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Developer:
Naughty Dog Software
Publisher: Sony Computer Ent.
Platform: PlayStation 2
Release Date: November 9, 2004

by Josh Ferguson




First, he was thrown in jail, tortured for two years. Now, heís been left to rot in the wastelands. How will he survive? Will he survive? Well, we all know the answer to the latter one. Read on to find out what happens next in the third and final installment of the Jak series.


When Jak 3 starts up, a cut scene (which you must watch--itís a mission actually) appears in which you witness Jak being taken to the wastelands by Veger, Daxter, Pecker, Ashelin and the guards. It seems that everyone is blaming Jak for the problems that they have faced and his punishment is to be left to rot alone in the wastelands. As you can believe, Ashelin isnít too fond of this idea and hands something over to Jak, telling him to survive this. The group then leaves Jak. However, Daxter decides to stay with Jak and try to help him, as does Pecker. The cut scene continues as the three of them walk through the wastelands and eventually pass out from the heat. Moments later, a man named Damas and his soldiers stumble upon the three of them and take them back to his desert city.


When you awake you will be forced by Damas to do battle with some of his soldiers for his own enjoyment. After you win (assuming you do) you will be able to leave the city and do some missions for Damas. This is where the fun starts.


One thing that has definitely improved since the original Jak would be the combat. If you are a long-time fan of the series, you will remember that in the original the only weapons you had were your fists. However, in Jak II you were able to acquire four different guns to help you fight through your enemies. In Jak 3 you are able to do both of those, and even a little more. Instead of being able to use a measly four guns, Jak is now able to morph his guns into a completely different type of gun. For example, early on in the game you will acquire the scattergun--yes, the same exact scattergun that you are able to wield in Jak II. As you play through the game your scattergun will be able to morph into two other types of guns, one being called the wave concussor, which launches a shockwave, damaging enemies in its path, and the other one being a Plasmite RPG, which is basically a grenade launcher. When all is said and done these four guns are able to morph into three different types each. If youíre not a math whiz, like myself, that means a total of 12 guns!


Another new addition to Jak 3 is Light Eco abilities that Jak will learn throughout the game. Like its predecessor, Jak is still capable of using Dark Eco powers, which he learned in Jak II. However, in Jak 3 you are also able to use Light Eco powers. These include health regeneration, shielding yourself from attacks, slowing time and light wings (sadly Iíve yet to receive these yet so Iím not exactly sure what it does). However, the only Light Eco ability that I found to be very useful was the health regeneration. Some of the abilities, such as slowing time, had to be used at certain points in the game, but other than that I rarely used them. In all honesty I donít recall ever using the light shield or slowing time other than the times when it was needed to finish quests.


One thing that seemed to have plagued Jak II would be the difficulty. Jak II was a very difficult game in which you would be trying over and over to finish certain missions, occasionally taking nearly an hour to finish one mission alone! Like several other things that have carried over from Jak II, the difficulty is one of them. There were times in Jak 3 when I would try over and over with certain missions and still make no progress. One mission that I had an enormous amount of difficulty with was early on in the game, literally an hour or so into it, which took me about an hour and a half to beat. Seriously, I think I spent more time on this mission alone than I had been actually playing the game. The mission was actually pretty straightforward and easy. All that I had to do was race against the computer, hurdling through these red rings and get to the end quicker. However, this seemed to be more of a problem than Iíd planned, with me either missing the rings, bashing into a wall, or the computer jumping on my character and slowing me down. It was horrible. Whatís even worse is there are several more occasions when you must complete some sort of task like this one, either racing against the clock or trying to arrive at a certain destination going at speeds that are certainly hard to manage. Either way, chances are you will be spending a lot longer time playing the game than the time racks up. If my memory is correct, it seems like last time I checked my total game time was somewhere around 14 hours, however, Iím sure this is incorrect due to the fact that I have spent hours and hours on certain missions alone.


One thing the Jak series has been great with is the graphics, and Jak 3 isnít any different. The level design is top notch, as well as the voice acting. The only problem with the graphics is that since the Jak II graphics were so well done, it seems that weíve almost seen all of this before. Especially considering that a lot of Jak 3 happens in the same locations as Jak II, it all just seems to be the same thing over and over.


If you havenít played either of the predecessors to Jak 3, itís highly recommended that you do so before playing through this one, or at least Jak II that is. Even though it is possible, it is somewhat difficult to know what is going on with several characters from the other games showing up. It would help to know who they are from the earlier games. Still, this game is highly recommended for anyone who is a fan of platformer or action games.


Final Grade: 89%




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