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Jak 3 review

When Californian studio Naughty Dog veered off from the 3D platformer path and into GTA territory with its second Jak game, it made at least two significant mistakes. First, it thought buzzing around a cityscape in hovercars would be as much fun as hammering around streets in cars (it wasn't - by a yawning margin), and second, it failed to thoroughly playtest its work, resulting in a selection of missions so frustrating in their make-up only the masochistic could find them pleasurable.

Both mistakes have been addressed in this sequel. Though the second game's airborne vehicles make a reappearance (part of the adventure takes place in the old city, now partly ruined thanks to the ongoing war), you spend much more off-foot time romping across desert wastes in a series of splendidly rugged buggies. Such missions involve collecting artefacts, car combat and other pursuits, often against the clock, and prove to be truly worthwhile developments beyond the game's run-and-gun core. And, like the rest of the game, they're never stupidly difficult or drawn out. In fact, if you managed to grind and grimace your way through the previous Jak, this instalment will be a pushover. (It's almost as if Naughty Dog has readied its title for the new wave of very young gamers who'll be receiving PS2s on 25 December.)

But Jak 3's not easy via familiarity; you do not succeed simply by repeating actions over and over to become good at them. Quite the contrary: this is a game that falls over itself to offer up a new twist or turn at every opportunity. Not every style of play is a success, and some variants are under-utilised (a gliding level is over and done with before it really has a chance to get going, for instance), but together the variety of challenges serves as a selection box, albeit one you must consume in a fairly strict order.

Technically, Jak 3 is Naughty Dog doing what it does best: big, solid worlds filled with big, solid enemies. Artistically, it's all those familiar long-ears-and-big-eyes characters and slick cut-scenes dominated by Daxter's increasingly tiresome sidekick schtick. Story-wise, there's the usual series mumbo-jumbo, plus a couple of surprises for those who've followed the previous two games.

So it's all down to how it hangs together to play. Jak's new light form definitely adds more to the experience than his previously explored dark alter ego - indeed, you're forced to use it in certain places, rather than keeping it as a backup plan for when things get particularly hairy - and the variety of gameplay styles is a genuine achievement.

Jak 3 will be released for PS2 on 26 November

Even at its most challenging, and with its countless attempts to innovate, Jak 3 too often feels like you're merely going through the motions. As the series' conclusion, then, it's a mild disappointment

More Info

Available Platforms: PS2

12 comments

  • derangedmonkey - December 13, 2010 6:05 p.m.

    I have lost all respect for you Gamesradar.
  • Lolo - October 19, 2010 6:42 a.m.

    At least its less difficult. If there had been a baby animal around playing Jak 2, I probably would have killed it. There haven't been many games that pissed me off, but I was PISSED while playing Jak 2 due to the asinine difficulty level. Am I the only one who likes the comic relief in Jak, I find it refreshing. So many games are way too serious. I'll be glad when I finish up the Jak series, Jak 2 has scarred me for life, man that games made me mad.
  • Wolverine08 - July 2, 2010 7:38 p.m.

    6, WTF WTF WTF WTF WTFW WTF WTF WTFW WTFW WTFW WTFW WTF WTF WTFW WTFW WTFW WTF WTF
  • Metroidhunter32 - June 12, 2010 12:54 a.m.

    Agreed with the others, this game was pretty damn good. 8 or 9, not a feaken 6.
  • Pry0citer - June 4, 2010 12:22 a.m.

    Yeah I didn't really like R&C:GC as much as R&C1, UYA or Deadlocked. That game deserves a 6 or 7. Jak 3 should have gotten an 8 or a 9. Definitely not a 10, but atleast an 8.
  • PeptoTurismo - May 28, 2010 3:40 p.m.

    I would say 7 at the very, very least. Very. Least. Arguably better than the first two. I wouldn't argue that way, but someone might. You know what game gets a six from me? Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando. But maybe I was just in a bad mood while playing that one.
  • penguinsrule3 - January 24, 2010 9:12 a.m.

    That's not cool GR. Not cool at all.
  • njdudek34 - December 20, 2009 11:07 p.m.

    i own this game and it deserves atleast an 8.. GamesRadar has its head up its butt
  • austin128 - November 30, 2009 2:10 a.m.

    I totally disagree.
  • madman12435 - September 2, 2009 2:47 a.m.

    ditto
  • husk94 - July 23, 2009 4:42 a.m.

    this game is just as good as the other jaks, why a six
  • Fransinn - April 6, 2009 11:58 p.m.

    What the hell? 6 out of 10... ohh c'mon Gamesradar. Ok, at least it's decent... but still... 6 OUT OF 10!!!

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