|System: PS Vita|
|Dev: Naughty Dog/Mass Media|
|Release: June 18, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 544p||Good|
by Joshua Bruce
The Jak and Daxter series is arguably the platform from which Naughty Dog propelled themselves to their current standing as a high-profile developer. Sure, they created Crash Bandicoot, but it wasn’t until Jak and his little furry buddy Daxter showed up that we knew Naughty Dog was here to stay. And stayed they have, creating the trilogy of beloved Uncharted titles and, most recently, The Last of Us, which has garnered both intense critical acclaim and fan praise alike.
But it’s no secret that Naughty Dog makes great games. Obviously, they have been doing it for years. However, the developer has reached a critical juncture in their illustrious career–the HD remake. These blasts from the past give us insight into whether a game will stand the test of time, or if it will be cast aside with the majority of other software from the respective era.
Luckily, the Jak and Daxter series will suffer no such fate. It has firmly cemented itself as a definitive experience in the platforming genre, regardless of when it was released. Hence the release of an HD collection. First released last year on PS3, the collection received the HD treatment, which translated well to the technologically superior PlayStation platform and brought the series to a new generation of gamers.
However, the Vita version of this collection is a port of its PS3 predecessor, which can be problematic. A copy of a copy is never as good as the original, especially when being played on technologically inferior hardware. In short, the handheld version of the Jak and Daxter Collection on Vita just isn’t as good as the PS3 version.
It has nothing to do with the story and gameplay of the originals; the problems arise when you begin to talk about the modifications in the control scheme required for the game to be playable on the Vita. For instance, the back touch pad replaces the L2 and R2 buttons on the controller. This would have been fine if it had worked properly, but I experienced noticeable input lag times when using the rear touch pad in-game.
Additionally, front touch-screen controls were implemented in mini-games. While this seems like a good idea, it really isn’t, because these mini-games were not designed for touch, and this incompatibility turns them into annoyances instead of enjoyable diversions. Luckily, these are the only touch controls squeezed into the game to “take advantage” of PS Vita functionality.
Graphically, each game performs relatively well on the Vita, but the difference between playing them on the Vita versus playing on the PS3 is evident. The console version delivers a much more consistent frame rate, which is something you would expect from a next-generation console playing antiquated software. On the other hand, the Vita version suffers frame rate drops in comparison to its PS3 counterpart.
This is the extent of the visual issues with the Vita version, and overall, the games look great compared to their original versions. If it hadn’t been for the PS3 version preceding the Vita release, graphical complaints probably wouldn’t even have been a concern.
Now with all of that out of the way, there is something that needs to be said–these are great games. If you have never experienced them, whether you are too young to have played them on PS2 or simply missed them, this collection is worth picking up. There is a ton of content here--three complete games chock full of weapons, vehicles, interesting characters, and massive worlds to interact with and enjoy.