Jak II
Game Info
Playstation 2
Naughty Dog
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Comic Mischief, Mild Language, Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes
The Good

• Grand Theft Auto 3 gameplay
• Great graphics
• Superb gunplay

The Bad

• Very hard
• Awkward camera positions


Back in 2001, Sony released their highly anticipated platformer called Jak and Daxter. The game took the great elements of Mario 64 and the Crash Bandicoot series and turned it into one of the best platformers to ever grace the PlayStation 2. Nearly two years later, Naughty Dog has done it again with its sequel to one of the greatest hit titles for PS2. Like the first title, this one took elements from games of the best caliber such as Grand Theft Auto 3, Tony Hawkís Pro Skater, and Ratchet and Clank. The end result is this super sequel known only as Jak II.

Gameplay - You cannot look at this game and not call it a Grand Theft Auto 3 clone because this is what it is. This is what also sets apart this game from any other platformers to date. Itís non linear gameplay is spectacular and you just donít expect car-jacking in a platform game. Everything you experience from Grand Theft Auto 3 is in this game, plus more. The setting is in the future in a gigantic city that is satiated with Communist like-rule. The city is also full of very animated characters that give you missions to complete much like in Grand Theft Auto 3. Tony Hawk 4 elements are also plentiful in this game. You get to roam around the city and fool around as much as you want while the missions are in progress. You are also given a hover board which you can use when you unlock it. You can also have a chance to compete against your own high score in a Tony Hawk like-level in Haven City. This truly is a great feature added to an already great game. Then thereís the gunplay. I canít see beating this game at all without the four guns you get. This is where the Ratchet and Clank elements kick in. Gunplay in Jak II is fast and handles pretty well. It adds that certain kick in the game that makes it stand out from all the rest.

With all the positive things I have to say about Jak II, there are a few negative aspects that makes me want to punch the person next to me or my TV. For one, there is a lot of backtracking. This gets boring after awhile since youíre doing it in a big city. Some might find handling the hover cars a tad slow and sluggish and some might even hate it. My main problem with this game is its degree in difficulty. I find myself doing one mission at least five times. One of the culprits to this is the unforgiving camera angles. Yes, you can control the camera angles with the right analog stick but it becomes some sort of a hassle when you are just surrounded by metal-heads and guns are a-blasting.

The visuals are one of the best Iíve seen in any system period. You can just stay up all night pondering how the hell Naughty Dog was able to achieve this visual astonishment with basically no loading times even between going into a new part of the city [not like in Grand Theft Auto 3]. The characters could not have been designed better and the motions of each person is very fluid and feels like youíre watching a computer-generated movie. It even amazes me that the wandering pedestrians in the streets look as good as the main character. Truly this game holds visual bliss.

The sound could have been a bit better while youíre wandering around Haven City. Like for instance, have a better soundtrack. But this isnít really a problem because the great voice acting during the beautiful cutscenes rivals that of which Final Fantasy X holds. I only wished that the pedestrians have other things to say other than screams when you are torturing them.

Replay wise, the most youíll get out of this game is a good 25 hours if you just play through the story. But donít get me wrong, those are 25 hours well spent. You also get a hefty amount of fun, little distractions like the hover board mini game or the sort of fun game in the shooting gallery. You get to look around the city for side quests or around each of the new areas outside of Haven City for precursor eggs. You can then use these eggs to unlock new features in the game like the ability to turn off Jakís goatee or even have unlimited ammunition.

In conclusion, Jak II has got to be one of the must-have titles for the PS2. Not only does it live up to the hype but surpasses what the first game did in merely everything. If platformers or kiddy games turn you off, then give this a rent. But this game has everything for everyone whether youíre into those car-jacking ways, killing innocent pedestrians, or just enjoy humor and huge exploration. Either way, you canít go wrong with this title.

- - Earl Ferrer

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