What I’ve been playing: Jak X
After having a great nostalgia trip down memory lane for the past couple of weeks, I have officially finished my final PS4 adventure with Jak and Daxter, two of the biggest heroes from my childhood. Jak X is as many of you know a racing game, now I will be very honest and say racing games aren’t exactly my type of game, in fact it is very rare for me to play any racing game much less profess my love for such a game, because truth be told I find them boring. Though there are a few other racing games I am happy to play but they all involve at least some of the elements Jak X has to offer, such as CTR (any over Crash racing game) and of course Mario Kart, they all have a much loved cast of characters that have been built up through out several instalments in their respective franchises and none of them involve driving mindlessly round a track over and over again in some type of sports car.
Perhaps I went into Jak X with an open mind back when I was a kid because it involved two of my biggest gaming influences from my PS2 days, I already knew the characters, I knew that there was going to be a story, a great story at that. I couldn’t wait to finish Jak 3 so that I could once again jump behind the wheel. Racing my way through Haven City, Spargus City, Kras City and the Icelands, all of which had various tracks and arenas to compete in. As I’ve mentioned before I have always found the Jak and Daxter games to have a certain charm, no doubt this thanks to our main heroes as well as all the friends and even enemies they have made on their adventures, Jak X isn’t a mindless racing game where you are some random driver behind the wheel competing only in circuit races or on the occasion time trials, there is so much more to it than that.
Part of the reason I find myself actually enjoying it is that you aren’t simply racing around the track in a circuit race, you actually have eco on the track, all four types that gives you something different. The red eco provides a defensive weapon that is dispensed behind your vehicle, the yellow eco gives you an offensive weapon to take your enemies down from the front of your vehicle, the blue eco proved your car with a boost and finally the green eco regenerates some of your health. You see, it is not a stereotypical racing game, it is true combat racing, instead of purely racing around the track trying to overtake your opponents the old fashioned way you can blow them up instead, and lets be honest that is so much more fun! On top of being able to attack your opposition to wipe them out there are various different events for you to participate in such as the rush hour, time trial, death race, artefact race, sport hunt, turbo dash and deathmatch. All these different events helped to keep the game feeling fresh, I couldn’t possibly get bored when I wasn’t solely doing circuit races. Really I shouldn’t have been surprised at how amazing I found Jak X to be, after all Naughty Dog did and insane job with Crash Team Racing, probably one of the most popular racing games there has ever been and if you haven’t ever played it the chances are that you have heard of it.
My personal favourite events were the death race and turbo dash. There is just something about destroying as many vehicles as you can and speeding around the track on a near permanent boost that gives me a thrill. The turbo Dash I found to be a lot of fun, I liked the challenge of speeding round the entire track whilst trying not crash, and you know you can’t slow down otherwise you won’t power up the powercells as quick as the opposition are and trust me when I say that could be very costly. As for the death race, well who doesn’t enjoy blowing stuff up with whatever weapons you can get your hands on. I also like what I’m sure is probably standard with most racing games and that I upgrading your vehicle, I liked that after completing an event I was rewarded with precursor orbs to spend on either upgrading my car of choice or unlocking secrets, the best one of which was unlocking Daxter as a driver for 50,000 orbs (worth very one of them).
Once again I love the characters, we have some of our favourite old faces as well as some interesting new ones, I always wanted to race against a robot and some mad men that would love nothing more than to kill me….I don’t know about anybody else but I did guess that the eccentric pretty boy presenter would turn out to be for lack of better words an insane speed loving nut job. But I did still think that it was quite a clever twist to have our main antagonist in plain site without truly realising it. There were some great moments of comedy, something you would expect from a Jak and Daxter game, I fact I would go so far as to say that it has some of my favourite moments from across the entire series.
Jak X is somewhat bittersweet for me, since I along with many other people would have to say that it is the last good Jak and Daxter game. Of course The Lost Frontier was never going to be on par with the trilogy and Jak X due to being made by another company instead of Naughty Dog but that is no excuse for the mediocre at best performance Lost Frontier gave. The only thing I truly like about it is Jak, Daxter and Keira, I don’t think the new characters had the same charisma and effect that those from the other games had, a great shame. For Naughty Dog however Jak X was a great way to close out their involvement with the series before moving onto more Uncharted territory.
Thank you for reading my thoughts on Jak X, if you haven’t already feel free to go and check out my quick thoughts on 2 and 3. Did you enjoy Jak X as much as I did? Or was it just not the same experience for you? Please let me know.