Jak3 vs. Jak2 - Rant / Comparison

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Steve Y, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. Steve Y

    Steve Y Supporting Actor

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    First I have to get something off my chest: Jak2 was a large, ambitious game which managed to transform the mood and change the direction of the series without sacrificing continuity to the first game. There's a lot to respect about it. Some of the missions are amazingly fun, the atmosphere is great, the plot and voice acting are very entertaining, and it ends really well.

    The problem was: it often slowed to a crawl as the player was forced to race sluggish boat-like transports around an overly sprawling and labyrinthine city environment. All while being shot at by a multitude of transports and turrets you can't always see. The bloated landscape of Haven City ultimately does little else than increase the amount of time you wander around aimlessly in search of the next mission icon, or repeat a run from A to B to C to A... and you grow to dislike it.

    Not only that, but the developers, possibly inspired by the success of the GTA franchise, neglected to include continue points throughout many of the missions. Thus you were forced to repeat *all* aspects of a mission over and over, whether they were laboriously easy or madly frustrating, over and over and over... as if Naughty Dog increased gameplay length by forcing players to traverse the same easy 90% of a sewer or "city transport" level although only the last 10% was the section that really challenged.

    The hardest missions of the game were about 20-30% of the way though. That was a real indication to me that the developers lost their way in seeking a balance of difficulty. Too many random elements were introduced, too many random collisions resulting in instant death.

    The game really picked up speed and variety later on, but it was too little, too late.

    If the sequel is any indication, they were aware of these problems. Because Jak3 has NONE of them. It is a GREAT game, easily on my top short-list of the year.

    Doing a search I was surprised not to find any threads about Jak3. The main complaint I have heard so far is that the game is "too easy", but coming on the heels of its frustrating predecessor, the final act of the J&D trilogy is a pleasant surprise.

    It is less frustrating, but also longer and more varied. Most people I know took longer to beat Jak2 because of the repetition of missions and the size of the city, NOT the introduction of new gameplay or environments.

    Jak3 manages to mix up the action so well that you feel challenged, not cheated, and practically every new storyline gives you a new vehicle to drive or new area to discover. It moves along at a great clip, and though I was stopped short by some missions, I always found a way through (hey, I beat Jak2, so I can do anything).

    They have addressed and eliminated every single "negative issue" I had with the second game! A mean feat. All while not sacrificing the story's continuity. Yes, you still get to drive sluggish hoverboats around a city (a much darker city... wait until you see it again for the first time!). But this is only a fraction of the game, and this time the missions know when to stop -- they are actually fun.

    There's WAY more variety, the city paths are much more intuitive, and they don't toss a multitude of the same style missions in your path... it's always fresh.

    Much of the game also involves driving Mad Max-style vehicles around a desert environment, and it is actually FUN (some later missions are very hard, but amazingly fair). The physics model for these cars straddle the line perfectly between tight and "a bit out of control".

    Also: egg collection actually affects gameplay, allowing you (nay, *requiring you*) to upgrade weapons, vehicles, etc. Also: you actually will USE your eco powers regularly this time around (dark Jak was cool in part 2, but let's face it, it took too long to activate him each time, and lasted for a very short time).

    Also, I hate to admit this -- but I found myself actually enjoying some of the "find the egg within the time limit" missions. Not only because I wanted "that gun upgrade or vehicle", but because the environment has been so successfully scaled-down and individualized that I actually had a chance at recognizing the areas!

    I heartily recommend this game to fans of the series who were at all turned off by the blind luck and repetition required to pass Jak2. You should be pleasantly surprised. It really redeems the trilogy.

    ~steve
     
  2. Rob Silver

    Rob Silver Stunt Coordinator

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    The GTA series on PS2 has safe points, they are called safe houses. You can save as many times and as often as you want as long as you're not doing a mission. People tend to save before they take on a mission. Just want to clear that up.
     
  3. Steve Y

    Steve Y Supporting Actor

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    Oops, sorry if I wasn't clear.

    In my post I'm not referring to the ability to save the game at all (of COURSE you can save your game between missions in GTA and it saves automatically in the Jak series). I'm actually referring to special "continue points" in the Jak series specifically. For example, let's say you fight your way through a platform level, repeating rudimentary tasks for the first 80% of the level, then you make it to a difficult room where you get knocked off a rickety bridge while being attacked by a burst of lasers out of nowhere and your character dies ...

    Now in Jak2, you're going to have to repeat the simple block puzzles, switch pulling, easy enemy attacking, ETC. *every single time you fail at the last room*. There's no challenge to this; it simply pads out the time you take to make it to the hard area (or whatever) again.

    In Jak3 this has been addressed, and easy (even if fun) sections of missions aren't thrown at you over and over again. You get to continue from where the challenge actually exists. The platform levels in particular are somewhat more involved than what you'll find in GTA (which actually has a living environment which really mixes up the action, so even driving from A to B is a fun experience -- but that's a whole other thread) so it makes more sense to have them here in the Jak series.

    ~s
     
  4. DonaldB

    DonaldB Supporting Actor

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    This is encouraging news. I absolutely hated Jak 2; such a massive disappointment after the joyful Jak and Daxter. The fun was missing in the sequel.
     

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