PS2, PS3

Jak II [HD Collection]

Format Played:  PS3
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer(s): Naughty Dog
Release Date: October 14, 2003
Score: 4.0/10

256px-JakIIboxI never got to play Jak II when it came out and I can’t remember why!  however I did play and love the first game.  I recently thanks to PS+ managed to get the HD collection and went back through the first one which I finished 100% and really enjoyed it.  This really set me up for the second game, along with the outstanding reviews this game got at the time boosted my excitement to play it.

However how wrong could I be! This has to be one of the most frustrating games I have ever played.  I like games that are challenging! Ninja Gaiden and Demon’s Souls being two of the hardest games I have come across where you get a sense of achievement once you have completed difficult patches! This isnt like that at all.  The game’s major issue is the lack of checkpoints and health packs.  You progress the game with the same health you have at the very start and most enemies will take off two bars of health leaving you just four hits to die! combine this with a lack of save points or even in some cases no checkpoints at all and you have a very challenging game.  Take one mission for example which doesn’t have any health packs, no checkpoints and to top it off it has instant deaths! for a platform game does this sound like fun to you?  Games like Mario prove you can have levels which are challenging but fun at the same time! you want to play on, you want to collect things but with Jak II all I wanted to do was get to the end and I feel bad for thinking this.

It’s easier if I just create a list of things I don’t like about the game!

* The Map
The map is just awful, I can see why they have gone for an open world with population wondering around especially after games like GTA but the open work is just too big.  They have a lot of missions in area’s which are too far apart and then add time limits! there are guards everywhere and just clipping them will have every one of them trying to hunt you down and the worst of the worst is the population! try doing a timed run where you have to go through rings around the city without knowing where the next ring will be and then have endless traffic blocking the ring you want to go through! very frustrating indeed!

* The Camera
The camera wouldn’t be an issue if enemies only came at you from the front but they don’t! sometimes you will have to protect people with enemies coming at you from all directions and you wont see them until it’s too late.  Games that have this sort of thing have a more far out view which offers you a wider area to see whats coming.  Another area see’s boulders coming down a mountain while you try to get to the top but again the camera isn’t far out enough to see what’s actually coming at you.  That as well as the boulders instantly changing direction on their decent sets you up for a fall!

Who doesn’t love guns in games but here you get guns that you can’t actually target anything! just kind of aim in the direction of an enemy, pull the trigger and hope the AI finds you a target! I swear that half my ammo is wasted hitting just air and there is nothing I can do amount it!  Some lock on option should have been added!

*Too much
I like veriaty in games but it really should be added as side quests and not part of the main game.  I think JakII loses it’s platform style when forcing you to play mini games as part of the story.  There is a wack-a-mole game, Hoverboard tricks, Shooting range, Races (4 of them) and a game where you have to tap symbols as they appear.  All this could have been optional!

*Too difficult and too long
For a platform game 20+ hours just completing the main story is way too long.  If I was playing an RPG sure id expect 30hrs minimum but a platformer should be around 10-15hrs excluding sidequests.  It’s also very difficult for what it is.  I understand that completing it unlocks a Hero mode but there really should have been more options or as I said above checkpoints and health packs would have solved this issue.

*Music is dull
Says it all, there music gets annoying when walking around the city and even when you get caught although it does match the surroundings so there is an argument for the dreary music! But as I am spending most of my time in the main area something catchy would have been better


So what are the games good points?
Well I am still playing it to the end but I fear that’s more committed then actually wanting to finish it.  There is still some humour to the game but again not as good as the first game.  The story isn’t bad.

That’s pretty much it! I am not sure if my feeling would have changed if I played this on release but as it stands it’s one of the worst gaming experiences I have ever had.  Even collecting the eggs isn’t fun as they are spaced out and there doesn’t seem to be any indication as to where they are!


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