|System: PS3, Xbox 360, PC|
|Dev: Naughty Dog, Mass Media Inc.|
|Release: February 7, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Comic Mischief, Language, Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
Remaking an old franchise in HD is a delicate art. Change too little and your fan base sees little reason to buy the remake when they can just play the original games instead. Change too much and your fan base will blast you for attempting to fix something that wasn't broken. The recently released Jak and Daxter Collection falls into the "too little" category. Luckily, the overall quality of the original games does a lot to make up for it. Jak 1, 2, and 3 were some of the best games ever created for the PS2, and were probably Naughty Dog's best pre-Uncharted work. This makes the Jak and Daxter Collection an immense deal for anyone who hasn't played the originals. However, it's merely a nostalgia buy for any longtime fans that already have Jak 1-3 sitting on their shelf.
Let's start with what's changed. The games have obviously been updated graphically for the HD generation of consoles. Overall, this comes off well. The models are crisp, the animations are smooth, and the textures look a lot less pixelated than one would remember them being. However, not every game in the series was converted equally. Jak 3 is easily the prettiest game in the collection, almost looking like an early PS3 launch title. Jak II is also quite impressive graphically, with environments that look far better than their SD counterparts. If you are a graphics junkie, then playing both of these games again will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Unfortunately, that's not the feeling you will get if you play the original Precursor Legacy. You see, HD remakes can't perform miracles, and The Precursor Legacy was developed back in 2001. Frankly, it hasn't aged well, and no amount of filters and shading will fix that. It's still loads of fun, don't get me wrong, but the textures look flat, the models are stiff, and the animations just don't compare to the other titles. It still looks better than the original game, but unlike Jak II and Jak 3, it doesn't look like something that is actually "HD."
The collection is fully compatible with stereoscopic 3D TVs, but in my opinion, I don't think this adds much. For a 3D game or movie to shine, it tends to have to be developed with 3D graphics in mind. Being that these games were originally developed in the PS2 era, this is certainly not the case. The games honestly look flat in 3D and half the time I wasn't even able to tell that it was turned on if it weren't for the doofy glasses on my head. I suppose the game doesn't exactly lose anything by being played in 3D, but it doesn't gain anything either.
For achievement junkies, the game has a brand new set of trophies for you to collect—over 100 spread across all three games. Some are easy, some are hard, but all of them exist within the boundaries of the original games themselves. There aren't any trophies linked to hidden content as you might have found in other HD remakes. The games are, for better or worse, 100% true to the originals.
In fact, that brings me to the most disappointing thing about this entire collection. The games are overly faithful to the originals and that does devalue the package a bit. Once again, the originals aren't bad, not by a long shot, but as far as gameplay goes, there is nothing new. There are no new minigames, hidden levels, or stage secrets. There is no collectible art gallery or music gallery. There are no "making of" videos or developer commentaries. There is absolutely nothing here that wasn't in the original run of the game.