I'm through saving the world.”— Jak
Jak 3 is the third released (fourth chronologically) in the Jak and Daxter series. As the game became a hit on the shelves, developer Naughty Dog released yet another Jak and Daxter series installment called Jak X: Combat Racing a year later.
Jak 3 takes place a short year after the events of Jak II. After the defeat of Metal Kor and the death of Baron Praxis, his daughter Ashelin Praxis was assigned governess of the city. Under her rule the Krimzon Guard was reformed into the Freedom League, which also contains members from the Underground rebels. They're stuck in the war for Haven City and are fighting against the surviving Metal Heads and a new faction, the KG Death Bots (robotic splinter faction from the Krimzon Guard) and their new leader; Cyber Errol. During the fights in the city Haven Palace is bombarded and eventually collapses on the north-western side of the city, revealing the formerly hidden underground catacombs.
Jak himself is banished to the wasteland by a ploy of Count Veger and the city council, though he ends up being taken in by Damas and his Spargus citizens in Spargus city. Here he has to earn their trust and find a way back to the city. Eventually he'll attain new eco powers, discover the truth about the precursors and come to fight his biggest enemy yet; the precursors' evil dark eco corrupted counterparts, the Dark Makers.
Jak accepts Damas' offer, and he and Daxter go through several intense objectives, such as battling giant Metal Heads in one of many dune buggies of Kleiver's in the desert. Pecker becomes an adviser to Damas. As Jak endures the heroic missions, he meets recognizable friends from Jak II such as Ashelin, who begs him to return to Haven City. Jak refuses to go back due to his anger of being banished, even when she mentions that Haven City is overrun by KG Death Bots and Metal Heads. He also meets a Precursor monk named Seem, who warns him of the planet's final fate being sealed by the Day Star (which is later revealed to be the Dark Maker Ship) as it approaches each day. After a few more missions, Jak returns to Haven City through the Precursor Catacomb Subrails.
While in Haven City, Jak is sent on missions into areas such as the Metal Head Section and the Sewers. At first, once Jak arrives in Haven City, he is cut off from the north section of the city by barriers set up by the KG Death Bots. Jak must destroy the dividing barriers to reach the northern front (which holds Freedom HQ and New Haven City). He manages to blow the Metal Head section open by using his dark powers to destroy the barrier there. This links the Port with the Metal Head area. He manages to destroy the barriers in the Industrial Section by blowing them apart. After opening the Power Station in the Industrial Section, Jak is sent on a mission to hack the eco grid there and retrieve a cypher key to decode the locks for the entrance to the KG War Factory. It is at the Power Station that they discover that Vin dumped his brain into the eco grid before he was killed in a Metal Head invasion. He helps Daxter retrieve the cypher from the grid. Once they decode the entrance codes, Jak destroys the defenses on the factory in an aerial attack with a HellCat cruiser. He then enters the factory and destroys the factory's robot belt with the KG War Vehicle. He enters the control tower of the factory where he comes in contact with Erol. Erol is now Cyber Errol, after being severely injured in a Zoomer crash in the previous game. He is remade into a cyborg form, with only half a face and a hand. Jak battles Errol, who is backed up by KG Death Bots. After fighting, Errol flees the factory.
As the story progresses, the dynamic duo encounter very strange and twisted creatures. They later learn after using the Astro-viewer in Haven Forest that these beings are Dark Makers. Jak learns that the Dark Makers were once Precursors, but succumbed to the exposure of dark eco, and in the process, became evil. What Jak discovers in the telescope is a Dark Maker spaceship, and it is proceeding towards the planet. Jak and Daxter learn that the only way to rid the evil coming towards their planet is to activate the planetary defense system. But, there's a twist: the location of the planetary defense system is in the planet's core. And so after taking care of some Deathbots and Metal Heads, Jak and Daxter begin their trek to the Precursor Core.
On their way, Jak and Damas team up to fight their enemies, but their vehicle was overturned after being hit by a missile. Jak survived, but Damas is fatally wounded by being crushed under it. Before dying, Damas shows Jak the same pendant necklace that had been found on Jak's younger self in Jak II. Once Damas is gone, Jak realizes that he was his father. Veger reveals to Jak the truth and heads toward the planet's core and Jak presses onward. Once at the core, they meet a trio of Precursors. These Precursors, who after a trilogy of games were unknown, turn out to be ottsels like Daxter, and send them to the Dark Maker ship to buy some time as the planetary defense system charges. The mission is a success, but not completely, for a giant spider-like mechanism piloted by Errol comes crashing down in the desert, and Jak is forced to battle in one last fight. He blasts off the legs, and then Errol ejects the top part of it and makes a last-ditch attempt to escape by flying away. But then he crash-lands just outside of Spargus. Jak ascends to the peak of the remaining mechanism and subsequently destroys it. It is presumed that Errol is destroyed with the machine as its gas tanks (which were located right behind the cockpit) were shot by Jak's peace maker.
The story ends with Jak and Daxter with their allies, celebrating their mighty victory against the evils that nearly destroyed the planet. The Precursors have the ability to change Daxter back, but instead Daxter just asks for pants, which he'd often talked about wanting throughout Jak II and Jak 3. After wishing she could have a pair of pants just like Daxter's, the Precursors grants Tess' wish by turning her into an ottsel. Count Veger had also been turned into one, after asking the Precursors if he could be like them, without knowing at that point what it meant. The game ends with the Jak revealing that his birth name was Mar, the same as the legendary warrior. The Precursors ask Jak to join them to see all of the universe and time. Once Jak leaves with the precursors, he walks back on to screen saying "I couldn't leave you Dax. With all our adventures ahead, you wouldn't last a second without me"
As with the previous games, platforming stays the most common form of gameplay. As with the usual moveset Jak can jump, crawl, roll and fight his way over, under and through dangerous pits, gaps, situations and enemies. Eco is still absent although the Morph Gun mods has been tripled and the overworld has gained a massive wasteland and an extra city.
This time Jak can drive buggies through the wasteland and use a new light alter ego next to the dark one. Collectibles stay the same, with Precursor orbs and skull gems which can be used to buy secrets and unlock side missions, respectively. New is the arrival of a new enemy, the Dark Makers, who are met late in the game.
As much as Haven City was an immense area in comparison to the first game's locations, the same can be said about the wasteland in comparison with Haven City. It's about as four times as large, though the majority of it exists of empty desert. Transport is done with the use of buggies, which are stationed at the new city; Spargus. A city consisting off cast-aways and banished criminals; Haven's refuge.
Haven itself has halved in available content, due to the collapse of the palace and the invasions of the Metal Heads and KG Death Bots. Due to this three districts are in constant war and Jak be able to fight as many enemies as he wants.
The usual levels mostly remain the same, the wasteland brings with it a monk temple, massive volcano and deep underground; an Eco Mine. In Haven Jak can venture into the dangerous enemy faction's districts as well as eventually fight them in their own headquarters; a huge organic tower, flying fortress and a massive space-ship. Jak can also travel deep underground to very core of the planet and the home of the precursors.
The Morph Gun from the previous game also returns, albeit with a new arsenal triple the size of the original. Every mod (Red, Yellow, Blue and the dark mod) have two extra weapons each more powerful than the last. Jak will automatically receive new weapons as he completes missions. He can also unlock upgrades this way and buy them with precursor orbs.
New to the Red mod is the wave concussor and the plasmite RPG, a shockwave and a grenade launcher respectively. The Yellow mod now has the beam reflexor, which is the standard blaster but with deflecting bullets, and the gyro burster, an automatic turret-disc that fires twenty-five bullets in a wide circle.
The Blue mod has an added lightning gun, the arc wielder and a weapon that shoots homing needles, called the needle lazer. The final Dark mod gains the mass inverter that can fire an gravity-disabling stasis field to disable enemies and finally the super nova, a gun that can destroy anything on the screen with a single shot.
As with Jak II, Jak and Daxter can still use zoomers to move around Haven, the JET-Board appears as well and is still used for crossing dangerous substances, reaching new areas and doing tricks. The Titan Suit makes an appearance as the Dark Maker bot. The flut flut from the first game makes a comeback as well, in the form of the leaper lizard, the main mode of transportation in Spargus.
Completely new however is the introduction of buggies, the main way to traverse the dangerous wasteland. There are in total eight buggies, each with their own specifications. Some are more based on speed, others on strength and weapons differ from a standard machine gun, to grenade launchers, to a powerful automatic turret. Jak needs these weapons to defend himself against the Marauders who hunt anyone who dares venture into the desert.
Light and Dark Jak
Dark Jak has some slight changes compared to the previous game. He loses two skills and gains two new ones, one is invisibility and the other is an attack called Dark Strike. To keep in balance with the largely offensive powers of Dark Jak, Jak gains a light alter ego called Light Jak. In this form Jak can heal himself, slow time, create a shield or fly short distances. He can still use weapons too but doesn't gain any real physical attacks or changes otherwise.
Development and production
Jak 3 was developed by Naughty Dog for the PlayStation 2. Jak 3 was first revealed to be in the works by one of a magazine's writers in January 2004. While browsing the Naughty Dog offices, he saw early work being done with desert environments. It was first announced by Sony Computer Entertainment on February 24, 2004. On April 19, 2004, information was revealed about the plot and gameplay. It was released in North America on November 9, 2004, and in Europe on November 26, 2004. In August 2005, the game was added to the Greatest Hits collection.
Jak 3 received positive reviews, such as an 8.6 out of 10 from GameSpot, a 9.6 out of 10 from IGN, and a 9.25 out of 10 from Game Informer magazine. Its average review score is an 84 out of 100 from Metacritic and 85% on Game Rankings. The game did, however, receive some criticism because of its degree of difficulty. Many users voiced their opinions stating that game contained difficult levels and unrealistic timed events. In addition, many of the challenges throughout the game do not offer any checkpoints, forcing the user to restart an entire challenge upon dying.
The Entire Jak 3 soundtrack was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, Josh Mancell, and Larry Hopkins.