Published by Sony Computer
Developed by Naughty Dog/Mass Media Games
Given the wave of recent PlayStation 2 re-releases, it was only a matter of time before the original Jak and Daxter Trilogy made its way to the PlayStation 3 to receive the high-definition treatment. The series created by Naughty Dog - who had previously been responsible for the excellent Crash Bandicoot series on the original PlayStation and have since given us the superb Uncharted series on the PlayStation 3 - was a complete success right from the beginning. It felt like the natural successor to the Crash Bandicoot series and yet it had its own sense of identity and humour.
The Jak and Daxter Trilogy includes: Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, Jak II: Renegade and Jak 3. One of the most remarkable qualities of this series is how it changed during the course of these first three games. The Precursor Legacy is a bright and cheerful 3D action-platform game that both looks and feels like a successor to the Crash Bandicoot series but the style and tone of the sequel is much darker with the third being somewhere in between the two. Regardless of the style and tone of the games however the quality of them all is hugely impressive and the quality of the humour remains high throughout.
Visually the three games on offer in this Trilogy all benefit from being displayed at a higher resolution and look much sharper than they did on the PlayStation 2. The Precursor Legacy looks noticeably poorer than the other two games but in some respects that’s understandable as developers found ways of getting more out of the PlayStation 2 hardware right until the end of the console’s life cycle. On the whole the presentation of the three games is absolutely fine although you can’t directly switch between the three games meaning you’ll need to quit out of the collection and reload to choose another title. This is a minor complaint however and for the most part the compilation’s presentation is absolutely fine with trophies and 3D support added for each game.
From a deaf gamer’s perspective the Jak and Daxter series didn’t get off to a good start - in fact the first game was far from being accessible for deaf gamers - but the second and third games in the series were much better in this respect. It’s annoying that Mass Media Games didn’t see fit to add subtitles to Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy as that would have made this collection more desirable for deaf and hard of hearing gamers. As it stands you have two out of the three games on offer with subtitles and that’s not really an ideal state of affairs. Even the tutorial messages for the first game are verbal only making the game even more problematic. You can access text objectives from the pause menu in the first game which does help a little but on the whole it’s not much fun when you’re missing out on the game’s storyline and humour. The situation improves a little for the second and third games in the series with subtitled cut scenes and tutorial information being given in text but there is still a lot of dialogue that isn’t subtitled meaning you’re still missing out on some of the games’ humour.
As a high-definition remake The Jak and Daxter Trilogy is a superb collection that most will enjoy. Visually the series seems to look better with each successive game but even the first game in the series benefits from being displayed at a higher resolution. The gameplay hasn’t dated too much and still feels as enjoyable today as it was when the games where first released. The one fly in the ointment is that no attempt has been made to make the games more accessible. The main problem of course is the first title in this collection which completely lacks subtitles and provides a very poor experience for deaf gamers. Had Mass Media Games added subtitles to the first game it would have made this an essential purchase. As it stands it’s still a great collection but is far from being completely accessible.