Returning to Jak and Daxter

DaxterI’ve owned Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, a PS2 game, for quite a while. Nearly since it came out. Which was 2001.

I beat the game a long time ago. I never did find all the power cells, but I got just enough to finish the final puzzles and beat the final boss. After that point, I didn’t play the game much. It was a long, frustrating, whomp.

Coming back to this game now, having a bit more experience with the game and things under my belt, it’s easy to recognize how fantastic this game really is. The genius lies in the difficulty, and the open world. There are no loading times. There are no levels. And you get three heart chunks. If you lose all three, you die. And respawn sometimes at the beginning of the area.

Jak has plenty of offensive moves he can use. Punches, uppercuts, spins, rolls, slams. Possibilities for aerial and ground combat. But you can’t just mash buttons to win. The spin move is perhaps the safest move, but it has a relatively small range and takes a second to resolve after you’re done spinning. The slam requires time to jump and leaves you open while you get back on your feet. The punch has a great range but thrusts you forward, potentially off cliffs and into trouble. So you have to plan every attack carefully, and pick off enemies one-by-one as best you can.

The four main types of Eco, the mystical energy, require a mastery as well. Green Eco preserves your health, but you need fifty of the little chunks to get one slice of health back. Given that enemies and boxes only drop two to four, you need to be awake or you’ll miss out. You can also collect an extra fifty at full health to essentially give you a fourth health slice, but this doesn’t carry over if you happen to die, which rewards careful play. Blue Eco makes you move faster and lets you perform a wide variety of tasks, essentially becoming a “get-the-blue-stuff, find-the-door” task but with some variations. Red Eco grants all your attack more range and power, which is a lot of fun but doesn’t remove the possibility of danger! because of the time between moves remaining present. And Yellow Eco lets you shoot enemies, which is great and removes danger at range, but is in the game only sparingly and often in close quarters.

Thus far I’ve collected most of the Power Cells for the sections I’ve gone through, which I think I maintained on my earlier save file but I’m approaching the more difficult parts of the game. I’m about to dive into the Precursor Basin and the Lost City before heading north to the Lava Pits, which is essentially the final hub for the game.

This game is really fantastic and I’m glad I came back to it.

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