Jak 3 comes with no alarms and no surprises: blend of action-adventure and platforming is carried over to the successor almost unchanged. Thankfully, ‘almost’ is compromised virtually from pure positives.
The first notions evoked by the new installment though are bewilderment and oscitancy. Year passed, Haven City is a battlefield in a war between good guys and ‘remaining’ metal heads,Jak 3 comes with no alarms and no surprises: blend of action-adventure and platforming is carried over to the successor almost unchanged. Thankfully, ‘almost’ is compromised virtually from pure positives.
The first notions evoked by the new installment though are bewilderment and oscitancy. Year passed, Haven City is a battlefield in a war between good guys and ‘remaining’ metal heads, evil creatures from previous installment. Protagonists, action star Jak and loudmouth ottsel Daxter, are exiled into supposedly empty desert. How metal heads are still alive and even dominating? What are the robots that allied with them? How could renown city heroes managed to get banished? The way Jak 3 discards the achievements of previous part is offensive and cheap. When you see such poorly built premise expect the main course to be slurred as well. No, Jak 3 is still extremely immersive with its trademark action quality, beautiful cutscenes, funny characters, complex local plot with multiple twists and snowballing narration. Jak is still charming tough hero and Daxter is still annoying brat. But straightforward “save the world, you are the hero”? It seems that creators got a bit tired of Jak universe and this weariness is felt in the story.
Nevertheless the path to herodom must be taken upon if you wish to see the end of Jak saga. The journey starts in a desert city of Spargus, the main hub of the final installment. Adjust to it is a harsh desert filled with brainless marauders. Like in predecessor, we are free to explore the locale but, also like in predecessor, there isn’t much to do here, other than action challenges. You can also try to find all precursor orbs, good old collectible of the franchise, if you like - they’re well hidden all over the world. Metal head orbs return too, now serving as currency to pay for challenges. Other than that, ‘open world’ of Jak 3 is as boring as it was before, filled with nothing and run by minimalistic AI. It won’t take long till you realize that the goal is to follow icons on minimap.
Icons symbolize missions. Upon visit of one, Jak will encounter some ridiculous NPC, watch through flawlessly animated cutscene and be sent to do others’ dirty work. The pool of activities of Jak 3 is bit shallower than of its predecessor but still quite long. In general, it can be divided into two categories: racing and platforming, with shooting sewn into both. Racing became more prominent and turned from discrete city maneuvering into rough cross-countrying integrated nicely into narrative. Different vehicles are present, from small but fast bug to wide jumping machine. Platforming is as classic as it can be, involves overcoming dungeon filled with enemies and obstacles. Dungeon walkthrough can incorporate a number of distinct elements: jumping puzzles, jetboarding, shooting galleries, mini racing, robot control, bosses… Platforming is still Jak’s pinnacle - fun, enjoyable and memorable.
And thus, if you for some reason a new player who decided to skip previous games, here is a verdict for you: Jak 3 is a polished game that poorly imitates GTA-series but does its own thing, platforming that is, impeccably. But why would you skip previous Jaks? Third installment is direct continuation of predecessor, filled with old acquaintances and wrapped in many plot leftovers. So playing at least Jak 2 is highly recommended to enjoy the story.
Now, it is time to talk with veterans and explain why Jak 3 is good. Quantity-wise Jak 3 bring many additions into gameplay like new skills, weapon upgrades, enemies and obstacles, but none of these additions are surprising, being felt like a one-time fix and so - easily forgettable. Quality-wise… Jak 3 fixes almost all problems of Jak 2! Racing became fun by switching from floating vehicles to traditional cars. Racing became fun because cars are different in feel and gameplay while floating vehicles are all the same. Shooting became fun because of new weapon modes, all of which being useful. Getting through the story became fun because now it is not littered with filler GTA-like missions. But the main fix of the Jak 3 is, of course, difficulty. Yes, praise the God, they tuned it down in every gameplay department. Almost no mission will require you do everything perfectly anymore, challenges no longer challenging, new weapon modes made shooting much less random-dependant, bosses no longer frustrating, dungeons feature many checkpoints. In short, game became a peaceful bliss where you can enjoy the story and platforming, the two strong suits of the game. GTA-imitating was wisely reduced to a minimum.
And yet, playing through Jak 3, I could not help but feel like talking with dying man on its last breath. Maybe it's because I played all Jaks in short interval and got glutted with them. Anyway, though being less grandiose and surprising than the predecessor, Jak 3 is much more enjoyable, which, I guess, is paramount merit.… Expand