Replaying Jak II - #1

Posted by MetalGearSunny (7465 posts) -
Jak is back....and he is fucking mad!
The title says it all. I'm replaying Jak II. I played quite a bit of it today, so I won't recap what I did today. I'm at the part where you meet the fat dude, and he gives you a gun........

  



....and I saved it from there. The game feels a little outdated, but isn't that the point? Isn't the reason people replay games is to see how games got better? How much questions can I add to this? Will the fat guy loose weight? Will I get a life? Will I finish the game or just slack off like my last game? Follow this series to find out!

#1 Posted by MetalGearSunny (7465 posts) -
Jak is back....and he is fucking mad!
The title says it all. I'm replaying Jak II. I played quite a bit of it today, so I won't recap what I did today. I'm at the part where you meet the fat dude, and he gives you a gun........

  



....and I saved it from there. The game feels a little outdated, but isn't that the point? Isn't the reason people replay games is to see how games got better? How much questions can I add to this? Will the fat guy loose weight? Will I get a life? Will I finish the game or just slack off like my last game? Follow this series to find out!

#2 Posted by SinGulaR (2465 posts) -

I replay games to have more control over the gameplay using my earned experience with it. Seeing that gamedevelopment is making progress is just a side effect.

#3 Posted by CenturionCajun (1573 posts) -

I too am in the process of playing Jak II at the moment. In my case however it is because I never had a PS2 until last fall (yes, I know I'm behind) and am trying to catch up on all of the main series I missed. Playing through it for the first time several things have struck me so far.

-How drastically this games veers away from the kid friendly nature of the first game.
-How much Grand Theft Auto III's open world was influencing games in the early 2000s.
-How much mileage you can get out of a cute wise cracking side kick.
-Good Lord in Heaven is this game hard. I've spent probably half of my playtime simply redoing missions over and over until I finally accomplish them.

While I'm not going to say that this is one of the best games ever made it holds up decently well. The graphics are done in a cartooney enough manner that their age isn't horribly apparent and the gameplay is solid.

#4 Posted by PowerSerj (994 posts) -

I picked up the first Jak a few months ago and I loved playing that game so much. Suffice to say, I went and picked up Jak II, Jak 3, and Jak X Combat Racing, but have yet to finish II. I should probably get on that. It's just a weird transition from Jak to Jak II.

CenturionCajun said:

"Good Lord in Heaven is this game hard. I've spent probably half of my playtime simply redoing missions over and over until I finally accomplish them."
Damnit, yes. What I have played of it so far, I get the sense that the missions are not forgiving.
#5 Posted by Sweetz (649 posts) -

I realize I'm replying to a 5 year old thread, but it seems appropriate place to share my thoughts on the game.

I'm a huge Ratchet and Clank fan, but I skipped the Jak games back in the day. I picked up the HD versions a couple weeks ago and I'm playing them now to see what I missed - and it looks I made the right choice going with the Ratchet series.

I thought Jak and Daxter was quite good; not as good as any of the R&C games, but still fun, and I set my expectations appropriately knowing it was the origin of the engine and therefore likely to be less complex. I enjoyed it enough that I went to the trouble of "100%'ing" it, which I rarely do (though truth be told it wasn't too difficult for that game).

Jak II however, I am hating with an absolute passion. I don't care about the "attitude-ification" of the story (the original was pretty light on story and interesting characters anyway) - but man did they screw up the gameplay. Flying around in fragile and terrible handing hover cars through an unnecessarily convoluted city to get missions is such an egregiously tedious time sink. I can not fathom that anyone would think this is fun - it just artificially inflates the game length.

Once you get to a platforming/mission zone they're mostly ok, but I feel the difficulty is excessive for this type of game. I died quite a lot in Jak and Daxter as well, but the checkpoints were so generous I presume they planned for that to be the case. In Jak II, I've come across several mission task with no checkpoints at all, where you can lose upwards of 15 minutes of play time from one minor mistake. They give you an 8 segment health bar, but the overwhelming majority of damage sources take 2 segments, so I don't know why they even bothered with the charade of having 8 segments.

I'm around the half-way point of the game judging by the completion meter and it's really going to be a struggle to force myself to finish it.

#6 Posted by believer258 (12835 posts) -

@sweetz: I strongly suggest watching the rest of Jak 2's cutscenes on Youtube and then jumping into Jak 3. The difficulty is paced far better, there's a lot more platforming, the city is... well, you'll see, and you spend half of the game in a wide open desert anyway. Everything you've mentioned was an issue way back when Jak 2 came out as well, and Jak 3 fixed a lot of them.

#7 Posted by stinger061 (61 posts) -

I made the horrible mistake of picking up both the Ratchet and Jak collections on my Vita a few months ago. I love my Vita but 3D platformers built for a console are a real chore on the smaller screen with inferior controls. I'd love to go back through both of these fantastic franchises but I can't bring myself to fork out again for them on the PS3 (really disappointing there is no cross-buy/save on these ones).

#8 Edited by Doskias (382 posts) -

I recently decided I was going to go through all three Jak games - loved all three of them when they were new. Got 100% again in Jak & Daxter, and I started running through Jak 2... until I got to the part where you have to throw bombs into pipes while doing hoverboard tricks, and now I don't think I like Jak 2 anymore. I don't know how younger me ever finished that mission.

#9 Posted by Sinusoidal (2252 posts) -

I hated Jak II. I really liked the platforming/collecting in the first game, but the second was just too damned hard. Some of the driving stuff was just insanely fucking hard: like one tiny, tiny screw up and you're totally fucking boned hard. I beat it, but hated it most of the way. I recall some particularly choice cursing tirades at that piece of shit game. I never even played 3 despite having bought it because 2 soured me on the games so bad. The Daxter games on PSP were much better.

#10 Posted by JayPB08 (113 posts) -

I really liked Jak II, but it was way too hard for its own good

#11 Posted by JJBSterling (318 posts) -

I love the "original trilogy" of the Jak games. I haven't gone back to them in a long time but I played the hell out of them over and over when I was younger. Jak II was definitely pretty damn hard. I don't think I ever did a playthrough of it where I didn't use a glitch to beat that one dock mission because I found it impossible otherwise.

I don't like having that Jak vs Ratchet fight because I love them both but if I had to pick I'd be in the Jak camp.

#12 Posted by Bobby_The_Great (1076 posts) -

I hated Jak II, I couldn't get past the fact that I LOVED Jak 1, how colorful it was and how it was a great platformer. Then GTA 3 came out, and all of a sudden Jak II had guns, a city to explore, hi-jacking cars, and it was nothing that I loved about Jak 1.

#13 Posted by Getz (3379 posts) -

Why are you guys posting on a six year old blog?

Why am I?

#14 Edited by rethla (1548 posts) -

Many people commenting on Jak 2 being superhard? Thats the first time i heard that about this game but it was many years since i played it so who knows.

Jak & Daxter is my favourite platformer of all time and i like the GTA take on it in Jak 2 but 3 was very bland i remember. It was like Naughty Dog had run out of ideas and story and they just screamed "more guns, more vehicles, more space, more minigames more everything WAAAAARGH" on their creative meetings. And then just out it all in an empty desert...

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#15 Posted by DrBroel (82 posts) -

I've beaten a lot of games that are supposed to be hard. Most aren't really that hard. But Jak 2 may be the hardest game i've ever beaten.

#16 Edited by Sweetz (649 posts) -

Good to know I'm not alone in thinking the game is annoyingly difficult. I don't understand what Naughty Dog was thinking. It's difficulty level is well above and beyond pretty much any of it's contemporaries on the platform. And the thing is, I never really get a feeling of accomplishment for beating a difficult mission, more often I feel like I either got lucky - or found a way to cheese it.

What's weird is I went back and looked at reviews for the game and they're all 9s and 10s - I played plenty of PS2 games in-era and I really don't think I would have a different opinion of Jak II even when it was contemporary. Just another thing that makes one question the integrity of the mainstream games press during that period.

@jjbsterling said:

I don't think I ever did a playthrough of it where I didn't use a glitch to beat that one dock mission because I found it impossible otherwise.

Ugh, I just got past that mission last night. Was very close to giving up on the game right then and there. I ultimately cheesed it by using the hover board and flying past all the transports before they could unload dudes, which still took over a dozen tries. Apparently some people regard that as the worst mission in the game, so perhaps I'm now over the hump, but the one guide I was perusing to see how much game was left indicates my next mission is another hated thing - it sounds like it's some lame Simon Says pattern matching mini-game.

#17 Posted by MATATAT (630 posts) -

I recently bought the HD version for Vita because I remember really liking the first Jak game, I remember enjoying the 2nd one decently. I can't remember if I ever played the 3rd one but I sorta want to make my way up to it and play through it. That might be a lot to do though.

#18 Posted by OneKillWonder_ (2019 posts) -

Jak 2 was hard, but not that hard. Granted, I played that game so much back in the day that I had basically mastered every mission and could get through even the hardest ones with ease. Finishing the game on Hero Mode in 8 hours is one of my greatest accomplishments in gaming.

The comments in this thread are definitely an indication of just how much standards have changed over time. In any case, Jak II is an amazing game and I simply will not hear otherwise. Jak 3 is even better, but Naughty Dog definitely took the criticisms of 2's difficulty to heart as the only negative I could give of 3 is that it's mostly too easy. The story is fantastic, though. I'm still holding out for a Jak 4 some day...

#19 Posted by DrBroel (82 posts) -

Seriously name me a game (a good one, that is actually worth beating) that is harder than Jak 2.

#20 Edited by Sweetz (649 posts) -

@onekillwonder_ said:

The comments in this thread are definitely an indication of just how much standards have changed over time.

I don't think so. I played a ton of stuff in the PS2 era and have revisited a great deal of it via HD collections. Jak II is notably difficult in comparison to its own contemporary peers. Ninja Gaiden (the 2004 one) is the only thing I played from that era that I would roughly put on the same level and at least there the difficulty feels a bit more intentional and "even". Jak II has these spikes that feel like they just come from poor playtesting - the aforementioned dock escape being a prime example. I remember Devil May Cry (1) was considered a difficult game back in the day and having recently played that when Brad did his Breaking Brad for it, I don't think it's challenge compares to some of the more BS missions Jak II. So I disagree that standards have changed, I'm sure it was considered a difficult game (or rather a game with frustrating spikes in difficulty) in it's day too. How it got so highly praised in reviews despite its foibles, I can't say (*cough* first party title and gaming press in an era highly reliant on good publisher relations for ad revenue and exclusives...*cough* :) ).

#21 Posted by RandyF (188 posts) -

I played Jak II when it came out and I hated it. I picked up the Jak collection a while ago and recently started it (I had never played Jak and Daxter before). I blazed through Jak and Daxter and started Jak II.

I still hate Jak II. The difficulty is whatever, but navigating the city in the flimsy, floaty vehicles around a bunch of civilians is the worst thing ever. The gun doesn't really feel good, either, and the edginess comes off as cheesy and forced. I really want to finish it, but I'm struggling.

#22 Posted by OneKillWonder_ (2019 posts) -

@sweetz said:

@onekillwonder_ said:

The comments in this thread are definitely an indication of just how much standards have changed over time.

I don't think so. I played a ton of stuff in the PS2 era and have revisited a great deal of it via HD collections. Jak II is notably difficult in comparison to its own contemporary peers. Ninja Gaiden (the 2004 one) is the only thing I played from that era that I would roughly put on the same level and at least there the difficulty feels a bit more intentional and "even". Jak II has these spikes that feel like they just come from poor playtesting - the aforementioned dock escape being a prime example. I remember Devil May Cry (1) was considered a difficult game back in the day and having recently played that when Brad did his Breaking Brad for it, I don't think it's challenge compares to some of the more BS missions Jak II. So I disagree that standards have changed, I'm sure it was considered a difficult game (or rather a game with frustrating spikes in difficulty) in it's day too. How it got so highly praised in reviews despite its foibles, I can't say (*cough* first party title and gaming press in an era highly reliant on good publisher relations for ad revenue and exclusives...*cough* :) ).

I also meant how standards have changed in terms of game design, not just difficulty. The city traversal and world design, while heavily influenced by GTA3, was still pretty fresh at the time. Lack of checkpoints was always a pain, but it was pretty commonplace back then, and a lot of games got a pass with that. Jak 2 is certainly harder than any platformer of the era that I can remember, but like you said, it also isn't consistently hard. Most of it is a pretty fair, stiff challenge (as long as you get along with the loose gunplay mechanics), with some big spikes in random spots. The dock mission is definitely the hardest part of that game and the only part I can think of that is truly overwhelmingly frustrating (the most surefire way of getting through that mission is non-stop spin-shooting attacks and jumping over parts of the docks that can be avoided). There are other difficult parts for sure, but nothing to that level, save for maybe the final boss and the sewer escort mission. Ninja Gaiden was still, overall, a much harder game than Jak 2. DMC3, Shinobi, and Maximo even more so.

It was considered difficult back then, but it also got its praise from still being a fucking awesome game in spite of its flaws. If you don't think standards for difficulty and design have changed over time, then I don't really know what to tell you. Every generation, things change a hell of a lot. Look at last generation and how hand-holdy and checkpoint-filled games became and still are. Go back to the PS2 era and most games were not like that. Go back even farther and things were even more fucked. It's just the way things were, and people were more accepting of it. It's just that Jak 2 is still close enough to feeling relatively modern that it feels out of place with its design choices and difficulty level.

If you get to Jak 3, I'm sure you'll find that all your major problems with 2 are gone. It's a far more palatable experience. Not just that it's easier, but it's way more varied and diverse, and the traveling between missions is streamlined quite a bit. It's a shorter game but also way more dense.

#23 Posted by ASilentProtagonist (402 posts) -

I think i'm the only one that thought Jak 3 was the best.

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#24 Posted by byterunner (331 posts) -
#25 Edited by rethla (1548 posts) -

If this thread goes on for long i have to dig out my PS3 and find out what all the fuzz is about. I googled the "dock mission" to find out what it was and sure i remember i died a couple of times on that mission but it isnt nearly as hard as described in this thread. I mean if a mission where you die 5 times before completing it is branding the game as "hardest of the PS2 era" standards certenly has changed. The last shootout in in GTA3 as an example is way harder and thats mainly becouse you fight horrible shooting controls all the time which you doesnt in Jak 2.

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#26 Posted by TobbRobb (5114 posts) -

@rethla: Part of what makes the dock mission annoying is absolutely the shooting controls. The fact that you can't run in circles without falling off makes the shooting pretty terrible. You have to rush them head on or stand still to shoot at all, so a lot of the time spent is just walking to the side to dodge without shooting anything. And it's soooooo looooooong.

But yeah, hardest of the PS2 era? Lol no.

#27 Edited by HypnoToadBrwowrowrow (1508 posts) -

Gonna save everyone a long post, but I loved everything about Jak2... I remember a couple missions that were really hard but still fun. I just can't remember anything bad about it. Loved the story and how it was handled, loved traveling with the cars, loved the hoverboard challenges, loved the guns, loved the environments and how they handled backtracking. I just loved that game and it is without a personal top10 and quite possibly top5

Didn't care for Jak3 really. That game was super bland.

#28 Edited by Sweetz (649 posts) -

I also meant how standards have changed in terms of game design, not just difficulty. The city traversal and world design, while heavily influenced by GTA3, was still pretty fresh at the time. Lack of checkpoints was always a pain, but it was pretty commonplace back then, and a lot of games got a pass with that.

Ah, ok I misunderstood; yeah to that point, I agree that some of the more egregious time sinks like the city traversal to pick up missions would have been found more forgivable at the time. However, regarding checkpoints, what's weird is that checkpoints in Jak and Daxter are very frequent and forgiving - though obviously there's quite a lot different between the two games.

@rethla: It took me a lot more than 5 tries and I ultimately beat it by using the hover board to skip all the combat - which I see oft repeated in FAQs as the most doable solution to that mission, but it doesn't seem like the intended one. There's are several things about that mission that are annoying. Like for example if you touch the water, even for a brief moment, this drone comes up and instantly kills you - which is unlike anything else in the game. They basically break the "world rules" to eliminate a freedom you would otherwise have to artificially constrain you to this very specific combat challenge. Plenty of games employ different types of temporary walls like that, but this one makes you restart the mission, and its especially noticeable and cheap feeling due to the mission being otherwise frustrating.

The only other mission so far that gave me a lot of trouble is this one where you have to pick guys some resistance guys up and drop them off somewhere. However, you're being chased and shot at by guards the whole time. First, I hate the movement of the hover cars in the game, so anything that requires driving under pressure is already a problem. Normally the fragility of the cars is offset by the availability and ease with which you can commandeer a new one, but in this case you have to wait for the AI to ever so painfully find it's way into the passenger seat and they're likely to get killed in the process. That mission very much felt like a "this isn't my fault, this is bad game design" scenario and when I finally beat that mission, it felt more like luck than anything I did. The randomness aligned just right so that I didn't have too much traffic impeding progress and it seemed like there were less guards in choke points.

While those are the only two exceptional challenges I encountered so far (there are more to come apparently), the game is still reasonably hard overall and I typically die at least 3-4 times during the course of most missions. Its not a problem moment to moment, but collectively it adds up and is wearing thin for me. I'll also admit that part of the problem is likely my own expectations, because I didn't come to the game looking for or expecting this type of challenge. I thought it would be pretty similar to the Ratchet games (which are waaaaay easier by comparison), but it's not.

#29 Posted by rethla (1548 posts) -

@sweetz: if you utilize the 2 traffic planes and master switching between em you can zoom at full speed without a problem. You have to think up and down instad of horisontal which i thought was very cool.

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#30 Posted by DrBroel (82 posts) -

I think i'm the only one that thought Jak 3 was the best.

I like Jak 3 the best, also. The scope and diversity of the missions are amazing.

@drbroel: The Ninja Gaiden Series?

I played the 2004 version when it came out and although hard, I don't think it's as hard as Jak II.

#31 Edited by ThunderSlash (2301 posts) -

I liked Jak 2 a lot when I played it back then. I don't remember it being noticeably difficult, but maybe that's because I had a ton of patience back then. I remember finding the animations in the cutscenes to be very impressive. Never got to playing Jak 3 though.

@drbroel Viewtiful Joe is pretty hard. That first helicopter boss on Adults difficulty took me several good tries. And then there was that level that was just a continuous boss rush sequence.

#32 Posted by Sweetz (649 posts) -

Finally beat Jak II tonight.

Most of the missions in the latter third of the game weren't so bad. I mean they were still very annoying due to a lack of reasonable check-pointing, but I never got too frustrated or stuck on something...until the last boss. I'm sure it took me over 20 tries to beat that boss and when I did, I didn't get any feeling of accomplishment, I was just glad I was done playing the game. I later found out there's an exploit that can make it really easy - wish I had known, I would have no guilt about using it.

I'm still perplexed by the direction they took the game in. Other than Ninja Gaiden, it's the hardest thing I've played from that generation and even back then it's not a game I would come to looking for that sort of challenge.

Well on to Jak 3 I guess.

#33 Edited by Sweetz (649 posts) -

So Jak 3 is a way better game. Much more reasonable level of challenge, most of the annoying padding removed or significantly streamlined.

I'm far enough along in it now that I feel confident saying that the original Jak and Daxter is still what I'd consider the best in the series, and none of them come close to beating any of the 3 main Ratchet and Clank games on PS2.

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