Generally favorable reviews - based on 47 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 47
  2. Negative: 0 out of 47
  1. I was hooked on the gameplay and the story of Jak II almost immediately and my addiction and love of the game hasn’t subsided weeks later. Jak II is, without question, one of the finest gaming experiences I’ve ever had.
  2. 100
    The most inventive, entertaining action-platform set pieces I've ever seen in a 3D world... One of the best games of 2003. [Nov 2003, p.50]
  3. 100
    There are a lot of difficult levels, a lot of difficult enemies. It’s awesome. I appreciate a good challenge in today’s games, and JAK II offers it. It’s plenty long too, and will keep you playing for a good time.
  4. Visually the game is absolutely stunning, with in-game character models that are at least three times as detailed as those seen in the first game. Level design is artistic as it is functional. [Nov 2003, p.32]
  5. 100
    A platformer only by heritage, Naughty Dog’s latest is an enormously entertaining, surprisingly dark, and enduring shrine to what makes games fun.
  6. 100
    This may be the best adventure game you have ever played, or will play in a long while.
  7. Incorporating elements from a number of other titles, this highly polished and incredibly playable title has taken the bar and kicked it up a notch, and is definitely one of the best platformers currently available.
  8. Plays like a dream! It feels like the controller melds with your hands and you become one with it! The game is really that smooth for two main reasons: Jak responds to the slightest touch of a button and the frame rate is at a steady 60 fps and never drops.
  9. Naughty Dog's expansion of Jak and Daxter's world to include different forms of gameplay has been seamless, and should open up their adventures to those who find the very concept of platform games anathema.
  10. 95
    Of course, the story is what drives this game forward, but it's the perfect blend of platforming elements and action-shooting that are so good, feel so right -- and with guns that feel so good -- that in the end, I don't give a damn what genre this game actually falls under.
  11. 95
    I have to be honest with you – this is what you own a PlayStation 2 for.
  12. What do you get when you put together solid controls, a fun story, great action, beautiful graphics, and a game oozing with character? Jak II, one of the best PS2 games of the year.
  13. Matches the scope of the "GTA" games but still manages to look incredible. Jak II is heavily detailed, highly stylized, and holds a lot of personality.
  14. 94
    With over 20 hours of core gameplay within, and every minute of it more fun than the last, I can't help but enthusiastically recommend Jak II.
  15. Having the freedom to tackle challenges in a less linear fashion is definitely a strength, but the open-ended play that comes with traversing a massive city is more of a curse than anything. [Nov 2003, p.136]
  16. It's a fan-frikken-smabulous game. It's the kind of game that'll feed your gaming needs and desires no matter what level you enter it at... The best platform... sorry, character action game on PlayStation 2 to date? You bet your spring loaded arse it is.
  17. Great graphics and animation, A+ voice acting, and fun gameplay makes Jak II a definite winner.
  18. This is the evolution of platform games that we've waited nearly ten years for, which is great news for everyone.
  19. The gameplay is rewarding, the story twists and turns more than you'd expect from a game like this, and everything comes together to produce one of the best-looking, best-playing games on the PS2 so far.
  20. For what it is - the Jak universe plugged into a juiced "GTA" mold - Jak II is damn close to being a perfect game. You just have to want this game. I took some convincing, but the way has been opened. I'll live with the boogie. [Oct 2003, p.64]
  21. This is a long game, trial and error or not. The problem is you may become so frustrated that you have to play this game in spurts or destroy your controller. I'm glad they made this game more difficult, but it borders on the maddening.
  22. A great storyline, excellent delivery, top-notch voice acting and fun, varied gameplay help Jak II continue Naughty Dog’s tradition of high quality games. It’s simply not to be missed.
  23. This game has everything for everyone whether you’re into those car-jacking ways, killing innocent pedestrians, or just enjoy humor and huge exploration. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this title.
  24. While some players might not like the drastic change from the original Jak and Daxter, I found it to be very fun and absolutely loved it.
  25. Had Jak II delivered a gameplay revolution as dramatic and massive as its graphics (BEST LOOKING ACTION PS2 GAME... EVER!), excellent sounds (which take into account non-English speaking players), buttery-smooth controls and solid interface this could have become the PS2 equivalent of "Super Mario 64."
  26. Curse Naughty Dog for creating what is - at times - an almost unplayably hard game, but if you can dig deep into your well of persistence and climb this mountain of a game, you'll get a great view of the most involving, rewarding and momentous platform game ever created.
  27. It's full of charm and character, it’s fun to play and includes a wide range of gameplay styles, more importantly we can’t think of a single aspect that lets it down – truly "Jak2" is a perfect game.
  28. Graphically, Jak II resembles a colorful cartoon, with a hero that moves with grace and agility, and an intelligent camera that never gets in the way.
  29. 90
    Our other issue with the game is that the city where the game takes place, despite having hundreds-if-not-thousands of people, feels very empty.
  30. Extremely colorful and detailed, the environments and character models will make you think you're playing an Xbox game - and an excellent Xbox game at that. The environments are huge and imaginative.
  31. The execution may be flawed in a few ways, but the game’s adorable charm and earnest attempts to keep things fresh are just enough to make it a better game than its successor in nearly every way.
  32. The addition of weapons and dark powers to Jak’s arsenal of attacks make combat more intriguing; however, the grandiose Haven City is quite the opposite, serving only as a presentation piece and an inhibitor to tackling the superb gameplay found in the missions.
  33. It tries to to do too much at once, and while it generally succeeds, there's still some room for a bit of spit and polish.
  34. Less successful is the convoluted city design that forces you to spend considerable time in transit between levels. Put up with this annoyance - the missions are an addictive blast. [17 Oct 2003, p.L2T 20]
  35. These new free-roaming, carjacking Haven City segments are both Jak II's triumph and biggest failing. They're a triumph because they add variety and give you some control over what you tackle next, yet they fail because they're punch-you-in-the-gut difficult. [Nov 2003, p.182]
  36. 8 / 8 / 8 / 8 - 32 gold [Vol 796; 19 Mar 2004]
  37. Still derivative, and slightly bizarre, but better than the previous game, Jak II is a trip worth taking. [Nov 2003, p.82]
  38. 80
    It's remarkable how skillfully so many different ideas are blended together into one game. It's equally impressive that it looks and sounds great, has no noticeable load time, tells a decent story, and doesn't saddle the player with restrictions on where to go and what to do.
  39. The nuisance of the overworld and the poorly controlled vehicles are the biggest drawbacks, causing a good deal of headache. And yes, the game is much more difficult than the original.
  40. It’s undoubtedly a bold (if not brazen) attempt to entertain, and while Gamestyle found itself striving to collect every last item from the first title, it is hard to see the same happening with this one. Which leaves its technical achievements looking rather muted.
  41. Featuring more complex subject matter and a much grittier feel than virtually every other platformer out there, Naughty Dog has fully capitalised on the popularity of 'mature' games by producing a similar title that younger players will legally be allowed to play. But there's something about the GTA-cum-platform gameplay that just doesn't gel. [Nov 2003, p.112]
  42. Despite what Naughty Dog's crack programmers might think, you can't encode fun-ness into a videogame. Yes, there's lots of 'fun' to be had here, but is it really more fun than the original? Probably not. [Nov 2003, p.96]
  43. Its charms, however, such as they are, are mostly lost on me.
  44. It isn't proper to expect us to be perfect in order to make up for your game's many imbalances... Life might not be fair, but I certainly expect my games to be. [Nov 2003, p.128]
  45. I personally could have done without the majority of the hovercar and weapon-based missions, but overall the game works well, looks and sounds fantastic, and provides many hours of mostly enjoyable gaming.
  46. 60
    These new elements seem to have been thrown in merely for the sake of being different, and the result is a confused mishmash of ideas that is more banal and frustrating than fresh or exciting.
  47. Lacks the cohesion, pacing, and spirit the others possess. All else being equal, those missing qualities put Jak II squarely at the rear of the pack.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 179 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 61
  2. Negative: 3 out of 61
  1. Jan 26, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. I tried to like this game, as much as I could. It got to the point where I couldn't continue to force myself to play this game. This game is almost like a GTA knock off and I absolutely hate it. Many would disagree with me, but hear me out.

    The first game was a Action-Adventure Platformer where you seek for powercells and acquire them through various trades and challenges. The objective was liner and straight forward, go north in search of Gaul (However his name is spelt) and attempt to change Daxter back. The ending of the first game lead to a door that led to a cliffhanger for the next squeal. The game was absolutely beautiful and loved every minute of it.

    At the beginning of Jak II, you are given the opening cut scene of what is a giant ring with no explanation of it. Jak presses a button and is mysteriously attacked by a 3-eyed rhino of a monster which then leads to Jak, Daxter, the Green Sage, and Kaira (Again, not entirely sure of the spelling) off into what is a rift gate and are separated. Jak and Daxter are transported to a city which Jak gets captured and is submitted to Dark Eco injections for the next 2 years. Daxter breaks Jak out, and you are sent into the city of Haven.

    The first thing I noticed during the tutorial was that the sound effects of Jaks jumps weren't of him from the first game. Next, Jak can transformed into some sort of super being of dark eco and is sent upon the city. After, you are greeted by some prick who never tells you his name and is sent mission after mission to some place without any story progress; at least I felt like there was none.

    A broken game feature was the checkpoint system; yes, its Effing broken. You could be more than 75% done with the mission, but if you die sorry. Go back to square one with the same amount of ammo that you had from where you died. Oh yeah, you're given an Effing gun.

    Instead of being an Action-Adventure, Naughty Dog decided to say "Hey! Lets switch genres and turn it into a shooter! All the kids love shooters!" Yeah, not the kids who played the first game. This game turned into a shooter with very little platforming. And for the very little platforming you can do, they also decided to say "screw barriers and invisible walls! If you fall out of the map! Tough luck! Back to square one!"

    Hover cars are another broken feature in this game due to how weak like paper mache they are. 3 hits into some object and bye bye car; it doesn't make it easy if theres another hover car 2 feet away from you and everywhere. For the racing mission in 3 minutes, freaking impossible! I kept my car running and I still couldn't make it no matter how many different routes I took.

    These are my problems with Jak II. The game is utterly horrible. If you've played the first game, stick to the first game please. You're not missing much. If you really want to know the story, go look up on youtube or where ever if you want to know that bad. But it's seriously not worth your money.
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 11, 2012
    This game should be shortlisted for worst sequel of all time. The first Jak & Daxter game is a masterpiece, and to follow it up with this crapThis game should be shortlisted for worst sequel of all time. The first Jak & Daxter game is a masterpiece, and to follow it up with this crap is offensive. In the first game, our protagonist Jak is silent throughout the entire game, and this worked really well when coupled with his hyper active partner, Daxter. However, in this game, they gave him a voice. And now he feels like a completely different character. I understand why he has had a complete overhaul, but the reason why he has had a complete overhaul shouldn't even be a part of the game. This is nothing like the first one. This is like a heavily watered down Grand Theft Auto. Naughty Dog made vehicles a huge part of this game. It's a shame they clearly don't know how vehicles should work in video games. They're a complete nightmare to control, and what makes it worse is that you need to master the terrible vehicles in order to progress in the story!

    The only positives I can take from this game is that the introduction of guns made it more fun (more Ratchet & Clank-esque) and that while the story ruined what was a perfectly good mascot for the PS2 era, it was still entertaining and unpredictable. I love Naughty Dog. Hopefully they never screw up another series as badly as they did the Jak & Daxter one.
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 22, 2010
    If you thought Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy was a great game wait till you get a taste Jak 2. Jak and Daxter are back in their brandIf you thought Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy was a great game wait till you get a taste Jak 2. Jak and Daxter are back in their brand new adventure and this time its bigger and better than ever. The story picks off right after you completed the first game where, Jak and his friends, Kiera and Samos are testing out the Rift Rider and Precurspr Rift gate that you opened after collecting all of the Precursor Orbs in the last game. As you go through you get transported to a place called Haven City which is under command by Baron Praxis. Jak his captured and 2 years have passed since. Daxter manages to find Jak and help him escape, only to find out that Jak had gone through experiments by Dark Eco which can make him transform into a dark beast. Not only that but his personality has changed him into a teenage Jak. The gameplay is a lot different than the first game. You start off in the city and are given tasks to do by people. Once you've completed the first task, you move onto the next one and the next one, so it is like a step up ladder really. There are some challenges too which earn you Precursor Orbs if you pass them. You can ride new vehicles which you can steal from others, some are faster than others so you can get to places quicker because there is a lot of going back and forth in this game. Don't steal any of the krimzon guards vehicles or run into them otherwise the city will go on alert and they will start chasing after you and try and shoot you, try to outrun them if you can but its a real pain and wastes time. In fact its a sort of a GTA spin off this game. There are more tasks to accomplish and tougher ones too. You have new moves as well, spinning and punching is still there but this time you can carry a Rifle. The Rifle has 4 different types of shots and you have to collect these as you progress. And if that wasn't enough, when collect a number of Dark Eco you can transform into a dark beast which makes you unvulnerable for a short period of time and you can go through and smash your way through hundreds of enemies to make your job a much easier. If you collect metal heads you can trade them in to the oracle and he will give you new abilities for your beast form. You can ride on a hoverboard which can float on water and there is a skate arena where you can pull of a few tricks (a bit like playing those Tony Hawk, SSX and Matt Hoffman games). There are hover races too which are loads of fun, there are more bosses this time and for the first time Daxter is a playable character too. This game has virtually everything to make this game stand out and I loved absolutely every bit of it. Bigger gameplay, more challenges and better moves. The graphics are done beautifully and some of the level designs (one of my faviroutes is the one where your inside a temple) are very impressive. The music is perfect and the voice acting is great, especially Daxter's who is as funny as ever. There aren't many sequels out there that are as good as the first but this one is way more superior to the first, so if you thought Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy was a great game wait till you get a taste of Jak 2 Full Review »