][/tableright]

The second mission was a semi platforming level that focused more on killing enemies while making jumps with odd camera angles. It had some interesting puzzle aspects that caught me by surprise. I won’t touch on them so you can figure it out on your own. Don’t think Prince of Persia puzzles because it is nothing that complex.

The third mission could be started independently or it started automatically upon beating the second one. In this mission, there is a vehicle on a set of train tracks. These tracks have numerous bridges that are currently in the up position so the train will crash into them. Your job is to traverse the mountainous terrain while shooting the targets that lower the bridges. You have a timer at the top of the screen that shows you how much time you have until the vehicle is going to plow into the next bridge.

A few of the minor things I noticed in the demo were the new cast of metal head enemies as well as the return of a few from Jak 2. You were also equipped with more than the 3 guns from Jak 2. The demo had me packing 5 guns. How does this work since there are only 4 directions on the d-pad? Pressing up on the d-pad selects the yellow gun. An additional press up will switch to the second yellow gun. A third press takes you back to the first yellow gun. Simple enough. The guns of like color do share ammo though so be careful.

[tableleft][img][/img][/tableleft][tableright]Jak is also back with a vengeance and a slew of new eco powers. Instead of just harnessing dark eco powers, Jak now has light eco powers that do things such as revive his life. Think of it as a health potion. The dark eco powers and moves you learned in Jak 2 are also back and that makes clearing a room full of metal heads a piece of cake.[/tableright]

It also appears that the graphics and game engine is the same one used in Jak 2 and Ratchet and Clank 2. The v-sync issues that annoyed me in Jak 2 are still there, but I can get past that since the story is so damn good. The story does pick up right where Jak 2 left off and continues on to who knows where. Naughty Dog has done a fantastic job with the Jak series and the storyline and I expect Jak 3 to be no exception.

Jak 3 looks like it will be available the day after Halo 2, November 10th. I currently have it preordered and as much as I love Halo, I will still make time for my platforming habit.