Jak II

Jak II
Jak II
JakIIbox.jpg
Jak II NTSC box cover
Developer(s) Naughty Dog
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment
Designer(s) Jason Rubin (Director)
Andy Gavin (Lead Programmer)
Christopher Christensen (Programmer)
Hirokazu Yasuhara (Game Designer)
Mark Cerny (Additional Game Designer & Programmer)
Artist(s) Bob Rafei (Art Director)
Composer(s) Mark Mothersbaugh
Josh Mancell
Larry Hopkins
Series Jak and Daxter series
Engine Kinetica
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Release date(s)
  • NA October 14, 2003
  • EU October 17, 2003
  • JP March 11, 2004
Genre(s) Platform
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s)
Media/distribution DVD

Jak II, (Jak II: Renegade in Europe and Jak and Daxter II in Japan), is a platform game developed by Naughty Dog. Released for the PlayStation 2 game console on October 14, 2003 in North America, October 17, 2003 in Europe and March 11, 2004 in Japan, the game is the sequel to Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy and the second game in the Jak and Daxter series. It was followed by Jak 3 a year later.

The game features new weapons and devices, new playable areas, and a storyline that picks up after the events of The Precursor Legacy. The game's plot is much darker than its predecessor's, set in Haven City, a dystopia ruled under the questionable fist of Baron Praxis, who is engaged in a war against a techno-organic group of organisms known as the "Metal Heads". As in the previous game, the player takes on the dual role of recurring protagonists Jak and Daxter. There are also a new array of characters such as Torn, Erol, Krew, Kor, Ashelin, and Sig, as well as some returning ones, such as Samos and Keira. Jak II is both a sequel and prequel to the first game.

Jak II is the only game in the series in which the versions for English-speaking regions feature the Japanese and Korean voiceover track. The voiceover cast features many notable seiyūs, including Shotaro Morikubo as Jak. The other games in the series did not follow suit, leaving the voices to be exclusive to the Japanese and Korean regions. This is also technically the last Jak and Daxter game to be released in Japan until The Lost Frontier in 2009.

Contents

Gameplay

The gameplay of Jak II is significantly different from the previous game. The eco based gameplay from the previous game has been removed, in favor of the Morph Gun, a multipurpose firearm. The player will unlock various new gun mods for the gun as they play through the game; the Scatter Gun, for close range fighting, the Blaster, for long range fighting, the Vulcan Fury, which functions the same as the Blaster but with a much greater rate of fire, and the Peace Maker, which fires charged blasts of energy, and is extremely powerful.

Haven City functions as the game hub-world, with various other environments accessible from it. Here, Jak can access new missions by visiting various allied characters. These missions serve as a replacement for the previous game's Power Cell collection gameplay. Throughout the game, the player can collect Precursor Orbs dispersed throughout the various worlds, in order to unlock cheats and other content. Jak can traverse the large city using hover vehicles, and a jet-board, which allows him to hover across water and grind on rails.

Due to experiments conducted on him over two years, Jak can transform into a darker version of himself, known as Dark Jak, by killing enemies for Dark Eco. In this form, his melee attacks become more powerful, but he loses the ability to use the Morph Gun. By collecting Metal Head gems, gained by killing Metal Head creatures, Jak can gain additional abilities for his dark form.

Synopsis

Plot

The game begins with Jak and Daxter, the protagonists, and Samos, their guardian, watching as Keira, Samos’ daughter and Jak’s love interest, demonstrate the Rift Rider and Precursor Rift Gate that they found in the previous game. When activated, the Rift opens a portal, and a large ominous atmosphere and a monster appears with smaller, similar creatures appearing and darkening the sky. Jak launches the Rider through the gate, past the monster. Jak and Daxter, separated from Keira and Samos, arrive in the segregated dystopia known as Haven City.[1] They are separated on arrival, and Jak is captured by the city's Krimzon Guard. While Jak is imprisoned, he undergoes experiments with Dark Eco under the command of the city's leader: Baron Praxis. Jak, along with previous prisoners in the city jail, were experimented on for Operation: Dark Warrior, a project that consisted of injecting prisoners with dark eco in order to give them super-human abilities to be used in Haven City's war against animalistic creatures called Metal Heads. Jak, the only prisoner to survive the experiments, is altered mentally and physically, turning him (temporarily under random and controlled spasms) into a deadly monster.

Two years after his capture, Daxter breaks him out of prison, to find his friend drastically changed. As they escape, Jak vows to kill Praxis as revenge for the two years of experiments he suffered. Outside, they meet an old man named Kor with a boy referred to only as the Kid, who informs them of the city's underground rebel movement against the baron, called the Underground. After joining under the leader Torn's say-so, the prime motives are killing Krimzon Guards,sabotaging eco-mining projects, doing jobs for the local crime leader Krew, and arms dealer who sells weapons primarily to Underground troops, and even helping a good-natured trinket-stand owner named Bruter, a Lurker capable of speech liberate other Lurkers being used as cheap labor around Haven City in exchange for alliances. While serving this Underground, Jak finds Keira as the city's prime mechanic and race team owner, and Samos in jail. Also, a younger Samos, who is the secret leader of the Underground. He also learns that Praxis has been bribing the Metal Heads with dark eco (a physical need to them) to attack the city just enough to keep the war going, and to keep him on the throne. What surprises him the most is that Haven City is actually his home village hundreds of years in the future(revealed when they find Samos' old hut still intact in a part of the city). Partway through the game, the Underground learns of Praxis' plan to sabotage and defeat the Metal Head army: Break open the fabled Precursor Stone, using the out-coming energy like an immense bomb. However, according to data found, doing so would destroy all of existence. The main goal of the Underground is to find the Tomb of Mar, the founder of Haven City, where the stone is said to be. But only the true heir to the throne (the Kid) may get it.

Later, after finding the tomb in the heart of the city, Praxis sabotages Jak while attempting to get the stone (because the Kid was too young), and steals it himself. The Baron leaves the destruction of the stone to Krew, who indiscriminately aids Praxis in exchange for money and rights to the heads of dead Metal Heads (as trophies to decorate his bar). Jak finds Krew and, despite trying to talk Krew out of activating the weapon, they begin battling which destroys the 'Piercer' Bomb and kills Krew in the resulting explosion.

After Krew’s death, Metal Heads invade the city. Jak finds Praxis and the Krimzon Guard at the construction site, confronting Kor. Kor is then revealed to be the leader of the Metal Heads, after transforming into the huge Metal Head type beast seen at the start of the game. He fires his energy beam at Praxis and flies off. Before he dies, Praxis shows Jak another Piercer bomb, this one containing the Precursor Stone. Daxter rummages through the bomb and deactivates it, and Jak takes the stone.

As the Krimzon Guard and the Underground fight the Metal Heads in the city, Jak travels to the Metal Head nest to confront Kor. There, he finds that Kor has the Kid and a Precursor Ring like the one that brought Jak and his friends to Haven City. Kor informs Jak that the Kid is in actuality, a young Jak. Jak had been sent into the past to learn the skills necessary to defeat Kor. The young Jak, because he is innocent and untouched by Dark Eco, is able to release the Precursor entity trapped in the stone.

During the battle with Kor, Kor is decapitated by the Precursor Ring, which damages it. Before it breaks up, young Jak releases the Precursor entity, which enters the Ring. Samos and Keira arrive and send young Jak and young Samos back in time through the Ring, leaving Jak, Daxter, Samos and Keira to live out their lives in Haven City. Daxter takes over Krew's bar, and renames it the "Naughty Ottsel."

Setting

Jak II takes place in the same science fiction universe created by Naughty Dog for Jak and Daxter, though hundreds of years in the future. The plot largely revolves around happenings in and around Haven City, a dystopia ruled by Baron Praxis and his Krimzon Guard law enforcers. Haven City often serves as a hub, although the player is often also given tasks that must be fulfilled outside of the city, places that are separated via airlocks.

Characters

Jak (voiced by Mike Erwin) is the game's protagonist, along with his sidekick Daxter (voiced by Max Casella). When they first arrived in Haven City, Jak is captured by Krimzon Guards and became the subject of Baron Praxis' "Dark Warrior" project. He became subject to several experiments, ultimately giving him the ability to become Dark Jak, a beast-like version of him which is unleashed when Jak has gathered enough Dark Eco. Daxter is an otter-weasel hybrid (known as an ottsel) and is the game's comic relief. After two years of searching for him, Daxter finally sneaks into the prison holding Jak and rescues him. This is also the first time we hear Jak speak in the series.

Other important characters include Torn, the gravelly-voiced second in command of the resistance movement known as the Underground; Sig, a Metal Head hunter/Wastelander (someone who gathers artifacts outside the city); Krew, the overweight gang lord; Tess, the barmaid; Erol, the Baron's right hand man and commander of the Krimzon Guard; and Ashelin, the daughter of Baron Praxis who helps the Underground behind her father's back. Baron Praxis and the Metal Head's leader Kor are the story's antagonists.

Critical reception

 Jak II reviews
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 88%
Metacritic 87/100
Review scores
Publication Score
Game Informer 9.25/10
GameSpot 9.1/10
IGN 9.5/10
X-Play 4/5
Awards
IGN Editor's Choice 2003
GameSpot's Editor's Choice 2003

This game received generally very positive reviews from critics. It won Editor's Choice from IGN[2] and GameSpot,[3] was nominated for Best PlayStation 2 Game by GameSpot[4] and received aggregate scores of 87/100 on MetaCritic[5] and 88% on Game Rankings.[6]

Jak II was added to Sony's Greatest Hits lineup on September 8, 2004, signifying at least 400,000 copies sold in its first 11 months.[7]

A sequel called Jak 3 was released in 2004.

References

External links


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