First, let's look at Naughty Dog's previous output. At the time, their only other significant series was Crash Bandicoot, the highly regarded PSX platformer. Crash was full of character and style, and was known for its airtight gameplay. Jak took the foundations of Crash and ran with them, while adding in a crucial element most, if not all other platformers of the time lacked: a cohesive and comprehensive plot. It's not very sophisticated, but it's a charming and captivating story remnicent of a Disney or Pixar film. Your best friend, Daxter,
|Daxter as a human.|
|The Precursors and their advanced tech are omnipresent throughout the trilogy, with their "power cells" being a primary source of energy and the enigmatic precursor orbs being used as a valuable commodity.|
|Precursor ruins scattered throughout Precursor Basin, outside of Rock Village.|
|Collecting precursor orbs on Sentinel Beach. You can see how the platforms are designed to appear organic with their environment, yet still provide an engaging platforming experience.|
|Jak powers up using a blue eco vent.|
There are some definite flaws with the game when you view it from a modern perspective, maybe more so than the timeless design of Mario 64 or Banjo. Its end half is rushed compared to the first, with its final hub world possibly having been removed in development (Yellow Sage hut where?) and the volcano hub is a bit lackluster compared to the first two villages. The graphics are obviously no longer cutting edge, even if they've aged relatively well. The character design is a product of its era and doesn't jive as well with modern aesthetics. Nothing has come to take its place, though, not even its own sequels that I love so much, so it still stands on top for me.