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Jak 3

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I'm through with saving the world.

Jak

Jak 3 is the third installment (fourth chronologically) in the Jak and Daxter series, developed by Naughty Dog, Inc. and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released in November 2004 for the PlayStation 2, and later re-released in February 2012 and June 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, respectively, as part of the trilogy remaster. It is the last title developed by Naughty Dog for the Jak and Daxter main series.

Jak 3 continues the tone and setting of its predecessor. A year after the defeat of Kor and Baron Praxis, war has erupted in Haven City as the surviving metal heads and newcomers KG Death Bots strike relentlessly at the Freedom League, a successor to the Krimzon Guard now under the command of Ashelin Praxis and Torn, governor and captain respectively. The people blame Jak for the war on account of his dark powers and his friendship with late crime lord Krew (who allowed the metal heads access to the city). Jak is banished to the Wasteland at the hands of the corrupt Count Veger, despite Ashelin's protests. Accompanied by Daxter and Pecker, and with a beacon given to him by Ashelin, Jak searches the desert before collapsing nearly dead. He is eventually saved by Damas, the king of nearby Spargus. In exchange for letting him stay, Jak must now prove his worth, or be thrown out in the desert as if he were never found.

There is a notable expansion of gameplay upon Jak 3's predecessor. With eight more Morph Gun modifications, and the acquisition of Light Jak to complement Dark Jak, Jak 3 retains the mix of platforming, third-person shooting, and driving. Buggies, used to traverse the new desert wasteland setting, are now much more relied upon than zoomers, which are only used in the now war-torn Haven City. Additionally, the more primitive leaper mounts can be used to travel throughout Spargus, while Daxter is playable in small sections more often.

GameplayEdit

OverviewEdit

Jak firing the Blaster

Jak firing the Blaster at an enemy.

Jak 3 is a third person three-dimensional platformer, in which the player controls Jak, an athletically-built human, and occasionally Daxter, who share a similar core moveset carried over from previous titles. Though Daxter does little beyond basic platforming and combat, Jak also participates in combat missions, in which the player can utilise his expanded Morph Gun arsenal, his Dark Jak form and the newly introduced Light Jak form. Commonly featured are the heavily armed buggies as Jak drives around the Wasteland, while Jak can drive zoomers much like in the previous instalment within Haven and ride leaper mounts within Spargus. On many occasions, Jak and Daxter both participate in minigames of various kinds to progress, adding to the variety.

There are three main locations, each very distinct from one another, which act as hubs. The first is Spargus, a smaller city located by an oasis, which features few missions but many collectibles and side missions. The second is the Wasteland, the largest location which can only easily be traversed using buggies found in Spargus, and features many missions and accesses other locations. The final hub location is Haven City, a war-torn environment which features combat between the three factions in most areas, and due to its war-torn state, is more limited than in Jak II. Spargus and the Wasteland are closely connected to one another, as the player can access the Wasteland by leaving Spargus on a buggy, while Haven is accessed through an air train.

Missions are completed in a set progression, moving the story and often granting rewards, in the form of Morph Gun upgrades, Dark/Light Jak powers, new Buggies, or new areas unlocked. Many of these upgrades can also be purchased in the secrets menu using Precursor orbs which can be acquired in numerous ways, either found hidden or won on side missions unlocked with skull gems, earned by defeating metal heads.

CombatEdit

Health meter Jak 3

Health, dark eco and light eco meters.

Jak 3 retains the core moveset, many of the Dark Jak abilities and all of the Morph Gun mods from its predecessor and expands upon them. In addition to adding a greater variety, the skills now have more upgrades available. Through mission rewards and purchases made in the secrets menu with Precursor orbs, the player can unlock many upgrades for Jak's weaponry and eco powers, and through the armor of Mar, can upgrade his health from the default eight hit points to sixteen.

Unlike Jak II, where Dark Jak could only be used once the meter is full, the player can activate Dark Jak whenever, and use the abilities until the meter is depleted. Dark Jak still retains its destructive powers, while adding the Dark Blast ability and Dark Invisibility (which, until upgraded through a secret, can only be used next to the correct Precursor idol). The Light Jak form added provides much more defensive skills, which are Flash Freeze (drastically slows time for all expect Jak temporarily), Light Regeneration (the only way to replenish health other than green eco health packs), Light Shield (which protects Jak from harm when used while draining light eco) and Light Flight (which allows Jak to reach higher distances when used).

The Morph Gun features a much greater variety of weapons than previously seen. The four mods - the yellow mod, red mod, blue mod and dark mod - have each had two weapons added totalling twelve mods. These weapons can be cycled through by pressing multiple times on the same direction on the d-pad, and put away by holding this direction down. These mods all share ammunition with others of their color. Some of the new mods will simply be an upgrade on the original mod (such as the Beam Reflexor, Wave Concussor, Arc Wielder and Super Nova) while others will provide entirely new functionality (such as the Gyro Burster, Plasmite RPG, Needle Lazer and Mass Inverter).

Vehicles and mountsEdit

Buggy driving in the desert

Jak pilots the Tough Puppy, the first buggy unlocked.

The primary vehicles driven in the game are buggies in the Wasteland location. Missions with buggies, which take up a large portion of gameplay, involve tasks such as fighting Marauders, metal heads or collecting items such as Precursor artifacts. By progressing through the story, or in some cases purchasing them with Precursor orbs, the player can unlock newer, more powerful buggies with stronger weapons, although many are required specifically for some missions (such as the Dune Hopper, which is required to access the Monk Temple through its leap ability).

The two other major hub locations feature travel borrowed from previous games: Spargus features leaper lizards (which control identically to flut fluts from The Precursor Legacy) which are parked through the relatively small city, while Haven features zoomers from Jak II that can be stolen from citizens and found parked around. These feature in very few missions, as the buggies take up much more gameplay.

The JET-Board also returns, and can be used at any time with R2 immediately upon unlocking. It features in several missions, and can be used to traverse the Wasteland quickly with a secret unlocked. It is relatively unchanged, though its effects when damaging enemies are more noticeable.

MinigamesEdit

Eco grid game

The eco grid game.

Jak 3 features more minigames than previously seen. Gun course training returns, with new courses available for purchase on the secrets menu, and mostly based around the new weapons. Kleiver's challenges often involve using buggies in races around the Wasteland, while the JET-Board challenge involves using skills on the board to earn points.

Other minigames do not have a basis in core gameplay. The Spargus turret game involves firing at targets to earn points, while the satellite game requires pressing buttons at the right time to complete, and the eco grid game involves Daxter navigating through a maze-like environment to eat every chip on the board to complete.

SynopsisEdit

SettingEdit

Spargus 1

Spargus, a major setting in Jak 3.

Set a short year after Jak II, Jak 3 begins as Jak is banished by Veger to the Wasteland, a new setting previously only mentioned. A barren desert filled with metal heads, rocky hills and Marauders, the Wasteland is barely habitable, though it contains many Precursor artifacts, and a few points of interest, notably the Monk Temple and Spargus. The Monk Temple is home to the Precursor Monks led by Seem, while Spargus is home to the Wastelanders, primarily made of outcasts from Haven, who are permitted by Damas to take residence if they can prove their worth to the city.[1] Spargus is a much smaller city than Haven, situated right by an ocean, made of sand houses and a few trees. Spargus has harsh laws, and each resident is armed with a weapon to defend themselves. For its protection, a strong gate to the Wasteland defends it from most attacks, and a decommissioned[2] gun turret to protect its shores.

Haven City retains the structure and aesthetics from the previous game, but is different in many ways. Under Ashelin Praxis, there is evidence that the city was on the path to improvement, as an area formerly occupied by slums has been replaced by the much more very developed New Haven, and propaganda stations have been removed. The Freedom League replace the New Krimzon Guard mentioned in the epilogue of Jak II, and have much less cruel and more defeatist dialog. Due to its war-torn nature, many areas of the city are completely obstructed or in ruins, and in many cases, occupied by the KG Death Bots (the Industrial Section) or the metal heads (the Gardens).

Though Precursor artifacts have been a prominent feature throughout the series, they are explored in greater detail in Jak 3, through locations in the Monk Temple and the Catacombs. Artifacts are grander in scale, with the Oracle being much larger than in previous instalments, and more truths are learned about their history and identity.

Plot Edit

Damas finding unconscious Jak

Damas recovers Jak

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.

Dark Maker ship exterior

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".

DevelopmentEdit

BackgroundEdit

Other than expanding on the themes of its predecessors, Naughty Dog drew inspiration from Smuggler's Run, with the buggy driving in the desert.[3]

SoundtrackEdit

Like its predecessor, the soundtrack was composed by Josh Mancell and Larry Hopkins. Jak 3, unlike Jak II, did not feature moments in which additional layers to the soundtrack were added based on Jak's current status (equipping a weapon or driving a vehicle), instead featuring more consistent soundtracks.

ReceptionEdit

Critical receptionEdit

Aggregator Score
GameRankings 85.33% (based on 61 reviews)[4]
Metacritic 84 (based on 55 reviews)[5]
Game Informer 9.25/10
GamePro 4.5/5
GameSpot 8.6/10[6]
IGN 9.6/10[7]

Jak 3 received a largely positive reception, with an average score of 85.33% based on 61 reviews on GameRankings[4] and an average score of 84 based on 55 reviews on Metacritic,[5] which were both the lowest scores given to a game in the original trilogy by a small margin. IGN gave the game an overwhelmingly positive reaction, describing the story as "ultimately satisfying" and praising the gameplay for offering a gamer "just about anything", and called it "infinitely superior" to Jak II.[7] GameSpot also gave a positive review, praising its "exceptional production values", "Solid platforming", "tons of varied game types" and "well-told storyline, though he criticised it for being "notably similar to the previous game" and stated it lacked replay value.[6]

Jak 3 has received high praise in retrospect, often ranked among the greatest PlayStation 2 games released. IGN listed it as the 17th best PlayStation 2 game,[8] Dorkly, listed it as the 20th best,[9] while Complex listed it as 22nd.[10]

Commerical performanceEdit

Jak 3 game sold well with 1.85 million copies as of January 2016 (71% of sales in the US, 26% in Europe, and the remaining in other regions.[11] Though successful, these sales were the lowest of the original trilogy, at less than half of the sales of The Precursor Legacy[12] and just over half the sales of Jak II.[13] Much like the rest of the series,Jak 3 reached "Greatest Hits" status.[14]

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Naughty Dog. Jak 3 (Let The Games Begin!). Sony Computer Entertainment. PlayStation 2 (2004).
  2. Naughty Dog. Jak 3 (Kleiver's Gun Game). Sony Computer Entertainment. PlayStation 2 (2004).
  3. Rising to Greatness: The History of Naughty Dog, page 10 (4 October 2013). IGN. Colin Moriarty. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jak 3 GameRankings GameRankings. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jak 3 Metacritic Metacritic. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jak 3 GameSpot GameSpot. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Jak 3 IGN IGN. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  8. IGN Top 25 PlayStation 2 games IGN. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  9. Dorkly Top 25 PlayStation 2 games Dorkly. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  10. Complex Top 50 PlayStation 2 games Dorkly. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  11. Jak 3 VGchartz vgchartz.com. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  12. TPL VGchartz vgchartz.com. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  13. Jak II VGchartz vgchartz.com. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  14. PlayStation website Jak search results PlayStation. Retrieved October 3, 2015.

External linksEdit

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