After a long wait the seminal PS2 Platformer trilogy from the wizards at Naughty Dog has finally graced the PS Vita. Although the games are excellent with great humour, level design and graphics, this port is unfortunately a mess and the trilogy should only be played on the PS3 version.
Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, which launched in 2001 was arguably the greatest platformer of the PlayStation 2 generation and still holds up perfectly 13 years later. The graphics are great and the open world platforming is a rare treat even for today’s gamers. The game presents the player with a tropical island full of quests and mini games with a storyline that is engaging and always humorous thanks to Jak’s furry companion Daxter. The platforming is expertly crafted and looking for every collectable in each level is insanely addictive.
Jak II: Renegade takes the charming duo to a completely different location. Gone is the tropical island and instead Jak’s exploits take place in a futuristic open world city. The charm of the first game is still present in Renegade but Jak can now use long range weapons and he also posses special powers as a result of being injected with an alien substance called Dark Eco. While I feel a complete change of setting, from the lush tropical island in The Precursor Legacy to a bustling city and a dark theme in Dark Eco was a bad idea, the excellent platforming mechanics and humorous story are still present.
Jak III brings welcome additions to the trilogy including vehicular combat, flying and a greater emphasis on projectile weapons. Gone is the dark theme from the second game and Jak III thankfully feels more in line with the first game. In Jak III, Jak and Daxter are exiled from the city in the Jak II into the dessert and here is where the majority of the game takes place. This is the longest game in the trilogy and for €29.99 for the three games, you are getting a lot of bang for your buck with this package.
Although the three games are excellent and hold up very well considering their age, the PS Vita port has some serious problems. Throughout the entirety of the collection I was getting serious framerate dips, most noticeably in Jak III. Fighting six enemies at once would drop the framerate down so bad I would die from missing a platform jump. This is completely unacceptable in 2013 and I hope a patch will be created to fix this issue. When jumping to a platform there was some noticeable input lag in The Precursor Legacy but this was thankfully fixed in the next two games. The camera is also awful in the three games with it sometimes getting caught in the scenery making the precise jumps needed to clear a platform a lot harder than it really should be. The rear touch pad functions used in each game to zoom and change powers are overly sensitive and frequently get in your way when you are fighting a group of enemies .
All of the problems present in the PS Vita port unfortunately force me to not recommend this Jak and Daxter collection port to anyone. Instead buy the PS3 version which runs perfectly and looks great. If you are dying for your Jak and Daxter fix on the go, buy the first game because that really is a stellar game that defined a generation of platforming games. It is a shame that this port has some serious issues because for €29.99 and over 30 hours worth of awesome gameplay, it really is a steal for what you get. We can only hope that Sony will get a patch out to fix the majority of the issues soon.