Jak and Daxter took many gamers by surprise when it released in 2001: platforming was back and had a new modern twist. Two years later, Jak 2 took our mild surprise and ramped it up by 10: Jak turned badass.
He was on the run from the law and ready to make his enemies pay. Jak and Daxter got a dose of Grand Theft Auto, and it was the perfect recipe for the greatest game ever on the PlayStation 2.
One of the biggest appeals to the Jak and Daxter series was the portrayal of Jak, and his witty sidekick Daxter. In Jak 2, Daxter served as the comic relief to Jak’s new angry persona, and is a childhood favourite for many. But Jak 2 showcased an array of creative and engaging characters, outside of the two protagonists. Jak 2 took the protagonists to the seedy underground of Haven City, and introduced many new faces, some more likeable than others. But all were well written, and bounced off Jak and Daxter well (sometimes literally with Daxter).
Much like a Grand Theft Auto game, many of the side characters offered missions for Jak to complete. These weren’t side quests, each needed to be completed, but Haven City was open for the player to explore, allowing you to choose which line of mission you wanted to complete first. The missions ranged from taking out enemies with Jak’s new guns, running from the police, or racing around the city streets. Either way, Jak 2 never lost its roots and was a brilliant platformer, but with so much added goodness!
Difficult, but magical
Haven City was a sandbox haven for gamers. The streets were full of innocent pedestrians (a lot of whom looked identical), and the air above was full of flying transporters. These ranged from big and bulky, to fast and nimble. The player was free to do as they wished in Haven City, and that made it so magical. It was a brilliant setting to explore, with many hidden secrets.
Jak 2 was difficult though… so difficult. Some checkpoints were really unforgiving, and there’s a few missions that are famous for being nearly impossible. However, unlike a lot of platformers, Jak 2’s camera was brilliant and its controls were simple. Any difficulty was created through the challenge of the mission, not by clunky controls and unwieldy camera angles. And who could stay away from Jak 2? Difficult or not, we all wanted to complete it!
Jak and Daxter deserve to be known as the kings of the PlayStation 2. Sure, Naughty Dog has gone on to create some amazing PlayStation exclusives recently, but Jak 2 may even rival some of them in terms of gameplay. It’s been a while since a new Jak and Daxter game, but revisiting Jak 2 will never get old.