Jak and Daxter. Ratchet and Clank. Two video game hero duos, both Sony exclusives with prestigious histories. Both have their merits, but one must be better than the other, right? Which platforming pair rises above the other? Let's find out.
First of all, let's take a look at the franchises individually. Does one series outshine the other? Jak and Daxter debuted in 2001, and have starred in several games and spin-offs. Meanwhile, Ratchet and Clank debuted in 2002, and have nine games to date, in addition to one spin-off title. Furthermore, Ratchet and Clank have their own manga series in Japan, a series of bi-monthly comic books, and action figures. Undeniably, Ratchet and Clank have more exposure, but when it comes to the quality of the games, both series earn generally the same scores according to Metacritic. As such, this category will have to remain a tie.
Next up, setting. As platformers, both game series feature an assortment of environments and locales for you to explore. While both have some great stages, Ratchet and Clank take this one. While the wide-open fictional world of Jak and Daxter has unique and memorable environments, such as the Wasteland, Ratchet and Clank have an entire galaxy to explore. The heavy science-fiction influence offers numerous opportunities that developers have capitalized on with everything from technologically advanced areas to desolate, primitive lands. For sheer variety, this one goes to the Lombax and the robot.
Now we come to the characters. Both franchises pride themselves on the buddy dynamic between their leading characters, but which is better? Ratchet, though an all-around solid character, lacks a certain special significance, and is a little unremarkable for the most part. While Clank is a fun and endearing side-kick in his own way, he doesn't quite match Daxter. As a bizarre cross between an otter and a weasel, an ottsel, Daxter is the perfect weird and quirky accompaniment to Jak's heroic character. For better or worse, Jak has gone through a number of character changes over the series, but Daxter has always been there, skirting the line between annoying and amusing, and generally falling to the latter. As a pair, they make a great and memorable team.
This brings us to the last category - items. By drawing upon different types of Eco, Jak can take advantage of several power-ups such as speed and power. In later games, he gains a greater arsenal of weapons, but even these tools cannot compare to Ratchet's armory. As with the setting, the weaponry of Ratchet and Clank is inventive and memorable, which means Ratchet gets to use some crazy guns. Add the various gadgets you can pick up throughout each adventure, and Jak's items just don't compare to Ratchet's.
At the finish line, Ratchet and Clank win with a narrow lead over Jak and Daxter. Daxter may have the personality, but when it comes to substance, it's hard to argue with Ratchet's weapon stash. The good news is you don't have to choose between the two franchises; the upcoming PlayStation Move Heroes puts all four characters on the same team, alongside Sly Cooper and Bentley for crossover platformer mayhem.
CCC Freelance Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*