Jak and Daxter The Lost Frontier Review

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Jak and Daxter The Lost Frontier on PSP at GAME

"Return of the Jak"

There's good news and bad news for those who recall the Jak and Daxter games with fondness. The bad news is there's still no sign of a PlayStation 3 instalment - unlike Ratchet and Clank, this daring duo isn't ready to make the leap to Sony's next-gen console. The good news, however, is that a new PSP instalment is now available. The even better news is that it's a superb addition to the series.

Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier sees the return of our heroes along with long-time love interest Keira. The storyline unfolds via some slick cut-scenes and a neatly written script, complete with a few decent jokes. Supplies of Eco are running out, it seems, and J&D on a mission to find some ancient Precursor machinery which could save the world.

Jumping Jak Flash

This turns out to involve an awful lot of running, jumping and general exploring. The Lost Frontier has more in common with the first J&D game than the later titles - the emphasis is on platforming rather than combat and the game has a lighter, less brooding tone. Gone is the free-roaming Haven City, to be replaced with linear 3D levels more reminiscent of traditional platformers.

However, the gameplay has enough depth and the graphics enough polish to prevent The Lost Frontier from feeling old fashioned. In addition, a new element has been introduced to give the series a fresh twist: Jak can now use different colours of Eco to give himself special powers. Pick up enough red Eco, for example, and he'll be able to unleash exploding red fireballs.

Green Eco can cause giant pillars to burst from the ground, enabling Jak to reach high-up areas. Yellow also comes in handy here as it increases his ability to jump. Blue Eco can be used to slow down time, amongst other things. There are more powers to discover as you progress through the game and a well-designed upgrade system gives you full control over how Jak's skill-set develops.

Jak and Daxter The Lost Frontier on PSP at GAME

Mix and match

Environments are detailed and imaginatively laid out with plenty of puzzles to solve. In earlier levels these tend to be quite simple, but later on you'll need to think laterally and combine two or more of Jak's powers to find solutions. Using powers simultaneously is also effective during combat, especially during boss battles.

Alternatively you could rely on Jak's new weapon, the Gunstaff. Collectable upgrades can be used to give it different qualities and turn it into a machine gun, sniper rifle and so on. Unfortunately there's no auto-targeting upgrade, which is a serious omission. The camera sometimes struggles to keep up with Jak, particularly when he's involved in intense combat situations with multiple enemies. It's hard to dodge attacks when you can't judge where they're coming from, and even more difficult to return fire when there's no lock-on to ensure you hit your target.

Jak and Daxter The Lost Frontier on PSP at GAME

Flying high

Not all of the combat takes place on the ground. Jak gets to fly a new range of planes and take part in some epic dogfights. The excellent control system makes it easy to perform complex aerial manoeuvres and take out enemies. Planes can be upgraded with new armour, guns and so on to make them even more effective in combat.

The weakest sections of The Lost Frontier are those where you get to play as Daxter's new alter ego. He can now consume Dark Eco to become Dark Daxter, a big furry mutant whose special skills are smashing down barriers and whirling around in a tornado of destruction. This is fun at first but it soon becomes repetitive and the Dark Daxter levels offer little in the way of real challenge.

Familiar but fun

The regular platforming and aerial combat levels are enough to keep you playing, but just don't expect anything radically innovative from The Lost Frontier. There may be some new weapons, vehicles and gameplay mechanics here, but this is a platformer in the traditional style - which, if you like that type of game, can only be a good thing.

It may not be a Jak and Daxter title for PS3 but it'll certainly pass the time while we're waiting.

GAME's Verdict

The Good:

  • Quality platforming action.
  • New toys and powers to play with.
  • Pretty, expansive environments.

The Bad:

  • Camera struggles to keep up.
  • Dark Daxter sections are tedious.
  • Can get repetitive.
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Pegi Rating:

Suitable for people aged and over.

Genre

Action/Adventure

Customer Rating:

No rating yet

SKU:

Reviews-183555

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