Jak and Daxter Collection Review for PS Vita

Jak and Daxter Collection Review for PS Vita

Standing The Test Of Time

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.

Ducktales: Remastered - Announcement Trailer

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.

Jak and Daxter Collection Screenshot

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.

Jak and Daxter Collection Screenshot

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.

Throughout the trilogy you take on the role of Jak, a hero who goes through many changes over the course of the games. He is almost always accompanied by his best friend Daxter, who is turned into an Ottsel (a fictional hybrid of an otter and weasel) in the first game. The resulting banter and snarky dialogue between the characters is part of the inherent charm of the series.

Jak and Daxter Collection Screenshot

The Precursor Legacy kicks off the series as a pure platformer, but through Jak II and 3, the series evolves into a third-person action platformer, complete with weapons and vehicles. As Jak, you control a substance called Eco, which in the first game gives the player enhanced abilities and more powerful attacks. In the second game, Jak is infused with Dark Eco, which changes the tone of the game but makes Jak much more powerful. Finally, in the third game, you are imbued with Light Eco, which balances the Dark Eco within Jak. What you get is a hero’s journey story that spans the entirety of the trilogy.

In the end, this trilogy should be on your list of must-play, or even must-play-again games. If you have never had the pleasure of immersing yourself in Naughty Dog’s award-winning opus, you definitely should, and this HD remake has made it available to the masses. However, if given the choice of playing on the PS3 or the Vita, I would definitely prefer the former over the latter. But given the fact that you get three full games for only 30 bucks, it’s hard to argue with the price versus the value.

In short, you can’t go wrong for the price, and this game is definitely worth adding to your collection, but preferably your PS3 collection.

Definitely an improvement over the original versions of the games, but sometimes has issues running on Vita. 3.0 Control
A slight remapping of controls was necessary for Vita functionality, and it doesn’t always work well. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
This collection retains the soundscape from the original games, but it doesn’t push it any further. 4.0 Play Value
There is no denying the fun of the Jak and Daxter series, even on a handheld port. 3.5 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • The Jak and Daxter Collection features all three best-selling PlayStation 2 classic hits: Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy®, Jak II, and Jak 3 fully remastered in high definition and stereoscopic 3D.
  • This collection follows fan-favorite Jak and his sidekick Daxter through a series of action-packed adventures. The Jak and Daxter Collection blends action, shooting, driving, and platforming into one complete package.
  • Includes Trophy support for all 3 games.

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