Jak & Daxter Collection review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Mass Media/Naughty Dog
Medium: Digital/Vita Card
Players: 1
Online: No

To hear some people talk, you’d think that the Jak & Daxter Collection was the most hideous thing ever. That it was some Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault or Silent Hill HD Collection-level abomination that was cheaply ported over to the Vita, with only minimal improvements (or, more accurately, total downgrades) made in terms of how it looks.

As far as I’m concerned, though, some people are wrong. While the Jak & Daxter Collection certainly isn’t the prettiest game on the Vita, to my (admittedly far less discerning) eye, it looks just fine. Better than the originals did on the PS2, not quite as good as the collection looks on the PS3 — in other words, in terms of graphics it occupies pretty much the exact spot you’d expect it to.

jak daxter collection 1Which isn’t to say the Collection was ported over perfectly. For one thing it’s slightly buggy — I had the game crash on me a couple of times during the course of my time with it, which is a couple of times more than I’ve ever had any other Vita games crash. That said, the bugginess is possibly something that could just be chalked up to random flukes, so I don’t want to condemn the game on that basis.

It’s a little more difficult, however, to dismiss problems with the game’s controls. To be blunt: the controls for all three games here are kind of atrocious. Moving the camera around is a massive chore, and my point of view would routinely get stuck in the most awkward position possible — sometimes giving me extreme close-ups of Jak and/or Daxter, sometimes getting stuck behind a wall or a tree, sometimes zooming so far out I could barely tell what I was supposed to be doing. Compounding that was the fact that Jak II or Jak III make use of the rear touchpad to switch to a first person viewpoint. While this is certainly a neat way of updating the game to make use of the Vita’s unique controls, unfortunately a) there’s nothing in the game telling you this feature exists, b) it’s awfully prone to switching over at random (and inopportune) times, and c) there’s no way to turn the feature off. Needless to say, combining wonky camera movement with poorly implemented touchpad features makes for an experience that can, at times, be awfully frustrating.

jak daxter collection 2Which is a shame, because otherwise, the game is a lot of fun. When you’re moving around in wide open areas, the game looks and controls pretty well. You’re given three huge worlds to explore, and — again, when you’re not actively fighting to make the camera go where you want it to — it’s easy to see why the games garnered such huge fanbases. It’s far from being a definitive Vita experience, to be sure, but if you’re looking for some mostly enjoyable platforming on the go (or if you’ve just got a nostalgic itch to be scratched), the Jak & Daxter Collection is certainly worth picking up.

Grade: B

Jak and Daxter Collection – PlayStation Vita (Video Game)

Manufacturer:  Sony Computer Entertainment
ESRB Rating: 

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