Jak X: Combat Racing (known as Jak X in Australia, South Africa, the UK and Ireland) is a vehicular combat game, and the fourth installment in the Jak and Daxter series, published by Sony Interactive Entertainment and the last to be developed by Naughty Dog, Inc.. It was released October 15, 2005 for the PlayStation 2 console. Official emulation support for the game on PlayStation 4 was added on December 6th, and it was made available to purchase standalone or in a bundle alongside The Precursor Legacy, Jak II and Jak 3.
Jak X: Combat Racing takes place after Jak 3, and focuses around the dangerous combat racing sport. When Jak, Daxter and his allies are invited by the late Krew's daughter, Rayn, to come to Kras City to read his last will, his last will reveals everyone has been poisoned. In order to obtain the antidote, they must all race and win the Kras City Grand Championship against Mizo, the leader of a rival crime syndicate to Krew. Jak and Daxter therefore join Krew's team as they race for their lives.
The game focuses on arcade racing, a stark contrast from the third person action adventure gameplay of the previous Jak and Daxter releases. The player can drive many customizable race cars, around the race tracks which explore the various locations of the Jak and Daxter world. These cars can collect eco pick-ups to gain an advantage over the other players. The game features many event types outside of standard races, and the player can either play the adventure mode to play through the Grand Championship in the story, or the exhibition mode in which any race driver is available to play any event, in both single player and multiplayer.
Jak X: Combat Racing is a vehicular combat game, in which the player controls Jak and Daxter in adventure mode, or one of many racers in exhibition mode, as they drive one of many unlockable and customizable race cars. Cars are driven through one of eleven different race event types.
Race cars can make use of eco pick-ups: green eco pick-ups restore the race car's health, blue eco pick-ups allow it to activate a turbo boost with to faster speeds when activated, yellow eco pick-ups allow it to equip offensive weapons, and red eco pick-ups allow it to equip defensive weapons. Both yellow and red eco pick-up weapons can be upgraded if the player collects enough dark eco from destroyed cars throughout the track. In many events, cars can also automatically use a machine gun.
The following race events are available in both adventure and exhibition mode:
- Artifact race: An event that takes place in arena tracks, in which competitors must obtain the most Precursor artifacts or obtain the maximum number before time runs out.
- Capture: An event that takes place in arena tracks, in which competitors are assigned to a blue team or red team, and must capture a power cell and return it to their team's base to score points. The team with the most points or the first to achieve the maximum points by the end of the timer wins.
- Circuit race: The core event type that takes place in race tracks, in which competitors race against five other racers to complete a certain number of laps (from one to five).
- Death race: A solo event that takes place in race tracks, in which the competitor must destroy as many drones as possible before the time runs out.
- Deathmatch: An event that takes place in arena tracks, in which competitors must either destroy ten opponents or reach the highest number of kills before the timer runs out.
- Freeze rally: A solo event that takes place in race tracks, in which the competitor must finish the race with the lowest time possible, through speed and through collecting tokens along the track that freeze the timer for 2, 5 or 10 seconds.
- Rush hour: A solo event that takes place in race tracks, in which the competitor must destroy drones driving directly towards them by crashing head-on into them to score as many points as possible before the timer runs out.
- Sport hunt: An event that takes place in arena tracks, in which competitors must kill more targets (dozers or raptors) than their opponents before the timer runs out.
- Turbo dash: An event that takes place in race tracks, in which competitors must pick up power cells throughout the track and charge as many them to 100% by boosting before the time runs out, with the winner being the finisher with the highest score or the first to achieve the maximum score.
The following race events are available only in exhibition mode:
- Assassin: An event that takes place in arena tracks, in which competitors must destroy the racer whom they are assigned to before moving to the next one.
- Time trial: A solo event that takes place in race tracks, in which the competitor must race through the track as fast as possible, often to beat the high score.
In adventure mode, the player controls Jak and Daxter as they participate in the Kras City Grand Championship. Here they can unlock vehicles and tracks, as well as advance the plot (told through a series of cutscenes). The Grand Championship is made up of four cups: the Red Eco Cup, Green Eco Cup, Blue Eco Cup, and Yellow Eco Cup. Each cup contains a series of challenges (with different racing events) for each of the four locations (Spargus City, Haven City, Kras City and the Icelands) before two qualifier challenges and a Grand Prix before the player progressed to the next cup.
In exhibition mode, the player has free reign to choose any race driver unlocked (including those from the shop and secrets), any race car unlocked (with all customization options), and play a race of any event on any racetrack or any arena. It features up to eight players per race, and could be played in single-player against artificial intelligences, or against another player in multiplayer (two players and many possible AI in splitscreen, eight possible players in online multiplayer - though online multiplayer was discontinued in 2012). It also allows the player to change the settings for a race, such as turning off certain eco pick-ups or changing score limits.
Set a year after Jak 3, Jak X: Combat Racing explores a larger variety of locations than was seen in Jak II and Jak 3. Much of its story takes place in the previously unmentioned Kras City, a crime-filled city remarked to be even harsher than the dystopian Haven City which Jak and Daxter had become accustomed to. The city is home to the dangerous combat racing sport, the world's most watched sport with two hundred million viewers.
Jak X: Combat Racing features four main areas: Spargus City, Haven City, Kras City and the Icelands. Spargus and Haven have a different layout from what was seen in Jak 3, but many of the areas within them visited on race tracks will still feel familiar. Haven City also features the Forbidden Jungle, a track that pays homage to the location from The Precursor Legacy. Kras City and the Icelands are completely new locations, in which Kras City is a bustling metallic metropolis not unlike Haven City in appearance, while the Icelands is a frozen wasteland featuring citadels with a medieval appearance.
Taking place one year after Jak 3, Haven City has been steadily rebuilt after the defeat of the Dark Makers, Metal Head and KG Attacks. Combat racing became a sport over time in the dangerous Kras City. Jak, Daxter, Ashelin, Samos, Keira, Torn and Sig (Who does not attend) receive an invite to the reading of Krew's last will, as does his daughter, Rayn. After offering a toast, Krew reveals in a recording that everyone present has been poisoned with black shade. Krew gives an ultimatum: the only way to obtain the antidote is for everyone to race and win at the next Kras City Grand Championship.
As Jak and friends progress through each race, they find that another crime syndicate led by the mysterious Mizo has it in for Jak. Eventually it is revealed that Krew and Mizo made a deal before the events of Jak 3: both gangs were to make their own racing teams and the loser of the Kras City Championship will submit, making the winner the sole crime family in Jak's world.
Before the final race, Jak and his team learn from Blitz on TV that a mysterious new driver has entered for the Mizo team. When Jak starts the final grand prix, he realizes that this driver is none other than Blitz himself. After Jak beats the race, Blitz storms over to Rayn, yelling that they cheated. Blitz takes off his toupee and reveals himself to be none other than Mizo. He steals the antidote for the poison and drives off, but Jak manages to shoot him down and take it back. Upon leaving Mizo to die in his flaming car, it explodes, somewhat similar to Krew's death. Before death, Mizo comments on Jak's habit of leaving people to die and Jak responds with "You get used to it...". Back at the lounge, Rayn thanks her friends for their help, and Samos compliments Keira on her driving. As Rayn walks away, Daxter realizes she left behind Krew's video diary.
Jak and the gang find out that Rayn knew about the poison even before the reading of the will, and was following her father's instructions by making sure that she wasn't poisoned so that their family could be the top crime family in Kras City. As Rayn drives away, she tells some people over the phone to spare Jak and his crew. As Rayn has many thoughts of what to do in the future. The entire game ends with Jak kissing Keira.
Jak X: Combat Racing was selected as Naughty Dog's next project after Jak 3 three quarters into its development, to expand on the vehicle aspects developed during the game in its buggies, as well as to become the studio's first online game. It was designed to be developed during their transition period as a company, to give the team breathing room between the PlayStation 2 and the new PlayStation 3 hardware, and the exit of their founders Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin. The game was able to make use of previous technology and assets from Jak 3, allowing it to have a smooth and quick development, with the deathmatch event tested early with the Sand Shark within weeks. It was developed as a quick project with a budget of $10 million.
The entire Jak X: Combat Racing soundtrack was made by Billy Howerdel of A Perfect Circle and Larry Hopkins. It also included 2 songs made by the artist, Queens of the Stone Age. One song was "You Think I'm Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire" and the other was "A Song for the Dead. They were both from the album, "Songs For The Deaf".
|GameRankings||77.01% (based on 57 reviews)|
|Metacritic||76/100 (based on 46 reviews)|
Jak X: Combat Racing received mostly positive reviews, with an average of 77.01% from GameRankings and 76/100 from Metacritic. IGN concluded it was a "nicely presented, well-rounded combat racer", but argued the gameplay "can sometimes feel a bit lifeless and often suffers from spontaneous swings". GameSpot praised the graphics, the story, the variety of modes and the online multiplayer, but criticised the artificial intelligence of enemies and noted that the single player can get repetitive when playing for long periods. Eurogamer praised its sensation of speed and variety of modes, calling it an "exceptionally polished game" even if it was "repetitive" and is "not doing anything massively new".
- ↑ Jak and Daxter PS2 Classics Available for Download on PS4 December 6. PlayStation Blog. Accessed 1 December 2017.
- ↑ Jak X: Combat Racing script § "Back in Haven City"
- ↑ Jak X: Combat Racing script § "Poison Toast"
- ↑ Jak X: Combat Racing script § "Mizo's Identity"
- ↑ Jak X: Combat Racing Dev Diary #2. GameSpy. Accessed April 4, 2017.
- ↑ Rising to Greatness: The History of Naughty Dog, page 12. IGN. Accessed October 3, 2015.
- ↑ Jak X: Combat Racing Dev Diary #3. GameSpy. Accessed April 4, 2017.
- ↑ How Much Does It Cost To Make A Big Video Game?. Kotaku. Accessed April 4, 2017.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Jak X: Combat Racing GameRankings. GameRankings. Accessed April 4 2017.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Jak X: Combat Racing Metacritic. Metacritic. Accessed April 4 2017.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Jak X: Combat Racing Review. Eurogamer. Accessed April 4 2017.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Jak X: Combat Racing Review. GameSpot. Accessed April 4 2017.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Jak X: Combat Racing Review. IGN. Accessed April 4 2017.