22. Jak and Daxter
Naughty Dog | Sony | 2001
The PS2's first great epic platform adventure starred a silent action hero and his wise-cracking ottsel partner
What made it so great?
Aside from the charming interplay between the stoic and noble Jak and his crass rodent sidekick (a human who falls into some shape-shifting Dark Eco) Jak & Daxter brought a Nintendo-flecked fantasy world to the PlayStation with warmth, humor and pretty much flawless game mechanics.
As well as a refreshing blend of pastoral pursuits straight out of the Zelda series (herding cattle, chasing birds) puzzle-solving and platform exploration, the freeform level structure allows players to decide which order to complete tasks in each of the distinct areas surrounding their home in Sandover Village. J&D was also one of the first PS2 games to make use of 'streaming', meaning each of the sparkling environments (we've fond memories of crossing the sea to Misty Island) could be visited without ever seeing a loading screen, allowing for seamless, uninterrupted gameplay.
Get ready to play
J&D came from the same stable as Crash Bandicoot, and Jak's simple yet extensive move set mimics that of the original PlayStation icon - especially the spin jump. But importantly this is a game that is accessible to all gamers at the outset, whatever their skill, slowly increasing the challenge as you gain proficiency, culminating in a showdown with a giant Robot, easily on the scale of Shadow of the Colossus's lofty beast battles.
Been there, done that?
In itself Jak II was a worthy and technically admirable sequel, shifting the action to the hubbub of Haven City and giving Jak a dose of 'tude and a horrible green goatee. In reality it lost something in its new found reliance on gun-based combat. The problem was, Ratchet & Clank was out now, and doing the sci-fi weapon thing a lot better...